I haven’t released any DraftKings NHL DFS Picks for a few days as the slates become shorter and shorter, but we have a crucial two-game slate on tap for tonight so let’s see if we can hit some profits while enjoying what has been an awesome postseason to this point.
C – Nathan MacKinnon (COL) – $7,200 vs. SJ
The Avalanche are in trouble if they don’t get back into the win column tonight as they would head to San Jose down 3-1 in the series if MacKinnon and co. can’t pull off a win tonight. That said, win or lose, MacKinnon has arguably been the best player in these playoffs as his explosive speed and wicked shot has him as the most dangerous player left in the postseason in my books. I am not really concerned about ownership on this slate tonight I am simply rolling out the lineup that I think will earn me the most fantasy points and I’ll let the ownership work itself out. MacKinnon enters tonight contest with 12 points in these playoffs which ties him with Logan Couture and Mark Stone for the top mark in the postseason while his five goals ranks him third. That said, the dude is a shot-on-goal machine as his 41 shots in just eight playoffs games is good for an average of 5.13 shots per game and is the top shot-per-game total in the playoffs. Martin Jones has been better lately but still wildly inconsistent all year and into the postseason so let’s look for the Avs to get some goals behind him tonight.
C – Patrice Bergeron (BOS) – $6,400 vs. CLS
The Bruins could also be on the ropes after tonight as a loss sends them back to Boston down 3-1 and facing three must-win games in the process. However, I’m not sure how much longer the Blue Jackets can keep Bergeron and his line down and I am fully willing to scoop them up at discounted prices in hopes they get back to the business of scoring goals and playing up to their potential. Usually Bergeron brings a very high floor to the table as he loves to shoot the puck and he scores goals with the best of em’. The veteran pivot tallied 32 goals and 79 points in the regular season to go along with 205 shots, numbers that become even more impressive when we realize he played in just 65 games due to multiple injuries. Bergeron has been held in check this postseason with five points in 10 games on 34 shots on goal, but he’s also been held pointless in this series so far. I’m not sure that will continue much longer so give me the reliable point-producer at an attractive price tonight.
W – Alexander Kerfoot (COL) – $3,500 vs. SJ
Kerfoot might see some ownership tonight as he has been skating to the right of Nathan MacKinnon for the last several games and that spot on the depth chart combined with a small price will likely have many folks using him as a cheap source of possible point production this evening. Still, I’m not too worried about it as Kerfoot’s lack of production to this point could have potential owners gun shy about using the young forward. Kerfoot has been held off the scoresheet entirely in this season, although he’s managed to record exactly two shots on goal in each game. His only point of the playoffs so far as an assist in Game 3 against the Flames in round one, but a spot on the top line combined with solid ice time levels should get Kerfoot back on the scoresheet. He notched a solid 42 points in 78 games in his sophomore season during the regular season as his shooting percentage came back down to a reasonable 12.9% after a 23.5% mark in his rookie year. At the end of the day this is a play we needed to make to give us the salary flexibility to field a competitive lineup tonight.
W – David Pastrnak (BOS) – $6,300 vs. CLS
Pastrnak has been skating on the Bruins’ second line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk in this series to this point, however he is going back to the top line with Bergeron and Brad Marchand for tonight’s pivotal Game 4 and I am all over the young sniper as a result. He’s been okay in this postseason with three goals and four helpers across 10 games, however he has just one point – a goal – in three games so far in this series. That said, expect a notable increase in ice time for the winger tonight with Boston essentially needing a win tonight. He has skated 18:29 or less in four of the last five games, but a spot next to Bergeron on the top line should certainly get him over the 20-minute plateau tonight and possibly in the 22-minute range. Of course, he is on the power play on the dangerous Bruins top unit where he does plenty of his damage, but like Bergeron, we are getting a top-notch player at a discounted price for this contest tonight.
