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Fantasy Hockey Picks: DraftKings NHL Lightning vs. Islanders Showdown Targets For September 11

Geoff Ulrich gets you ready for Friday’s DraftKings fantasy hockey showdown slate with picks and strategy.

New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Two Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

We’ve reached Showdown season in NHL DFS on DraftKings, as the playoffs have progressed to the Conference Finals and with the Eastern Conference and Western Conference alternating games throughout each series. Tonight’s Showdown slate features Game 3 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders, which follows Wednesday’s Game 2, in which the Lightning took a tight 2-1 win and extended their series lead to 2-0.

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NHL Showdown $30K Kick Save [$10K to 1st] (TB vs NYI)


DraftKings Slate Strategy

Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy ($10,800) comes into this game having won six games in a row. He stopped 27 of 28 shots in his last game and he’s the most expensive player on this slate. Game 2 was close and more the way people expected this series to go: A tight affair with fewer scoring chances. With Tampa currently sitting as favorites, expect ownership to be high on him tonight. Big GPP contests likely make him a good fade candidate for that reason alone, as playing part of an Islanders stack — or their goalie — in the Captain’s spot will give you much better leverage.

If you figure the series will continue to be tight going forward, then going with Victor Hedman ($9,000) up top is another option to consider. I mentioned the Tampa Bay defenseman here for Game 2 as a good captain’s candidate and he delivered with a goal and four blocked shots. The value of Hedman definitely increases as this series stays tight. His minutes increased on Wednesday and should continue to stay high as long as the games remain competitive.

The Islanders offense has struggled thus far, with their only goal of Game 2 coming from role player Matt Martin ($2,000). The min-priced forward is only playing 10-minutes per night so be careful chasing points. Brock Nelson ($8,600) is coming off two scoreless games and was banged up from a dirty hit by Alex Killhorn, who has been suspended for tonight’s prodceedings. Nelson does have four goals in his last seven games and, if the Islanders offense is ever going to break out, the second-line center will have a good chance of being a part of that. With Killhorn out, look for a player like Blake Coleman ($7,000) to possibly gain some extra ice time and opportunities tonight.

One final note, Brayden Point ($8,800) is questionable for Tampa tonight. If he can’t go, look for Anthony Cirelli ($5,400) to get a big bump and likely center the top-line.


Captain’s Pick Options

Tampa Bay Lightning

Victor Hedman ($13,500)

Hedman gets another mention for all the same reasons he got listed here for Game 2. This series should continue to be tight as it progresses, given these are two solid defensive teams. The Isles ranked above-average in shots against and penalty-kill during the regular season and have only been allowing 27 SOG per game in the playoffs. That leaves less room for stud forwards like Nikita Kucherov ($15,900) to smash their value; but effects a player like Hedman less, who also produces from the blocked shot category and plays a ton of minutes on the PP1. Hedman played over 26 minutes in Game 2 and hit the blocked shot bonus for the third time in four games — while also scoring for the fourth game in a row. He’s doing it all right now and offers a significant discount in price off the other big names for Tampa.

Blake Coleman ($10,500)

Coleman should stand to benefit the most from Killhorn being out. The former Devil has played more of a supporting role for Tampa since getting traded there; but he has still flashed some good upside in these playoffs, potting a multi-goal game against the Bruins and collecting three or more shots in five of his last eight games. As a Captain's Pick, his salary is going to let you fit in more studs from both sides without losing much of the upside that comes from paying up for one of the higher-priced forwards in this position. This is a good time to take advantage of him given how shorthanded the Lightning could be at forward, if Brayden Point ($8,800) also ends up missing this game.

New York Islanders

Seymon Varlamov ($15,300) or Thomas Greiss ($15,000)

The Islanders went back to Varlamov in Game 2, who was only beaten twice in the 2-1 loss. It’s hard to see the Islanders not going back to him here, as he was hardly at fault for the loss given the final goal was a nearly perfect shot by Kucherov. The Islanders are underdogs on the DK Sportsbook as of writing, but with the Lightning being shorthanded up front, this is probably the best chance the Isles will have of winning a game in this series. Varlamov (or Greiss) could theoretically come in at half the ownership of Vasilevskiy in big GPPs, which makes him a great leverage target.

Brock Nelson ($8,600)

If you’re playing any kind of Islanders stack today, Nelson could be a solid low-sentiment play. The center only played 10 minutes in Game 2 after getting roughed up multiple times. While that certainly heightens the injury possibility in Game 3, there’s been no reason to think he’ll be limited, and he should also be motivated for some revenge. Nelson has scored four goals in his last seven games and looked like he had rediscovered his scoring touch prior to this series. Any Isles outburst could easily have him heavily involved on the score sheet and pairing him with his winger Anthony Beauvillier ($7,800) makes for a solid discounted stack.


Top Value Options

Tampa Bay Lightning

Barclay Goodrow ($3,200)

I mentioned Coleman as a good upside tonight, but Goodrow will be playing on his line and should also get a boost with Killhorn out. The former Shark has played over 18 minutes in the last two games of this series and he’s essentially moving into a top six role on a line with Yanni Gourde ($4,200). He doesn’t carry as much upside as Coleman in the goal scoring department, but his price makes him a great stacking option or just pure value punt. He’s well-rounded and is doing it all for Tampa Bay right now as he’s hit the blocked shot bonus in three of his last seven games. If the minutes stay level, he might be the best value under 4K on the slate.

New York Islanders

Andrew Ladd ($3,000)

Ladd got inserted into the lineup for the Islanders in the last game and should draw back in again tonight. The veteran gives them a little more punch on the third-line and he also played on over 40% of the power-play minutes for the Islanders in Game 2. If you’re planning to build your roster around an Islanders offensive breakout, he makes for a great value target and someone who could theoretically connect with Brock Nelson ($8,600) if he keeps seeing time on the power-play

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NHL Showdown $30K Kick Save [$10K to 1st] (TB vs NYI)


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.