Andrei Vasilevskiy, TB vs. WAS ($7,500) – He was outstanding in both Games 3 and 4, stopping 72 of 76 shots and continuing his dominance on the road. The road team has won every game so far in this series so there’s some trepidation in picking the Lightning to win, but consider this: according to HNIC’s David Amber, the Caps have lost a series 10 times when leading either 2-0 or 3-1 since 1985. Vasilevskiy has outdueled Braden Holtby in the series.
Brayden Point, TB vs. WAS ($5,800) – The Lightning power play has been clicking with Steven Stamkos firing rockets past Braden Holtby, but it’s been Point who has been consistently setting him up for the big one-timers. For the third straight game Point finished with two points, producing like a No. 1 center even though he plays on the second line. At his current rate of scoring, Point is a great value play.
Nicklas Backstrom, WAS at TB ($5,100) – Backstrom returned to the lineup and looked good enough to take nine faceoffs and play almost 19 minutes in the game, edging Lars Eller’s 17 minutes. Even though Eller stayed on the second line, Backstrom outshot Eller 4-2 and nearly doubled Eller’s ice time on the power play. No matter which line Backstrom plays on at even strength he is clearly the superior offensive talent and he can be had a discount due to his hand injury.
Alex Ovechkin, WAS at TB ($7,800) – He is the most expensive winger by a $500 margin, but he’s worth the price because he 1) basically stays on the ice for the entire power play, and 2) would’ve had more than three shots on goal had he been more willing to pull the trigger in the late stages of the game. He was robbed at least once by Andrei Vasilevskiy, and even though history is working against the Caps, the common thread about this year’s Caps is their resiliency. So far, the road team has won every game in the series.
Reilly Smith, VGK vs. WPG ($5,300) – Smith has an odd habit of alternating subpar seasons with 20-goal seasons, and this season is one of those 20-goal ones. Through 13 playoff games he has 14 points, playing a key role on the top line, and in the past two games he’s played 21 minutes per game with six total shots on goal. His production on the power play is still lacking, but that’s a team-wide problem.
Alex Tuch, VGK vs. WPG ($3,700) – As they like to say, it’s a big boys’ game out there. At 6-foot-4 Tuch is basically the Knights’ only option as a net-front presence on the power play, and in fact led the team’s forwards with 3:06 in ice time in Game 3. The points may not come easily because he doesn’t get to play a lot and he’s still developing as a power forward, but he’s not a bad bet for one of the few Knights who can match the Jets’ physicality.
Victor Hedman, TB vs. WAS ($5,600) – He’s jumping up in the play much more often and had his eight-game point streak snapped in Game 4 because he misfired on a few opportunities and spent four minutes in the sin bin. He’s averaging well over 25 minutes per game, and as the only defenseman on the first unit power play that’s clicking, his upside can be tremendous.
Nate Schmidt, VGK vs. WPG ($4,000) – The Knights spread their minutes around on defense but Schmidt is their all-situations workhorse, getting lots of power play time and playing on the second penalty-killing unit. He assisted on Alex Tuch’s goal in Game 3 for his first point of the series and his ability to force turnovers and move the puck with ease has been a big reason why the Knights can get outshot but still win games. He was plus-19 at home during the season and currently plus-8 in the playoffs.