W – Oliver Bjorkstrand (CLS) – $3,800 vs. BOS
Bjorkstrand has been very involved in these playoffs whether it be on the scoresheet or by getting engaged physically which is something I’m not sure many people realized about this player. Obviously physicality doesn’t help much in DFS circles, however I have no problem rostering a player who has been involved and been a factor in each and every game. He’s pointless in three games this series while averaging just one shot per game so far, but let’s keep in mind that the young winger notched two goals and two assists with 14 shots across the four-game sweep of the Lightning in round one. His ice time dipped to just 10:33 in the Blue Jackets’ Game 3 win, however he has skated at least 14:59 in every other game in these playoffs and as much as 17:52 in a regulation game – Game 4 against the Lightning. He’s set to skate on the third line as well as the second power play unit so let’s look for some value out of the do-it-all Bjorkstrand tonight.
D – Tyson Barrie (COL) – $6,000 vs. SJ
If the Avalanche are going to get the job done tonight at home it’s more than likely going to be their big guns that get it done for them and Barrie is certainly one of those as he is enjoying a very productive postseason to this point. I rostered him early and often in round one and while it took until Game 3 for him to hit the scoresheet, Barrie has been doing serious damage since. Over his last six games, Barrie has a goal and seven assists for eight points in those six contests. He’s also shooting the puck lots with seven shots in three games this series and an average of 3.38 shots per game in eight playoff games so far. Of course, Barrie is the lone defenseman on the Avs’ top power play unit where he will skate with MacKinnon while we will get exposure to both power play groups with Kerfoot projected to skate on the second unit. Ownership is likely to be high, but I’m on Barrie to keep rolling in tonight’s Game 4.
D – Torey Krug (BOS) – $5,200 vs. CLS
While we have two players from the Avs on their top power play unit, this three-man Bruins stack is both an even strength stack as well as a top power play unit stack. It’s been a fairly productive postseason for Krug to this point despite having just one assist in three games this series. Across the 10 playoff games so far, Krug has one goal and five points on 28 shots on goal. He’s actually put the puck on goal a lot in these series, recording at least five shots in two of the three games while averaging four per game. He had as many as nine shots in the first round against Toronto – Game 6 – which gives us an idea of where his ceiling can get to in that department, although that high of a total cannot be expected. Still, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is going to rely heavily on his big guns to even the series heading home tonight, so expect Krug, Bergeron and Pastrnak to see plenty of ice time together as a high-floor, super high-ceiling stack.
G – Philipp Grubauer (COL) – $7,900 vs. SJ
Grubauer has taken a step back in this series as he enters tonight’s pivotal Game 4 sporting an .889 Sv% across the three games, but I believe the Avs even the series tonight and therefore there’s no reason not to roll with Grubauer. After all, this is the same goalie that stifled a Flames team that tied the Sharks for the league’s second-ranked regular season offense to the tune of a .939 Sv% in five games in round one. He posted a .937 Sv% in two April starts, an eye-popping .955 Sv% in March and a .929 Sv% across three February outings. The biggest knock on Grubauer entering these playoffs was the fact he had not been good in his playoff career to this point, especially last season when he was lit up in Games 1 and 2 of the first round before watching Braden Holtby take the reigns en route to a Stanley Cup championship. The Avs are indeed -125 favorites to win tonight’s game, so Grubauer has nice win potential and I believe he gets the job done.
UTIL – Ryan Dzingel (CLS) – $3,700 vs. BOS
It will be interesting to see what kind of ownership Ryan Dzingel will command tonight as he has simply been stymied to this point in the postseason. It’s been zeros across the board for the former Ottawa Senators who was acquired in one of the bold moves pulled off by Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen at the deadline. He tallied a decent four goals and 12 points in 21 regular season games with Columbus, but he had 26 goals overall between the Jackets and Sens while he bagged 23 goals last season as well. Clearly, the guy can score, he just hasn’t to this point in these playoffs to the point where he didn’t suit up for Game 2. He is seeing a small amount of ice time – just 10:33 in Game 3 – but I’m glad to see Dzingel projected to skate on the Jackets’ second power play unit where he will form a mini-stack with Bjorkstrand while also skating with him on the third line. I believe we get him at low ownership despite the low price and two-game slate due to the lack of production, so a big night from Dzingel could mean big things from this lineup tonight.