This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
Friday's five-game slate could mark the end of the road for a number of teams including Nashville, Pittsburgh, Edmonton. Columbus and Minnesota. For DFS players, this also means a bevy of world-class talent to pick from in Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews, to name a few. Let's take a closer look...
Despite his lackluster performance in Game 3, Matt Murray ($8,200) remains atop the goalie price list, though there are plenty of questions regarding whether he will even get the start. If not, Tristan Jarry ($8,000) won't save much, though he does come in $200 cheaper. The other expensive netminders include Frederik Andersen ($8,100), who will almost certainly be playing in a back-to-back even after losing in overtime to the Jackets in Game 3 on Thursday, and Mikko Koskinen ($8,000), whose hold on the starting job is almost as tenuous as Murray's.
On the heels of a stellar 27-save shutout performance, Jacob Markstrom ($7,800) will no doubt garner plenty of interest in the mid-range pricing tier, though fantasy players willing to fade the Penguins should certainly be considering Carey Price, as he is sporting a 2.19 GAA and .937 save percentage through the first three games. Another goalie who could be headed to the bench is Juuse Saros ($7,900) after he posted a meager .889 save percentage in Game 3 versus Arizona. The alternative option for the Predators is Pekka Rinne ($7,900), who is coming off a disappointing 2020-21 campaign but could turn back the clock Friday if given the opportunity.
The cheapest options on the board are Joonas Korpisalo ($7,000) and Corey Crawford ($7,200), both of whom figure to be considered underdogs despite owning 2-1 series leads. Still, Korpisalo has managed to limit the star-studded Leafs to just five goals in three games, while Crawford has been just good enough to earn two wins despite having allowed 13 goals in three appearances.
Andreas Athanasiou ($3,600): With Tyler Ennis out indefinitely, the Oilers need to move somebody into a top-six role alongside Leon Draisaitl, and Athanasiou could have the inside track. This could be what the winger needs to break out of his 11-game pointless streak. The job is far from a lock for Athanasiou, as the coaching staff could opt to move James Neal ($3,800) up instead, which would make him the better value play.
Kirby Dach ($3,500): With all the stars in this series, Dach has quietly racked up four helpers in his first three career playoff games, two of which were scored on the power play. Serving as the anchor of the Hawks' second line with Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat should provide the youngster plenty of chances to pick up a couple more points Friday.
Conor Garland ($3,900): In the first two games against Nashville, you'd have been forgiven for forgetting that Garland was even on the ice. In Game 3, however, the 24-year-old winger grabbed his first postseason goal. Coach Rick Tocchet is currently deploying the Massachusetts native on the second line, but if he were to split up Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel, it would be Garland that figures to jump up to the top unit.
Maple Leafs vs Blue Jackets
In terms of low-cost stacks, you won't find a better value than the Leafs' third line. Utilization could be up for Friday's slate after the trio combined for a goal and four assists in Game 3 versus Columbus on Thursday. It's likely a high-risk, high-reward proposition, as none of the three guys will see much in terms of power-play ice time but will create a matchup nightmare at even strength for the Jackets.
Canucks vs Wild
I hate going back to the well on this one, especially considering the team is playing back-to-back games, but there's plenty of upside. Compared to Thursday's slate, their salaries dropped a combined $700, making them even more attractive. This is especially true considering they racked up two goals and two assists, all scored with the man advantage, in Game 3. The only reason to fade this trio in my opinion would be if you're concerned about their utilization percentage, which could certainly go up.
Penguins vs Canadiens
It's another appearance in this article for Pittsburgh's top-line during this series, and I would expect Crosby (on his birthday, no less!) to play with a purpose to force a Game 5 through sheer will. Alternatively, if you are feeling the Penguins fade, the Habs' second line of Nick Suzuki (C - $3,700), Jonathan Drouin (W - $3,400) and Joel Armia ($3,700) offers the most intrigue.
It's hard to ignore the performance Shea Weber ($5,200) put on Wednesday night, as he racked up one goal, two assists and five shots on his way to 34.6 fantasy points. He comes in significantly cheaper than top options Roman Josi ($6,800) and Kris Letang ($6,300), who provided minimal impact in their last two games. In fact, of the blueliners above $5,500, only Zach Werenski (one assist) and Seth Jones (one goal) did anything of note offensively in their most recent contest.
Speaking of recent performances, Quinn Hughes ($5,000) picked up an assist on all three of Vancouver's goals in Game 3 while also logging 9:39 of power-play ice time. He hasn't scored a goal since Feb. 1 versus the Islanders, but his ability to rack up helpers makes him a solid play even with a salary bordering on high-end. In addition to Weber, Montreal has gotten consistent production from Jeff Petry ($4,200), who has managed a point in each of the first three contests.
He doesn't see minutes on the power play, but Slater Koekkoek ($3,200) has found lightning in a bottle with three points in his last two outings. Considering he managed just 10 points during the regular season, the 25-year-old blueliner should be expected to cool off eventually, but for now, fantasy players should consider riding the hot hand in a series that has seen plenty of goals on both sides.