Apologies for not getting a DraftKings NHL lineup out yesterday! We’re back today to tackle this five-game Thursday night Stanley Cup Playoff Slate. Let’s go!
C – Evgeny Kuznetsov (WAS) – $5,900 vs. CLS
The Columbus Blue Jackets are a real solid defensively club on home ice, but things start to trend the wrong way on the road, so let’s get some high-ceiling Capitals exposure tonight beginning here with Kuznetsov. He will center the Capitals’ top line while skating on the top power play unit beside the best goal scorer the NHL has to offer in Alex Ovechkin. Kuznetsov notched 27 goals and 83 points this season and has entrenched himself as the best center on the Capitals’ roster.
C – Travis Zajac (NJ) – $3,400 vs. TB
We are going to need some low-cost players in this lineup, so let’s roll with Zajac who has real nice upside in Tampa Bay. He only scored 12 goals and added 14 assists this year, but notched a goal and two assists over his last three games. His real upside comes via centering the top power play unit against a Lightning team that finished the regular season ranked 28th in terms of home penalty killing. Tampa also ranked 23rd in home defense, so don’t sleep on the Devils tonight.
W – Alex Ovechkin (WAS) – $7,800 vs. CLS
The Columbus Blue Jackets enter tonight’s contest sporting the league’s 30th-ranked road penalty kill this season at just over 70%, so Ovi could have a field day tonight. He paced the NHL with 49 goals this season while scoring 17 times on the man advantage. He fired a massive 355 shots on goal as well, so the floor is going to be there for the Russian superstar tonight. His ceiling is limitless in what I believe is a real nice home matchup.
W – Kyle Palmieri (NJ) – $5,900 vs. TB
Palmieri has a real nice opportunity tonight, especially on the power play. Palmieri scored 24 goals this season despite skating in only 62 games. 11 of those 24 goals came via the man advantage, so look for him to be dangerous in that regard tonight. He forms a stack with Zajac on said power play, while he also skates on the same line as Taylor Hall at 5v5 play, a nice spot to be for sure and one that could fly under the radar on this slate.
W – Filip Forsberg (NSH) – $6,300 vs. COL
I really believe Forsberg has one of the highest ceilings on this slate. He scored 26 goals this season despite skating in just 63 games due to injury and suspension. He also added 38 assists and 179 shots to his resume. Forsberg and the Predators will be taking on an Avalanche team that ranked 26th in road defense in the regular season and one that is without their starting goaltender for the remainder of these playoffs. A nice matchup for the sniper tonight.
D – P.K. Subban (NSH) – $4,900 vs. COL
I’m fairly shocked that Subban is available at a price under the $5K mark. He is the quarterback on a Preds power play that clicked just shy of 26% for the season at home, good for sixth in the league. He scored 16 goals, added 43 assists and took 207 shots for the season. That’s a real nice floor and one that increases thanks to the Avs and their poor road defense. A very favorable matchup, indeed.
D – Will Butcher (NJ) – $3,500 vs. TB
Butcher could provide real nice value upside tonight in Tampa Bay. The 39 assists he tallied this season were the most by a rookie defenseman in Devils’ franchise history. He is the quarterback of the top power play unit and will thus form a three-man stack with Zajac and Palmieri in that regard. He isn’t a big shooter and scored just five goals, but I’m looking at his playmaking abilities being unmatched in this price range.
G – Pekka Rinne (NSH) – $8,500 vs. COL
Rinne interestingly sports superior numbers on the road this season, but still posted an overall 2.31 GAA and .927 Sv% this season to lead the Vezina Trophy race. Even if Rinne gave up a goal or two, he should easily get the goal support required for the win. The Avs are a weak road offense and the Preds are the league’s second ranked overall defense, so let’s not overthink this one and roll with Rinne in goal this evening.
UTIL – Tyler Bozak (TOR) – $3,700 vs. BOS
A little off the board here, but I think Bozak has nice value upside tonight in Boston. The biggest reason I like Bozak is the power play as he skates on top unit, a group that ranked second overall at 24.9% and second on the road at 25%. Bozak also skates with James van Riemsdyk at 5v5 and on the power play, which is helpful considering van Riemsdyk buried 36 goal this season. He will be low owned, so look for some value out of the veteran pivot tonight.