By Chris Morgan
Injury questions are really starting to impact the NHL playoffs. I guess weeks of physical hockey action will do that. Nevertheless, here are some players to target, and to avoid, for Monday/Tuesday.
Pekka Rinne, NAS vs. ANA ($37): You may feel like Rinne hasn’t been as impressive in the Conference Finals as in the earlier rounds, and while that’s technically true he’s still been quite good. He’s posted a 2.09 GAA and a .924 save percentage against the Ducks, and overall he has a 1.62 GAA and a .942 save percentage in the postseason. Nashville only gave up 2.46 goals and 28.9 shots on net per game at home this year, and Anaheim may be without Rickard Rakell, and John Gibson, as well.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Craig Anderson, OTT vs. PIT ($30): With Gibson a question mark, it feels unfair to go with him in this section. Rinne was chosen as the goalie to target, and Matt Murray wouldn’t have been a bad choice either. That just leaves Anderson after he allowed four goals on 14 shots and got pulled after 18:32 in Game 5. He’s allowed seven goals total in his last two contests.
Evgeni Malkin, PIT at OTT ($30): After a couple of scoreless games, Malkin got back to business with three assists Sunday. All three of those helpers came on the power play as well. Malkin is the leading scorer in the postseason, and he has 10 points with the extra man in the playoffs. This comes after a fantastic season where he tallied 33 goals and 72 points in 62 games.
CENTER TO AVOID
Ryan Getzlaf, ANA at NAS ($27): Getzlaf has been more notable for the awful things he’s been saying on the ice rather than his performance recently. He’s got zero points in his last three games, and in fact he’s been held scoreless in six of his last seven contests. Having Rakell on his wing would help, but even if Rakell plays, it’ll be tough to solve Rinne. The Predators have only allowed 1.43 goals per game at home in the playoffs.
Filip Forsberg, NAS vs. ANA ($25): Forsberg has notched a point in every game in this series with the Ducks, including four goals. Overall, he has a six-game point streak, and he has 23 shots in net in this series. The loss of Ryan Johansen didn’t seem to hurt Forsberg in Game 5, either. The Ducks have allowed 2.88 goals and 33.2 shots on net per game in the playoffs, and Anaheim can’t even be sure who will be in net for them.
Phil Kessel, PIT at OTT ($25): Kessel started 40.6 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, and he played 4:18 per game with the extra man. He’s played 3:41 per contest on the power play in the playoffs, and he’s notched 10 power-play points in the playoffs. He also has a four-game point streak going on, and in his last three games he’s notched a point with the extra man. After the All-Star break, the Senators had the 27th-ranked penalty kill.
WINGS TO AVOID
Mark Stone, OTT vs. PIT ($18): Stone only has one point in this series, an assist, and it came in Game 1. Now that Murray has taken over in net, Stone’s chances of scoring are probably even lower. Murray had a 2.41 GAA and a .923 save percentage this year, and he just blanked the Senators in Game 5. On top of that, Stone has zero power-play points in his last 31 contests.
Chris Kunitz, PIT at OTT ($12): Line shuffling has seen Kunitz playing alongside Crosby, but it hasn’t helped his production at all. He only has one point in this series, and only two points in the postseason overall. In four of his last seven games, he hasn’t even put a shot on goal. It just goes to show you that skating alongside Crosby does not necessarily guarantee success, and the 37-year-old Kunitz seems to be past his prime.
Sami Vatanen, ANA at NAS ($18): Vatanen has three points in this series, and he’s put two shots on goal in each of his last four games. He’s also averaged 2:47 per game with the extra man in this series, and he tallied 14 power-play points in 71 games this year. Vatanen also blocked 128 shots this season, and he’s added 28 more in 10 playoff games. The Predators ranked eighth in shot attempts per 60 minutes, so Vatanen should be able to get in front of a few pucks.
Olli Maatta, PIT at OTT ($15): Suddenly, Maatta finds himself on the scoresheet. He’s scored a goal in back-to-back games, and he’s notched a point in three of his last four contests. While Maatta didn’t score a ton this year, he did blocked 102 shots in 55 games, and if he is suddenly adding value on the offensive side of things, his fantasy potential climbs tremendously.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Erik Karlsson, OTT vs. PIT ($30): Karlsson is great, there’s no doubt about it. However, he’s been dealing with a foot injury for a while, and because of that he was held out of the third period of Game 5 to rest. Granted, it was a blowout, but it still raises concerns about Karlsson’s health. He costs $7 more than any other defenseman, and if his foot limits him, it will make it hard for him to earn his lofty price point. It feels weird to not trust Karlsson, but nobody is indestructible.
Hampus Lindholm, ANA at NAS ($17): Lindholm has only averaged 4.9 fantasy points per game, and he only has two points in his last 13 contests. His power-play time has also been quite limited, as he’s only played 24 second per game with the extra man in the postseason. As previously noted, Rinne has a 1.62 GAA, and the Predators have been particularly strong defensively at home.
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