Pekka Rinne, NSH vs. COL ($8,200) – There’s always a chance that Andrew Hammond, aka the Hamburgler, will be able to steal a game, but the pressure will be immense, and his hot streak three years ago lasted just three months. With three potential clinching scenarios, the Preds face the weakest goaltender compared to the Wild and Pens, which means if Rinne has a bad game they can still rely on their offense to give them a chance.
Sidney Crosby, PIT vs. PHI ($8,100) – With two points in Game 4, Crosby became the Pens’ all-time playoff scoring leader with 173 points in just 152 games. While everyone proclaims Connor McDavid as the future, Crosby is still the best player in the league and the player you’d want in a deciding game. The Pens can close out the series at home, where they’ve won 31 of 43 of their games this season and may also not have to face Sean Couturier. Crosby’s scored on all three Flyers goalies and has traditionally been very good in potential elimination games.
Ryan Johansen, NSH vs. COL ($5,500) – He’s scored a point in every game this series, and the Avs are on the ropes in enemy territory. The Preds have a chance to go for the kill and you can bet Peter Laviolette will be leaning on his top line a lot. For a player many considered to be too lazy to be ever be an elite No. 1 center, Johansen’s been fantastic in the playoffs in every appearance, and through 38 career games has scored 32 points, becoming the rare player who has a higher point-per-game average in the playoffs than during the season.
Blake Wheeler, WPG vs. MIN ($6,800) – He has just three assists in the series, but he’s been pretty dominant, controlling the half wall on the Jets’ terrifying power play. The Jets were the league’s best team on home ice with 32 wins, and in Winnipeg the home crowd offers a clear psychological edge. Including this series, Wheeler has scored 29 points with a plus-9 rating in 34 games in his career against the Wild.
Filip Forsberg, NSH vs. COL ($6,700) – Forsberg scored a gorgeous goal in Game 4 at Denver, but he’s an especially good play at home, where nearly 60 percent of his career goals have come. His home-road splits this year — 39 points at home and 25 on the road — echo the general trend in his career, in which he’s been far more efficient and dangerous in front of the raucous Nashville crowd.
Alex Kerfoot, COL at NSH ($3,200) – He’s scored two goals in the series, and in Game 4 he played 14 minutes. The Avs have been plucky in this series, refusing to go away, and Kerfoot has been equally productive on the road and at home, unlike their top line. Kerfoot is a great value play when third-liners, albeit on better teams, are more expensive than him.
Kris Letang, PIT vs. PHI ($5,700) – He’s an elite scorer when he’s health — just don’t expect him to play elite defense. Letang scored a goal and two assists in Philadelphia, and now returns home where he’ll get the best matchups; despite scoring just three more points at home than on the road, Letang was plus-10 at home and minus-19 everywhere else this season. The Flyers have goaltending issues (shocking, I know) and may be without their top center again.
Jacob Trouba, WPG vs. MIN ($4,200) – Trouba is the only Jets defenseman to play all four games but not register a point, though he only trails Dustin Byfuglien in ice time. The former Michigan star is a very good player already but doesn’t always generate a lot of offense despite his skating and puck-handling ability. However, the Wild are on their heels and in enemy territory, and when they inevitably get hemmed in their own zone, rovers like Trouba and Byfuglien are scoring threats. Trouba’s 12 shots on goal are third on the team, trailing Byfuglien and Patrik Laine.