The playoffs have been wonderful so far, but perhaps the NHL wants us to pace ourselves, because there are only two games Friday. Still, the opportunity for some FanDuel action exists, so here are some players you'll want to get into your lineup to kick off the weekend.
Craig Anderson, OTT vs. BOS ($8,400): Anderson was stellar in limited action during the regular season, posting a 2.28 GAA and .926 save percentage. In this series, he has a less impressive .917 save percentage, but his GAA is a mere 1.95. His team has also won three games in a row, and the Sens are at home with a chance to send the B's home for the summer. There are only four goalies in action, and with the way the goals have been racked up in the Capitals-Leafs series, it makes sense to go with a goalie from this game. Why not go with the one who had the better season and is also at home?
Nicklas Backstrom, WAS vs. TOR ($7,600): Fewer options total means fewer opportunities to find value, so sometimes you just need to spend money for top players, and Backstrom certainly fits in that category. Backstrom had another tremendous regular season, tallying 86 points in 82 games, with a whopping 35 of those coming on power plays. After the All-Star break, the Maple Leafs had the 20th-ranked penalty kill, and they gave up 2.98 goals per game away from home. Backstrom has had a strong series as well, tallying five points and 10 shots on goal.
Ryan Spooner, BOS at OTT ($4,000): Spooner is a power-play specialist. He averaged 2:46 with the extra man and he notched 18 power-play points in 78 games. Meanwhile, the Senators had the 27th-ranked penalty kill after the All-Star break. Spooner has averaged 2:38 per game on the power play in this series, and wouldn’t you know, he has two power-play points. At this price, Spooner’s power-play prowess is a real asset.
T.J. Oshie, WAS vs. TOR ($7,500): After scoring 33 goals in 68 games, Oshie notched his first goal in these playoffs in Game 4. In fact, he scored twice, and he’s tallied at least one point in every game in this series. The Maple Leafs gave up 2.85 goals and 32.6 shots on net per game during the regular season, both of which ranked in the bottom 10 in the league. They haven't exactly turned it up for the postseason -- 14 goals and 147 shots through five games -- and that bodes well for Oshie.
William Nylander, TOR at WAS ($6,000): The sample size of the full regular season is obviously bigger than the playoffs, but the fact remains that Braden Holtby has a 3.02 GAA and a .907 save percentage in this series. Toronto did score 3.05 goals per game, so perhaps they are making the Capitals work harder than most teams. Nylander has tallied three points and 14 shots on goal in this series, a continuation of a strong finish to his regular season. In his last 26 games, he’s tallied 22 points including seven on the power play.
Justin Williams, WAS vs. TOR ($5,100): Speaking of guys who ended the regular season playing well, Williams has 13 points in his last 13 contests. That includes four points in the playoffs, two of which came on the power play. Since there are only four teams playing Friday, and since Toronto had the worst defense of the four in the regular season, you’ve already been informed about how many goals and shots the Maple Leafs gave up. All that information remains pertinent when it comes to Williams.
Bobby Ryan, OTT vs. BOS ($4,900): Ryan had something of a forgettable regular season, but he’s been on fire in these playoffs. He’s on a four-game postseason point streak, tallying five points in that span. Going back to the regular season, that gives him a five-game point streak. He’s not the guy who once had four 30-
goal seasons in a row, but he’s only 30 years old with plenty left in the tank. Two of his points in this series have come on the power play, and in his last three games he’s averaged 3:12 per game with the extra man. The Senators are clearly willing to give him an opportunity, and if he keeps taking advantage of it, the returns could be quite profitable.
John Carlson, WAS vs. TOR ($4,900): Toronto's defensive shortcomings have been well documented, but here are two more stats: The Leafs gave up 2.97 goals and 33.3 shots on goal per contest after the All-Star break. They also ranked third in shot attempts per 60 minutes (60.5). Carlson blocked 127 shots in 72 games during the regular season, and he has eight blocks in this series. He’s also notched 15 shots against Toronto in these playoffs.
Dion Phaneuf, OTT vs. BOS ($4,000): Toronto may have ranked third in shot attempts per 60 minutes, but Boston ranked first (61.3). That should mean plenty of opportunities for Phaneuf, who had 156 blocked shots in 81 games, to get in front of pucks. He already has eight blocked shots in this series as well as three points, although they all came in one game. Still, at this price, Phaneuf doesn’t have to do a ton offensively to be return value, and he tallied 30 points this season, including 16 with the extra man. The potential is there.