This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs! Here are some recommendations for several series kicking off Wednesday.
Connor Hellebuyck, WPG vs. MIN ($35)
Hellebuyck enters the playoffs on a scorcher of a hot streak, compiling nine consecutive wins while also allowing one goal or fewer in three of his last four starts. The 24-year-old is the new record holder for wins by an American goalie and has found much success against Minnesota this season, showing a .914 save percentage and 2.50 GAA over the course of three victories. Look for Hellebuyck to come up big in his first career playoff start.
Goalie to Avoid
Jonathan Quick, LAK @ VGK ($39)
It's easy to think about Quick in the playoffs and remember his 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy, but recent history has not been as kind – during the Kings' last postseason campaign in 2016, the Connecticut native posted a poor .886 save percentage in five starts. Additionally, Quick has struggled to contain the Golden Knights this season, notching just a single win in three tries to go with a .908 save percentage and 3.51 GAA.
Sean Couturier, PHI @ PIT ($21)
Couturier's breakout campaign will continue into the postseason and part of his success has come in the exact scenario he finds himself in Wednesday – the American pivot has scored two goals on five shots on goal in two away games against the Penguins this season. One of Pittsburgh's weaknesses has been in defending centers, as they allowed 1.05 goals per game to the position, so we'll see if Couturier can take advantage.
Center to Avoid
Eric Staal, MIN @ WPG ($23)
Staal rolls into the postseason with less than inspiring metrics, having posted just two goals and an alarming minus-5 rating over the last five contests. It's not particularly surprising that most of these games took place on the road where the 33-year-old has struggled – he shows only 34 of his points and a minus-11 rating in away games during the regular season. If Staal can't get it going offensively, this high-powered Winnipeg offense could make his rating pay even more.
Phil Kessel, PIT vs. PHI ($27)
This first round matchup may very well come down to the power play, as Pittsburgh's top-ranked unit will faceoff with Philadelphia's 29th-ranked penalty kill. Assuming the Penguins can win this battle, Kessel is the man to turn to here – the 30-year-old set a new career high this season with an eye-popping 42 power-play points, four of which came against the Flyers. Additionally, the Wisconsin native has scored 56 of his 92 points at PPG Paints Arena this campaign.
James Neal, VGK vs. LAK ($13)
You can scoff at Neal's limited recent success if you'd like, but this incredibly low price Wednesday is just too good to pass up considering the potential value. The Ontario native has thrived on home ice, putting up six more points despite playing in one fewer game and still runs with Vegas' top power-play unit where he averages 2:27 of ice time. The veteran brings playoff experience to his young team, meaning he may have to lead the way.
Wings to Avoid
Patrik Laine, WPG vs. MIN ($29)
Choosing Laine for your lineup always carries some inherent risk because of his inconsistency and his reliance on goal scoring to give him any sort of production. The young Finn currently finds himself mired in one of his worst slumps of the season, as he shows just a goal and an assist over the last 10 contests. At this high price, you won't want to take the risk of him scoring in his playoff debut against a tough Minnesota squad.
Jakub Voracek, PHI @ PIT ($25)
The situational numbers for Voracek do not inspire much confidence in this spot, especially considering his status as the fourth-highest priced winger on the board Wednesday. The Czech national has one goal and a minus-3 rating in four games against Pittsburgh this season, and the last time Philadelphia was in the playoffs in 2016, he largely struggled, recording just one goal in six games. Again, you can find better bets at a lower price.
Ivan Provorov, PHI @ PIT ($20)
If the Flyers are going to take down the defending Stanley Cup champions in the first round, it'll likely be through their strong blueliner play, as the Penguins allowed 2.16 points per game to defensemen this campaign. Provorov enters his first Stanley Cup Playoffs very hot, having recorded four goals, three assists and an outstanding plus-9 rating in his last six contests, so it's certainly not crazy to chase him at this price point.
Tyler Myers, WPG vs. MIN ($15)
Myers can provide you some excellent value considering his relatively modest Wednesday price tag. The 28-year-old has been great on home ice this season, racking up 22 points and a plus-12 rating there, and still gets plenty of opportunities with the man advantage, as he averages over two minutes of ice time per game in those situations. Considering the Wild allow 2.12 points per game to d-men, this could prove to be a steal.
Defensemen to Avoid
Jared Spurgeon, MIN @ WPG ($19)
Spurgeon (hamstring) is considered a game-time decision for Wednesday's Game 1 and is trending in the right direction to play, but he's still not a recommended add for your virtual squad. Injury notwithstanding, the Edmonton native endured a bad seven-game stretch prior to going down, notching no goals, four assists, seven shots on goal and a minus-3 rating. Don't take the risk against this stout Winnipeg squad.
Shea Theodore, VGK vs. LAK ($18)
The Kings have been one of the most solid defensive teams all season and especially so against defensemen – the team from LA allowed just 1.60 points per game to the position throughout the campaign. Theodore in particular has not fared well against the squad either, as he managed no points on just five shots on goal in two appearances against them this season. You can find better values at this price or lower.