Andrei Vasilevskiy, TB at NJ ($33): There was some worry that Vasilevskiy would head into the playoffs a little fatigued, but the six-day break before Game 1 seems to have helped him recharge his batteries. The Lightning netminder has allowed five goals in two games, but the defense in front of him hasnít been particularly stout. The Devils should come out flying in front of their home crowd, but the Lightning are experienced and should have no problems putting them in an 0-3 hole.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Frederik Andersen, TOR vs. BOS ($24): Itís not exactly Andersenís fault, but until Mike Babcock comes up with an answer for Patrice Bergeronís line, thereís little chance for Andersen and the Leafs. Perhaps this version of the Leafs just isnít quite ready for playoff success just yet, and top checking center Nazem Kadri will miss the game with a suspension after a vicious hit to Tommy Wingelsí head. The Leafs defense is expected to be unchanged, so thereís no help coming in that regard, either.
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Auston Matthews, TOR vs. BOS ($30): After scoring four goals in six playoff games last year, itís been a tough turn for Matthews this season. Even though he has nine shots on goal heís yet to register a point, and on the defensive side of the puck heís been completely dominated by the Bruinsí top line. With the Leafs at home, Mike Babcock can get the matchups he wants a little easier, so perhaps with a well-timed line change he can get Matthews going. At this price, however, he is a high-risk option.
Tyler Johnson, TB at NJ ($19): The Devilsí top pairing will mostly be preoccupied with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, which opens things up for Johnson and the second line. Johnson is a proven playoff performer with 45 points in 49 career games, even though his average ice time has declined with each playoff appearance. Itís a good sign, however, that 20 of his 23 career playoff goals have come at even strength.
Nico Hischier, NJ vs. TB ($16): He has a goal in two games in his first ever playoff experience, and as the teamís top center playing with an MVP candidate in Taylor Hall, Hischier presents some intriguing upside at a low cost. The Lightning defense hasnít been as stout even with the acquisition of Ryan McDonagh, and John Hynes is smart enough to exploit the matchup advantage on home ice.
CENTERS TO AVOID
Ryan Getzlaf, ANA at SJ ($23): Colour me surprised the Sharks have been so good against the ill-disciplined Ducks. Despite the Ducks stacking the top line with Corey Perry and Rickard Rakell alongside him, Getzlaf has just one assist through two games, and having lost both games on home ice they'll head to San Jose where the Sharks have been quite good.
Ryan Donato, BOS at TOR ($19): He played under 10 minutes in Game 2 and finished with a minus-1 rating, though he did get three shots on goal. If Donato dresses he will likely face Tyler Bozakís line again, which is a little more skilled and certainly more experienced.
Kyle Turris, NSH at COL ($17): Turris is still an excellent No. 2 center, but on the road against the Avs heíll be again tasked to take care of his own end first. Itís also important to note that the Preds really spread out the ice time, and through two games Turris is averaging just under 15 minutes per game after averaging around 20 minutes in his past three playoff appearances with the Senators.
Taylor Hall, NJ vs. TB ($32): The Devils only have a chance if Hall continues to carry the offense, which has been surprisingly effective. The plucky Devils should be able to take at least one game from the Lightning, and what better way to do it than on home ice? Hall is averaging over 20 minutes per game and through two games has a goal and an assist.
David Pastrnak, BOS at TOR ($27): Despite getting their butts kicked in Game 2, the Leafs will not make any changes to their defense. Thatís probably better news for the Bruins than having Tomas Plekanec get promoted to the second line for the Leafs, since Matthewsí line is expected to go head-to-head against Pastrnakís once again.
Yanni Gourde, TB at NJ ($18): His emergence has provided the Lightning with a very good third line, and through two games has a goal and an assist while averaging over 15 minutes per game. Gourdeís line is almost never going to see the Devilsí top pair and, in a key game that can get the Lightning to within one win of advancing, look for depth to be a possible difference maker. Gourde has scored some big goals this season, and linemate Anthony Cirelli was one of the most clutch players in major junior.
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WINGS TO AVOID
Rickard Rakell, ANH at SJ ($26): Stacking the top line hasnít borne any fruit for the Ducks, who now head to San Jose, erasing whatever home-ice advantages they may have had. The Ducks cannot afford to fall behind 0-3 and give the Sharks four chances to clinch the series, but the winds just arenít blowing in their direction. Rakell has just two shots and a minus-1 rating through two games.
James van Riemsdyk, TOR vs. BOS ($22): The Leafs spread out the talent on their top three lines but JVRís line is third in the pecking order, and through two games he has just one goal while averaging just under 16 minutes per game. Riley Nash and David Backes will be a tough matchup as well.
Craig Smith, NSH at COL ($19): The Predatorsí offense by committee approach makes it difficult to trust Smith, who isnít even the primary trigger man on his line. Heís a solid two-way forward who can provide some scoring in a pinch, but in Denver where the Avs have been excellent, Smith is not a very enticing play.
Victor Hedman, TB at NJ ($27): He continues to be the Lightningís best defenseman and despite not registering a single point yet, he has come close a few times. Heís attempted 10 shots through two games but only two of them have gotten through. Cory Schneider made 10 saves in relief in Game 2 but he hasnít won a game since Dec. 27 and owns a .904 save percentage in nine career regular-season games against the Lightning.
Tyson Barrie, COL vs. NSH ($23): If the Avs get power-play opportunities, watch out. Barrieís been excellent manning the point, and if Jared Bednar can get Barrie and Nikita Zadorov a few more favorable matchups on home ice, he should have a productive game. The Avs are excellent at home and their offense has had their way for certain stretches against a tough Predators defense.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Ryan Ellis, NSH at COL ($22): P.K. Subban and Roman Josi are better options because they generate more offense than everyone else. Ellis is a key defenseman but he doesnít get to run the power play, which hurts his fantasy value. The Avs will be leaning heavily on Nathan MacKinnonís line, which has dominated on home ice, so Ellisí first priority will be shutting them down.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJ vs. ANH ($17): Heís a steady defenseman but doesnít generate much on offense, leaving those duties to Brent Burns. Through 116 career playoff games Vlasic has scored just three goals and 29 points, nearly half of which came in their run to the finals two years ago.