NHL Power Plays 4/14/17            

The playoffs are upon us and six more teams open their Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight. It is like a present in many ways. Night number one featured an explosion of sorts. The playoffs do not just start…they erupt! That is the best way to describe them. Out of almost nowhere, there were two overtime games as well. It was the first of many late nights for hockey fans and DFS players alike.

There are four games on the Friday night slate. Let’s get cracking on this edition of NHL Power Plays.

What Went Wrong?

Sadly, the goaltending does get better come playoff time. Space is harder to come by in most series and goals are at a premium. Nashville and Chicago combined for just one goal last night. Then the other two games were a Darryl Sutter special (it’s a 3-2 league). The hope is that there is one crooked game per night and that one guesses right. The Chicago chalk donkeys were almost invisible on Thursday for large stretches which hurt. Calgary taking seven penalties hurt the Johnny Gaudreau line some. It helped Kris Versteeg though. Go figure. Washington was a mixed bag as well. Their third line played well but missed too many chances. Justin Williams was the main contributor with two goals.

What Went Right?

Hey, there was some goaltending. Pekka Rinne getting a shutout was unexpected as could be. Let’s be honest! I had him in one lineup out of three on the night. Yes, that lineup placed well. John Gibson was very good late for Anaheim in their 3-2 win. Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and assist in what was a tour de force performance in game number one. Mitch Marner looked very good for Toronto with a goal and again Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell created havoc for Calgary’s defense. Like we mentioned above, Kris Versteeg had two points for Calgary and again is one of those playoff players. One cannot explain sometimes how they do it but they just do. Below is the schedule for Friday night.

 

The Schedule For Friday, April 14, 2017

AwayHomeTime (ET)
ColumbusPittsburgh7:00 PM
NY RangersMontreal7:00 PM
St. LouisMinnesota8:00 PM
EdmontonSan Jose10:30 PM

 

* = No Back end of back to back.

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Quick Plays (DraftKings pricing is used)

Centers

Evgeni Malkin – $7900 – PIT vs CLB

Malkin is a chalky play in cash and even in some GPP formats just because most will concentrate on the fact that the center has a good match-up against a team that focuses too much on Sidney Crosby. Crosby could still do well tonight but Malkin arguably has more upside and is a monster at home. When a player is averaging 1.5 points per game at home, it is tough to go against them (48 points in 32 games). The center is also a big threat on the power play as seen in Game 1. Again, guys like Nick Bonino can always be subbed in when the lineup is a little tight on dollars.

Logan Couture — $5500 – SJ vs EDM

Couture is a moderate risk GPP play and cash option against Edmonton. While most will be on the Edmonton side of the ledger, Couture’s price is curiously low for his playoff potential which is higher than the regular season. He only had one shot on goal in game one but the minutes were there. The points could come as soon as tonight. Edmonton realized what playoff hockey is all about and pace could be high all game long in this one.

Mark Letestu — $3400 – EDM vs SJ

Letestu is a value GPP play on Friday especially at his price. This Edmonton power play can be so dangerous. San Jose’s penalty kill was vulnerable especially early in game one. That could happen again. The center had an assist and a few shots on goal on Wednesday. These are the types of players one has to roster in the playoffs. His price point makes him worth a play along with his exposure to Connor McDavid. Some other plays include Nick Bonino, Tomas Hertl, and even Eric Staal for a more chalky pick.

Wingers

Mikael Granlund — $6000 – MIN vs STL

Granlund is a nice point potential play in tournaments. He had an assist and six shots on goal during game one and lots of high danger chances. The St. Louis plan of funneling towards the outside was futile as Minnesota’s speed regularly torched the Blues team defense. If not for Jake Allen, the game would have been a rout. The winger probably is the most dangerous player on Minnesota when things come down to it. Expect a lot of chances from his line. The pivot on wing is to Nino Niederreiter for those a little short on the dollars. Max Pacioretty is a good spend up or even Vladimir Tarasenko for a contrarian idea.

