The Stanley Cup Final moves to Washington for Saturday's Game 3. The Capitals evened the series in Game 2, but it came with a potential cost. Evgeny Kuznetsov, who has notched 25 points in the playoffs, got injured early and did not return to action. If he can't play in Game 3, it will hurt the Caps, and also your daily fantasy options. Not wanting to risk going with a banged-up player like Kuznetsov, here are my recommendations for your lineup.
Nicklas Backstrom, WAS vs. VGK ($10,400): Backstrom has been playing quite well since returning from injury. He has tallied six points in six games, and is riding a four-game point streak. The Swede had 71 points during the regular season, and could find himself on the top line with Alex Ovechkin if Kuznetsov is out.
Reilly Smith, VGK at WAS ($9,400): Smith has struck for 19 points in his last 16 games, including three points in this series. Only three of those 19 have been goals, but two of them have happened in his last four. Braden Holtby has recorded two shutouts in his last seven appearances, but has allowed at least three goals in four during the same stretch.
James Neal, VGK at WAS ($9,100): Neal accounted for 25 goals during the regular season, and he's never failed to hit the 20-goal threshold. He only has five goals in the playoffs, but has fired 60 shots on net. His 8.3 postseason shooting percentage lies well below his career average, so more luck could be on the way. Neal did score in Game 2, and should be helped by averaging 2:42 per game with the extra man during the playoffs.
Lars Eller, WAS vs. VGK ($7,300): When Nicklas Backstrom got hurt, Lars Eller's role increased – and so did his scoring. Fittingly, when Evgeny Kuznetsov went down in Game 2, Eller played 18:37 and tallied three points. If Kuznetsov is out again, Eller could be quite the steal at this price. The fact the series is moving to Washington should also help.
John Carlson, WAS vs. VGK ($9,400): Carlson set career highs across the board this year, with personal bests in goals (15), assists (53), points (68), shots (237), and power-play points (32). Now he's added 17 more points in 21 playoff games, including 10 with the extra man. Though Marc-Andre Fleury has been outstanding throughout the playoffs, his Finals stats of a 3.56 GAA and .870 save percentage have been underwhelming.
Shea Theodore, VGK at WAS ($8,300): Theodore has yet to play a full season's worth of games, but set a new high in games with 61 and notched six goals and 23 assists. He's picked up his play in the postseason with three goals and six assists, which includes a point in both games this series. Though Braden Holtby has improved in the playoffs, he did sport a 2.99 GAA and .907 save percentage during the regular season.