This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
Many in the hockey world, myself included, were ready to count out the Lightning after they lost their first two games and went down in the first period of Game 3. But they bounced back and won a convincing 6-2 decision in Game 3. Being back in Florida as opposed to Denver where the air is much thinner may have played to the Lightning's advantage. They're a strong team regardless, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy is still the best in the world. After all, he has a .947 save percentage and a 1.73 GAA at home this series. FanDuel Sportsbook is projecting this game to be evenly matched. I'm hedging on the side of the Lightning to even the series.
Ondrej Palat, TB vs. COL ($10,000): Palat has out-scored Steven Stamkos with 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) over the last 12 games, and Nikita Kucherov is barely out-pacing him with four goals and 12 assists. With less name recognition, Palat provides a contrarian option at the captain slot with just as much upside as the big dogs. The opportunity is quite appealing, too, as Colorado goaltender Darcy Kuemper has an .874 save percentage and a 3.39 GAA on the road this postseason.
Steven Stamkos, TB vs. COL ($11,000): Stamkos is a solid stack with Palat because both players skate on the top line and are quite affordable. While Palat has out-paced Stamkos recently, Stamkos has posted eight goals and four assists across the last 12 games. He averaged 3.3 shots per game in that stretch and added two power-play points as well. The Avalanche are liable to allowing Stamkos to have a big game, as Kuemper is in a rough patch and they have a modest 79.6 penalty-kill percentage this playoffs.
Victor Hedman, TB vs. COL ($9,000): Hedman has just 10 points over the last 13 games, but he's still handling plenty of minutes and is shooting and blocking enough shots to make him a worthy addition at this salary range. He's a strong stack with Palat and Stamkos. The trio works together on PP1 in addition to plenty of shared even-strength ice time, too.
Cale Makar, COL at TB ($14,000): Stamkos and Palat come at such major discounts that it allows us to sneak Makar into our lineups. Makar has taken the torch from Hedman as the league's best defenseman. Through the last seven games, he has scored four goals and nine assists while averaging nearly 27 minutes of ice time per game. I'm expecting the Lightning to win, but the Avalanche will still get on the board. Makar is typically a part of the effort when the Avs put one on the board.
Artturi Lehkonen, COL at TB ($10,500): Lehkonen was average in the regular season but has been a key piece of the Avalanche's Stanley Cup push. The 26-year-old has five goals and five assists over the last 11 games. He fired 29 shots on net and blocked 14 shots in the process. His salary is creeping up but he's worth the gamble as the fifth man in your lineup.