NHL Playoff hockey gets started a little earlier today with a 2 p.m. ET puck drop and five games on the slate. There are a few series with important Game 3’s to see which team can take a significant series lead, and there’s actually plenty of news and notes to go through. Between the shifting line combinations and injury updates, there’s a lot to break down for Friday’s NHL DFS slate on DraftKings.
Taylor Hall ($6,600), Derek Stepan ($3,700), Clayton Keller ($4,100)
The Coyotes didn’t generate much offense in Game 2 against the Avalanche and wound up getting shut out 3-0, and while they didn’t fully mix up their lines, they did try to create more opportunities for their top players. Hall, Stepan, and Keller saw some shifts together in addition to with their normal lines, and this is something we’ll probably continue to see a lot of throughout the playoffs as teams double-shift their best players to give them a larger share of the minutes.
Nathan MacKinnon ($8,500), Mikko Rantanen ($7,600), Gabriel Landeskog ($6,500)
The Avalanche are always live to swap to this trio of forwards, but they did so for longer than normal in Game 2, putting MacKinnon, Rantanen, and Landeskog together at around the mid-point of the game. The Avs had struggled to score and were deadlocked at 0-0 into the 3rd period, but pulled away late with three goals in the final seven minutes. Given their tendencies throughout the season there’s still a good chance the the lines go back to normal to start Game 3, but we should definitely expect to see a reasonable amount of this trio playing together regardless.
Jakub Voracek ($5,000), Joel Farabee ($3,700)
Voracek was a game-time decision for Game 1 against the Montreal Canadiens, and while he did wind up playing, he wasn’t in his usual spot on the first line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. The Flyers instead kept Farabee on the first line, with Voracek moving down to line three. This is obviously a big hit to Voracek’s scoring potential, if it sticks, so this will be worth monitoring in warmups before Game 2. Voracek did remain in his role on the first power play unit, however, so he still has plenty of potential to contribute there even if he stays on the third line at even strength.
Nicklas Backstrom ($5,400), Lars Eller ($3,400)
The Capitals suffered a key injury in their Game 1 loss to the New York Islanders, with Backstrom now out for Game 2 after landing in the concussion protocol. This would normally be a huge deal, as Backstrom is one of the Caps’ few prolific offensive players, but Lars Eller will be returning to the lineup today to take Backstrom’s place, which helps to soften the blow to some extent. In all likelihood, Evgeny Kuznetsov will move up to the first line and Eller will center the second, but this is another situation where warmup lines before the game will give a better indication.
Matthew Tkachuk ($5,800)
It may have gone largely unnoticed since it was the 3rd period of a game that started at 10:30 p.m. ET, but Tkachuk left last night’s game against the Dallas Stars after a hit late in the game and was seen limping off the ice to the locker room. Tkachuk is one of the Flames’ top forwards, and it’ll be a lot of work to replace him, as was seen at the tail end of Game 2. Instead of simply slotting another forward in on the second line wing, the Flames made wholesale changes to their lineup. Elias Lindholm ($5,400) moved down from the first line to fill in, and Sam Bennett ($3,200) moved up from line three to play with Johnny Gaudreau ($6,300) and Sean Monahan ($5,700). It’s unclear how much of this will stick if Tkachuk is out for Game 3, but this is definitely a situation to keep an eye on.
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