NHL Wednesday: Chandler Stephenson leads daily fantasy hockey playoff picks
Wednesday could be a rough day for Canada. The Maple Leafs face elimination. Edmonton could fall behind three games to one. As an impartial viewer, I'm hoping for wins for the team from the Great White North, because that means more competitive series. Also, more chances to play DFS hockey. Here are the players to target, and to avoid, for Wednesday.
Stuart Skinner, EDM vs. VGK ($27): I had no clue what to do with the goalies Wednesday. Skinner just got pulled, but with injuries making the situations for Toronto and Vegas murky, there were questions marks there. Skinner's .913 save percentage during the regular season puts him above Sergei Bobrovsky, and the Golden Knights finished 14th in goals per game. The other team teams playing Wednesday finished in the top nine.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Sergei Bobrovsky, FLA vs. TOR ($28): Like I said, I am not trusting Bobrovsky. The Russian goalie has been good in this series, but even so, he has a 3.05 GAA and .910 save percentage in his postseason starts. During the regular season, "Bob" had a 3.07 GAA and .901 save percentage. Plus, Toronto can't possibly get swept right…right?
Chandler Stephenson, VGK at EDM ($19): If you are looking for a center that is producing but won't break the bank, there's no better option than Stephenson at the moment. He has 10 points in the playoffs, and he's had at least one point in six of the eight games he's played in. Having Mark Stone return to play on his week has certainly helped. Skinner was the best of bad options in goal, but even his .913 save percentage from the regular season is not imposing.
CENTER TO AVOID
John Tavares, TOR at FLA ($26): How to find the guys to avoid Wednesday? With the situations in goal, look to the high-salary players not performing at their usual level. Tavares doesn't have a point in this series. In fact, he only has one goal in his last seven outings, and he is on the road facing some big pressure.
Zach Hyman, EDM vs. VGK ($26): Hyman got banged up a bit in Game 3 and didn't have a point, but he still put three shots on net. He doesn't seem worse for the wear, though, and he has five power-play points in the playoffs after having 26 during the regular season. The Golden Knights had the 19th-ranked penalty kill this year, and Adin Hill is expected in net. He was backing up Laurent Brossoit for a reason.
Carter Verhaeghe, FLA vs. TOR ($24): Verhaeghe has been grabbing some goals, tallying three in his last four contests. Hey, he did have 42 goals during the regular season, so maybe we shouldn't be surprised. The Maple Leafs don't know if Ilya Samsonov will be able to play, and if he can, how good will he look. If the Russian goalie can't go, the unproven Joseph Woll will be in goal with Matt Murray an emergency option.
WINGS TO AVOID
Evander Kane, EDM vs. VGK ($22): Kane is usually skating with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the top line now, but it isn't bearing fruit. He doesn't have any points in this series. Maybe the problem is that Kane gets limited power-play time. He won't see much of Vegas' 19th-ranked penalty kill, and Hill did step up admirably in Game 3 in making 24 saves, so it's not like the backup goalie was an immediate liability.
Eetu Luostarinen, FLA vs. TOR ($14): Luostarinen had 17 goals and 26 assists this season. However, he doesn't have a point in this series. In fact, he only has notched two shots on net. If Samsonov can play, he had a .919 save percentage this season, and of course it is hard to score goals when you aren't putting pucks on target.
Brandon Montour, FLA vs. TOR ($23): Even when he isn't scoring, Montour is active. He doesn't have a point in his last two games, but he tallied seven shots on net and four blocked shots. Prior to that, he had nine points in seven games, and also 25 shots on goal.
Morgan Rielly, TOR at FLA ($21): Even in this dark time for Toronto, Rielly is producing. He is on an eight-game point streak, including an assist in every game of this series. Bobrovsky, as I noted, had a 3.07 GAA and .901 save percentage this season.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Shea Theodore, VGK at EDM ($19): Since missing the final game of the first round with an illness, Theodore hasn't gotten back on track. He doesn't have any points in this series, and his minutes are down. The defenseman averaged 21:26 in ice time during the regular season, but he's down to 18:55 in this series. Less time on the ice means less opportunity to contribute.
Darnell Nurse, EDM vs. VGK ($17): Nurse had 12 goals on 203 shots on net and 31 assists this season, even though he doesn't play on the power play. However, it's been a tough postseason for the defenseman on the score sheet. He had three assists against the Kings, but that's it. Again, Nurse doesn't really play with the man advantage, so he too won't see much of the Golden Knights' 19th-ranked penalty kill.