This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Friday is the end of March, which feels significant for the NHL. After all, April is the month when the playoffs begin. For now, though, Friday brings us four NHL games. Here are my players to target, and to avoid, for your DFS lineups.
Connor Hellebuyck, WPG vs. DET ($27): Hellebuyck is one of the NHL's workhorse goalies as is, but with the Jets fighting for the playoffs, we may not see David Rittich outside mop-up duty the rest of the season. The American netminder has a 2.60 GAA and .917 save percentage, and he's catching the Red Wings on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back. Detroit isn't good enough offensively for me to worry about it in such a scenario.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Jacob Markstrom, CGY at VAN ($25): Markstrom is the only goalie I could see DFS players considering Friday that I would not use in net. The Swede has had an inconsistent March, blanking the Wild one night, but allowing six goals in back-to-back starts as well. Yes, the Canucks aren't going to make the playoffs, but they haven't packed it in, and they have averaged 3.38 goals per game. Even sans Bo Horvat, that speaks to there being some offensive talent there.
Dylan Cozens, BUF vs. NYR ($18): Cozens has exploded onto the scene with 28 goals and 33 assists this season. That includes 16 points with the extra man. The Rangers are on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back, and Igor Shesterkin started Thursday. That likely means Jaroslav Halak and his .905 save percentage in new for New York.
CENTER TO AVOID
Dylan Larkin, DET at WPG ($24): I'm giving the thumbs up to one Dylan, but this Dylan should probably not be in your lineup. Larkin is on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back, after all. Plus, Hellebuyck has a 2.60 GAA and .917 save percentage. The Jets also have a top-six penalty kill, and 27 of Larkin's 71 points have come on the power play.
Jamie Benn, DAL at ARI ($23): Benn has gotten back to the land of 30 goals, and he's done that on 176 shots on net through 74 games. Letting up shots is the primary issue for the Coyotes. Arizona has given up 35.4 shots on goal per contest, so Benn should have plenty of opportunity.
Nikolaj Ehlers, WPG vs. DET ($17): Ehlers has 31 points in 39 games, even though he's had as bad of puck luck as anybody this season. A guy with a career 11.8 shooting percentage is down to 7.9 this year, but he hasn't stopped shooting. He's put 34 shots on net over his last 12 contests. The Red Wings are finishing off a back-to-back, and with Ville Husso out, Magnus Hellberg and his .898 save percentage is expected in net.
WINGS TO AVOID
Nick Schmaltz, ARI vs. DAL ($26): Schmaltz is on a six-game point streak since returning from injury, though zero of those points have been goals. Jake Oettinger offers perhaps the toughest matchup Friday, as he has a 2.47 GAA and .917 save percentage. This could be the day Schmaltz's point streak ends.
Jonathan Huberdeau, CGY at VAN ($18): Huberdeau's drop in shooting this season has been odd, as he's only put 115 shots on net in 72 games. Thatcher Demko has been better since returning from his lengthy injury, as he has a 2.59 GAA and .911 save percentage. The Canucks do still have the league's worst penalty kill, but Huberdeau is down on the second unit now, owing in part to the fact he only has one power-play point in his last 19 games.
Ryan Suter, DAL at ARI ($14): Suter barely shoots, which is not ideal for a matchup with a team that allows a lot of shots. However, the Coyotes also have a 3.43 GAA, bottom 10 in the NHL. Plus, Suter does have nine points in his last 12 games, so he's been hot.
Owen Power, BUF vs. NYR ($13): Power is only 20 and a rookie, so he's still got room to grow. Fortunately for him, the Sabres give him plenty of minutes, as he's averaged 23:47 per game in ice time. Also, he's tallied nine points over his last 17 games, and five in his last eight. Halak is on the opposite end of his career from Power, and the 37-year-old goalie has a .904 save percentage over the last three seasons.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Moritz Seider, DET at WPG ($22): Seider's Calder was well deserved, and to quibble with his sophomore season would be overkill. However, he has taken a step back offensively, and in particular has put 129 shots on net through 74 games. Now, as previously noted, he's on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back and facing a goalie with a .917 save percentage.
Quinn Hughes, VAN vs. CGY ($21): There are a couple of reasons to avoid paying Hughes' salary, even if Markstrom has been spotty in net. One, the Flames have only allowed 27.4 shots on goal per game. Second, the Flames have a top-10 penalty kill, and 32 of Hughes' 72 points have come with the extra man.