This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
A day without four NHL games? Perish the thought. However, the Avalanche swept the Predators out of the playoffs, and now we are down to three games Wednesday. With the Rangers on the on the brink, we may be down to two games by Friday. Here are my players to target, and to avoid, for your DFS lineups.
Jacob Markstrom, CGY vs. DAL ($35): In a playoffs marked by high-scoring games, this series has been relatively light on goals. Markstrom and the Flames are back at home, and the Swede has allowed one goal or fewer in three of the games in this series. That comes after he had a 2.22 GAA and .922 save percentage in the regular season.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Igor Shesterkin, NYR vs. PIT ($35): I believe in looking at the big picture and not getting too caught up in the moment. I also believe Shesterkin will be the deserving Vezina winner. And yet, I cannot deny that the Russian netminder has been pulled in his last two starts. He's allowed 10 goals on 45 shots. In a long enough span of time, Shesterkin would right the ship. We have to think about Wednesday, though, and I am not taking the risk.
Ryan Strome, NYR vs. PIT ($18): Strome has a five-game point streak end in Game 4, but with the Rangers on the verge of elimination at home, I think the team is primed to step up. Mostly, though, I don't have any trust in Louis Domingue. He came into these playoffs with a career .905 save percentage. In this series, he has a .906 save percentage.
CENTER TO AVOID
Mikael Backlund, CGY vs. DAL ($14): The Flames' top line has gotten a bit done offensively, but otherwise the team has largely been shut down in this low-scoring series. Backlund, for his part, only has one point while centering the second line. Jake Oettinger has effectively matched Markstrom save for save, as he has a 1.53 GAA and .960 save percentage in this series.
Carter Verhaeghe, FLA vs. WAS ($19): Verhaeghe was shuffled down to the second line for the Panthers, but it did not deter him. He scored two goals in Game 4, giving him five points in the series. I'm assuming Ilya Samsonov will be in net for the Capitals, and he had a 3.02 GAA and .896 save percentage this season.
Danton Heinen, PIT at NYR ($15): Heinen has been skating on Evgeni Malkin's wing on the second line, and the Penguins have been giving this line favorite situations. In the playoffs, Heinen has started 76.0 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, second only to Malkin. That's helped him score a goal in each of his last two games, and he's put 11 shots on never of his last three outings.
WINGS TO AVOID
Jason Robertson, DAL at CGY ($24): When there are only three games on the slate, it's a little harder to avoid high-salary players because of a tough matchup. This time, though, I think I'd avoid Robertson. He only has one point in this series. Markstrom, as I noted, had a 2.22 GAA and .922 save percentage and the Flames also only allowed 29.0 shots on net per contest.
Tyler Toffoli, CGY vs. DAL ($14): Toffoli played well after being dealt to the Flames, tallying 23 points in 37 games. However, he only has one point in his last eight outings. Meanwhile, over his last eight games Oettinger has an 1.88 GAA and .945 save percentage.
Mike Matheson, PIT at NYR ($17): I'm doing a full 180 on Matheson after suggesting you avoid him last time out. He's skating on Pittsburgh's top pairing alongside Kris Letang, and he's on the second power-play unit. Matheson is on a three-game point streak where he's tallied five total points. With Shesterkin having gotten yanked the last two times these teams faced off, maybe this is the right time to go in on the former Panther.
Brandon Montour, FLA vs. WAS ($17): Montour quietly set career highs in goals (11) and points (37) this series. It also helps that he started 66.3 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone during the regular season – most among Florida defenseman – and a whopping 75.0 percent in this series. As I noted, Samsonov had a 3.02 GAA and .896 save percentage.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Noah Hanifin, CGY vs. DAL ($18): This is the series I'm staying away from clearly. Hanifin just picked up his first point in six games, but he still hasn't scored a goal in that time. He also only has one power-play point in his last eight outings. Oettinger has no fear of a road game. Including the playoffs, he's posted a 2.29 GAA and .928 save percentage away from home.
John Klingberg, DAL at CGY ($11): The most-notable thing about Klingberg's first-round series? The 26 penalty minutes he's racked up. All that time off the ice has helped limit him to only one point and three shots on net. Of course, the fact the Flames were a top-six team in terms of goal prevention, shot suppression, and penalty killing also hurts.