Evgeny Kuznetsov, WAS vs. TB ($11,800): How have we not thought of a nickname for the Russian guy in D.C. who has a taunting flying eagle celebration? McCarthy would’ve had a field day with this, and I feel like ”Harry Potter” is a missed opportunity here. Kuznetsov has scored a point in every single game this series and played over 20 minutes in two of his past three games. A lot of Caps are having trouble scoring on Andrei Vasilevskiy, but Kuznetsov’s not one of them, and Barry Trotz will continue to lean on him regardless of who his wingers may be.
Brayden Point, TB at WAS ($10,000): Since no forward has really stood out this series, Point may be a good choice because he’s the cheapest of the elite tier. He is the best second-line scorer on either team but arguably the No. 1 center for the Lightning on some nights. There may not be a lot of goals, but Point’s been very involved in this series with six points.
Victor Hedman, TB at WAS ($9,100): Hedman’s been held without a point for the last two games but continues to play a central role on the Lightning. They don’t have the same kind of quality depth the Caps do, so Hedman continues to log more minutes than anyone. The Caps’ John Carlson leads Matt Niskanen by just seven total minutes, but Hedman’s lead on Ryan McDonagh is 53 minutes, nearly the length of an entire game. The Lightning must smell blood and the Caps have yet to win at home in this series, and their disappointing past history remains a weight on their shoulders.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, TB at WAS ($7,200): He continues to be overlooked during road games even though he’s been far better on the road. Vasilevskiy turned the series around when it moved to Washington, and since then has allowed just six goals in three games on a .943 save percentage. The Lightning do have the potential to win four straight and, as Steven Stamkos said, sometimes it’s easier on the road because there’s no added pressure of trying to match lines.
Yanni Gourde, TB at WAS ($5,600): He played a series-high 17 minutes in Game 5, registering two shots on goal and three blocked shots, and continues to look pretty good on the second line. He took over Ondrej Palat’s usual spot and despite just one assist in the series has looked dangerous enough to score goals. He will not be an elite offensive player, but he certainly can be an effective one and his role continues to grow.
Chandler Stephenson, WAS vs. TB ($4,500): I thought he looked pretty good on the second line with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, and he had his biggest game of the series yet despite the loss. Stephenson’s no slouch; even though he’s never put up good stats he’s always found a way to score goals. He plays an aggressive style that works well with Oshie and offers more value than Tom Wilson ($6,400) or Brett Connolly ($5,300).