NHL Power Plays – 5/3/17
Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight features two games. It is like a present in many ways. Game four of the second round sometimes has just an edge about it that borders on pure hate. The late nights could very well continue considering the games are spread out (7:30 and 10:00). Let’s get cracking on this edition of NHL Power Plays as there is one game from the East and one from the West. It’s time for the capsule.
The Series Capsules
Pittsburgh vs. Washington
Game three was an obvious momentum shift and a huge one. Sidney Crosby suffered a concussion after a hard hit from Matt Niskanen. There was a high stick from Alex Ovechkin that no doubt played a role in it. The bottom line is Crosby is out for at least game number four and likely more. The same can be said for Connor Sheary, who also has a concussion after getting rocked by Patric Hornqvist of all people. His status mirror Crosby’s until further notice really. Despite the carnage that has hit the Penguins, they are still in control of this series up two games to one. That is a testament to how much Washington has bungled this series. They nearly blew the third game but got a break in overtime then took advantage of it. Depth lines have been hit or miss in this series for Washington and they were expected to be a difference maker.
Evgeni Malkin will be popular tonight just because he has stepped up well when Crosby has been out against Washington. He leads all playoff scorers with 15 points (4 G 11 A). Marc-Andre Fleury has outplayed Braden Holtby all series. Holtby looked better in game three though and that has to be encouraging for those looking at Washington plays tonight. Look at who plays with Malkin as well on the power play and even strength. Washington is harder to gauge aside from the top line. It is kind of a pick and hope kind of scenario. The Lars Eller line did look better in game three though if one is looking for contrarian off the reservation plays.
Edmonton vs. Anaheim
Edmonton is a case that is baffling. They are up 2-1 but the Oilers still cannot win face-offs to save their life. Anaheim, like San Jose at times, dominated scoring chances and shot attempts for long segments. Connor McDavid has made his impact with his speed more than from a points perspective. Cam Talbot was good in game one and amazing in game two, with a little help from some posts now and then. Mark Letestu has been a pleasant surprise. The Oilers will need to control a bit more of the play as Anaheim has been more dangerous so far from an offensive standpoint. Their penalty kill keeps on allowing goals and that has been the bigger problem. Will luck change here?
Game three was like game one but in complete reverse. Anaheim ran out. Edmonton roared back but the Ducks put it away late. Can a young team like Edmonton manage to shake off Game 3? With the Oilers, do you go first or second line? It all depends on how one likes to choose. Power play first unit could be a viable option as well considering Anaheim has such problems on special teams. Even in Game 3, the chances were all there even when Edmonton was short-handed. Anaheim did play extremely well at 5 on 5. That must scare the Oilers a bit. Any line with Ryan Getzlaf will surely cause havoc and it is all about piecing err playing those who surround him to save a bit of dollars. Goalies are a coin flip but normally Cam Talbot bounces back well. Braden Holtby is going to be a bit contrarian again for Washington. Let’s get to the schedule.
The Schedule — Wednesday, May 3, 2017
* = No back end of back to back.
Quick Plays (DraftKings pricing is used)
Evgeni Malkin – $8100 – PIT vs WSH
Malkin is the biggest chalk play in cash and GPP formats just because he is the hottest player in the playoffs right now. Consider that he has 15 points in his last eight games. Also consider that he is the show now without Sidney Crosby. Like with Connor McDavid, it is all about the pieces one attaches with a stack in GPP’s. Can Washington slow down Malkin? They only have in one game and that could be argued was not all that impressive. The Malkin line will give up chances so whomever Washington does match up against them will get their share as well. Nick Bonino becomes a lower priced value option once again with Crosby out.
Mark Letestu — $4000 – EDM vs ANA
Letestu is a higher risk GPP play and cash option against Anaheim. The idea that the center has been very good on the man advantage against a bad penalty kill is encouraging. Anaheim has allowed nine power play goals in this postseason and is number in the league in unblocked shot attempts yielded. The forward has been a bit up and down as far as production but does have 11 blocks in his last nine contests. That adds a bit of a floor. All four goals Letestu has in the last nine games have been on the man advantage by the way. Lars Eller is a high risk value play along with Antoine Vermette.
Phil Kessel — $6500 – PIT vs WSH
Kessel is again a chalky play in tournaments. He has shots and scoring chances galore and Leon Draisaitl along with Jakob Silfverberg make nice alternatives considering the price. The Pittsburgh winger is hot with 14 points and five goals in the last ten games. His shot volume is near four a game and so are his scoring chances. Defense is sometimes a bit of a sticking point but hey it is all about offense at this point of the playoffs. The players that can ride those hot streaks and excel against their opponent. Washington has not contained Malkin or Kessel fully in this series and they can strike quickly as we all saw in game number three.
Marcus Johansson — $5000 – WSH vs PIT
Johansson will be a moderate risk GPP play against Pittsburgh because he showed some nice flashes in game three and should get more chances with Crosby and Sheary out. Pittsburgh’s depth will allow chances in bunches. It comes all down to converting. The winger is excellent on the power play and had an assist with four shots in Game 3. This game is expected to be another street fight but also there is a likelihood of more penalties being called. That puts Johansson and any Pittsburgh power play value plays into the equation.
Patrick Maroon – EDM vs ANA- $4600
Let’s ride this risky GPP and cash play here as Maroon looked good unlike most of the Edmonton players in game number two. He had goals in consecutive games but more importantly, he seemed to get into open positions faster than most any forward. Taking advantage of the few windows of space is key. Few generate that space like Connor McDavid so Maroon may get a couple more chances. One could take a swing at the value picks like Carl Hagelin or Andre Burakovsky. It is a slate where going bold could reward.
Oscar Klefbom – EDM vs ANA – $5200
Klefbom is a solid play on Wednesday against Anaheim because of the elevated pace in Edmonton. He has five points in his last nine games and though Andrej Sekera is a decent pivot, Klefbom should get the better scoring chances here. The defenseman has an excellent shot from the point that sometimes struggles to get through. Risk is known here but the reward is enticing. Defense is the one position at this stage of the playoffs where the tiers are very pronounced. This is a rare night where they are not. It is somewhat muddled.
Shea Theodore – ANA vs EDM- $3900
Theodore is a safer pick on Wednesday given the volatility of what the value plays represent. He has exceeded value over eight of his last ten games! He has eight points in that span on three goals and good shot and block volume. More importantly, Randy Carlyle is trusting him with more offensive zone minutes and he is producing well. His overall ice time is only around 18.5-19 minutes a night in the playoffs but his impact so far has been worth his low price. Brandon Montour could be used again in a punt role or Ian Cole for his block shot potential. However, Theodore, like we said, has the highest upside in the less than $4000 tier.
John Gibson – ANA vs EDM – $7400
Gibson is a high risk play for GPP and cash on Wednesday given this short slate. The goalie has not played bad but the feeling is he could get a confidence boost from the Game 3 win. That may be a benefit because, at times, the Anaheim goalie looked bored. He showed against Calgary that he could handle the increased load. Anaheim is down 2-1 in the series. Edmonton is a young team and projections suggest a bit of a correction tonight. However, risk is quite elevated because shot volume can be erratic with the Oilers. Braden Holtby is a contrarian play and is a viable option.
If for whatever reason, you are a little queasy on Gibson then pivot to Holtby perhaps. This is the type of slate where risk could be rewarded with the right mix of chalk plays. Watch out for any late changes. Line shifts are very possible later this afternoon or evening. Keep that in mind.
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.