We’re just two days into the NHL playoffs, but rosters are already getting shaken up, both from the games that have happened and from training camp leading in. There’s a lot of key player news to follow, and the first NHL game starts at noon with the main slate locking at 2:30 p.m. ET. Here’s your morning update on the most relevant injuries, impending updates, and line combination impacts for today’s upcoming hockey.
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New York Rangers
Jesper Fast ($5,400 in single-game Showdown), Kaapo Kakko ($4,200)
Rangers forward Jesper Fast was injured on his first shift of Game 1 after taking a big hit from his former Rangers teammate Brady Skjei ($5,800) and he’ll be out of the lineup for Game 2. Fast isn’t a prolific offensive player but he was skating on a line with Artemi Panarin ($9,800) and Ryan Strome ($7,000), so there is some fantasy relevance there. His slot was filled primarily by Kaapo Kakko and also by Julien Gauthier ($2,000) and look for one of them to stick with that combination in Game 2. The Rangers will also miss Fast’s capabilities killing penalties, so his absence could give the Hurricanes some increased output on the power play.
EDITOR’S NOTE: You can set your Rangers-Hurricanes Showdown lineups here.
Mark Scheifele ($5,500), Patrik Laine ($6,000)
Mark Scheifele exited Game 1 in the first period after a collision with Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk ($5,500), and his status for Game 2 and perhaps the rest of the series is in doubt. Patrik Laine was also injured in the third period and left the game as well, and he’s TBD for Game 2 too. The Jets are not a particularly deep team and are extremely reliant on top-end scoring, so even just one of these two players missing the game would pose some major problems. This is definitely a situation to keep an eye on before this game gets underway Monday afternoon.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Scheifele and Laine will not play in Game 2 vs. the Flames.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos ($7,400)
Steven Stamkos practiced throughout the week, but he sat out on Saturday and Sunday and is not expected to be in the lineup on Monday against the Washington Capitals. Stamkos will leave holes on the second line and the first power play unit and it remains to be seen how the Lightning will reshuffle around him. The power play should be at least somewhat predictable without Stamkos, as Tyler Johnson ($3,400) tended to fill in on the top unit when the Lightning had injuries during the season.
John Carlson ($6,500)
Carlson is a game time decision today against the Lightning, and this is certainly news to keep an eye on as he is actually the Capitals leader in points this season despite being a defenseman. Carlson led all defensemen in scoring in the regular season both in terms of points (75) and assists (60), in large part due to his power play proficiency while setting up one-timers for Alex Ovechkin. If Carlson sits, the likely beneficiary is Dimitry Orlov ($3,500) who generally quarterbacks the second power play unit for the Capitals.
Vegas Golden Knights
Max Pacioretty (OUT)
Knights leading scorer Max Pacioretty still isn’t ready to play and he’ll be out of the lineup on Monday against the Dallas Stars. It’s an obvious downgrade to the Knights’ scoring capabilities overall, but they will at least have fellow forward Mark Stone ($7,000) available, who was dealing with an injury as well. It’s not an ideal matchup against the Stars, but the Knights line combinations will be worth paying attention to in warmups as they try to deal with Pacioretty’s absence. The Knights are also expected to start Robin Lehner ($7,900) over Marc-Andre Fleury ($7,900) in net on Monday, which is probably a move that will give them a better chance to win more often than not.
Connor McDavid ($7,800), Leon Draisaitl ($7,300)
The Oilers shuffled their lines during Saturday’s 6-4 Game 1 loss to the Blackhawks, reuniting Connor McDavid on the first line with Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers tend to do this often even when the team is playing well, putting the two best offensive players together at even strength to generate increased offense. The Oilers were particularly bad in the early parts of this game, however, so there may be a better chance than normal that Edmonton changes up he line combinations more dramatically heading into Game 2. Either way, look for a short leash on the pregame combos if the Oilers struggle again early like the team did in the first game.
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