Phil Kessel– $6200 – PIT vs CLB

Kessel will be a moderate risk GPP play on against Columbus because of his price. However, he has nine points in his last ten games on 36 shots. The winger finally got on a roll towards the end of the year and has not stopped. He will avoid that Brandon Dubinsky line in most situations which means free reign to play offense. Columbus was cratered against the second line and the unit Kessel was on when he was on the power play. That might happen again in Game 2. Only Sergei Bobrovsky can slow Pittsburgh down at this point. Bryan Rust is a good Pittsburgh pivot at a mid-tier price.

Artturi Lehkonen — $3700 – MTL vs NYR

Lehkonen is going to be a little higher owned in tournaments than expected simply because people will take a shot on him for his value play alone. The Canadiens know they have a big match-up advantage here. It is just a matter of execution. Lehkonen had several chances in the first game but could not solve Henrik Lundqvist. The expectation is that Montreal will not be shut out again on Friday night. Lehkonen could be used in a lot of lineups.

Vladimir Sobotka – STL vs MIN- $3100

Let’s get dangerous with a higher risk GPP pick here as Sobotka has point potential because of ice time and linemates. Melker Karlsson is a cute option on Friday for San Jose but Sobotka has a bit more certainty. Playing with Vladimir Tarasenko and getting more offensive situations will help. Minnesota was a bit leaky over the final quarter of the year and Sobotka still has the wheels he possessed in his first stint with St. Louis. He also saves some dollars.

 

Defensemen

Oscar Klefbom – EDM vs SJ – $5500

 

Klefbom is a moderately high owned GPP play tonight against San Jose with more point upside. He can play an all attack role plus with ease. Klefbom has eight points in his last nine games with good shot volume. San Jose just offers a good match-up that makes him the play of the night. San Jose’s penalty kill had looked shaky in the last 15-20 games of the season. Opportunities seemed easier and they were giving up shots from the point at an alarming rate. Alex Pietrangelo could have a chance as well tonight but is slightly higher priced.

 

Andrei Markov – MTL vs NYR- $4600

 

Markov sits at a nice price in cash and tournament games tonight. That alone will bump up his value because of a decent floor and match-up. This is more of a Murphy’s Law type of scenario where Montreal knows it has to play fast and get in the high danger areas more often. They did not do that often enough in game one. Guys like Markov missed a lot of shots from the point that were wide open. If he hits the net more, that should lead to a few opportunities. Henrik Lundqvist can get into a team’s head but can also be too aggressive.

 

Jack Johnson – CLB vs PIT – $3400

 

Do not laugh! Johnson makes for a punt play because of his floor. Add in the bonus of playing against Pittsburgh’s depth and this is an intriguing albeit risky option. He has no points in his last four games but has eight scoring chances created. There are pivots at this price but Johnson may be a fun target if this game gains some pace as expected. Columbus does not want to go down 0-2 if possible. Matt Dumba is a step up and so is Kris Russell. Russell is a safer pick because of his outrageous four blocks per game lately.

 

 

Goalies

Henrik Lundqvist – NYR vs MTL- $7400

Lundqvist is a moderate GPP and cash play going up against a Montreal team that has some speed and can get shots on net. The problem for Montreal is Lundqvist just needs a few more big saves to truly get in their heads. If he does then game two will be a problem for them. The Rangers goalie plays so much better on the road (.923 vs .901 save percentage). There will be a few ways to move off of Lundqvist but again who to go to? Will it be Fleury or Dubnyk? Good question.

 

Niece’s Birthday Shots

It is my niece’s birthday today so the contrarian play of the night may just be Brandon Saad. Yes, kneel before Saad perhaps.

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If for whatever reason, you are a little queasy on Lundqvist then pivot to Talbot . No one is sure on Jake Allen which could make him the high risk/high reward player of the night again. This is the type of slate where risk could be rewarded with the right mix of chalk plays. Watch out for any late changes.

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There will be lots more on Twitter as always. Do not be afraid to ask the tough or the easy questions. You can follow me @ChrisWasselDFS on the social media. Good luck with tonight…the second night of the playoffs.