The Bruins lost a close game in the first matchup of the series on Saturday, but if history tells us anything between these two teams it’s likely they bounce back quickly. Boston and Washington played extremely close this year, going 4-4 in the season series, while the goal total was 26-25 for Boston. I expect the Bruins to get a few more shots on 39-year-old Craig Anderson ($7,900) here, as he only had to stop 22 shots in game one, and like the money line on the B’s tonight.
If we’re being honest, St. Louis should just be happy to just be in the playoffs. The Blues suffered a major drawdown defensively with the loss of Alex Pietrangelo and suffered regression both in net and on offense as well. Meanwhile, Colorado ranks as the best team in the playoffs in the advanced stats — where they rank first in xGF% — and the standings. The Blues also have four key players who are questionable for this game, including two of their best scorers in David Perron ($6,500; health protocols) and Vladimir Tarasenko ($4,700; lower body). The puck line here is worth taking even at reduced odds.
Top Line Stack
Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals
Patrice Bergeron ($6,900) — David Pastrňák ($7,500) — Brad Marchand ($7,000)
The Bruins’ top line all played over 20 minutes in the series opener and should be in line for more big minutes now that the B’s are down 0-1 in the series. While it wasn’t a banner night for this group in Game 1, it’s worth noting that their best offensive player Pastrnak was able to get off six shots and found the scoresheet as well with a power-play assist. Any kind of production for this line on special teams will come as a bonus against Washington, which ranked fifth-best on the penalty kill this year.
Washington did rate out well defensively this year, too, but they certainly are rolling the dice by starting Anderson in net for this series and there’s little doubt that we’re likely to see a dip in performance in net for Washington if he plays the entire series. This Boston trio ranked fourth in goals scored as a line in the regular season and is available here at well under their usual price range on DraftKings. I like attacking with the B’s top line tonight on what could be a very low-scoring slate.
Superstar to Target
Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues ($8,600)
There’s not likely to be much debate on who the top play is on tonight’s slate. MacKinnon enters this game coming off a two-game absence that was most likely just for precautionary/rest purposes. The center is averaging 17.3 DKFP over his past 10 games and is averaging 4.8 SOG in that same span, just under the DraftKings bonus mark. The Blues have all kinds of injury question marks and carry a penalty kill that ranked just 24th in the league in terms of efficiency. The Avalanche are too strong at 5v5 for the Blues long term in this series and with MacKinnon rested, it’s almost certainly going to lead to some big games for the center. He’ll be heavily owned, but fading him here, with two other low-scoring games on the slate, feels wrong.
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Value on Offense
Mike Hoffman, St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche ($4,300)
None of the games on this slate have an O/U bigger than 5.5 goals, so targeting forwards with solid peripheral stats in SOG could be key in big GPPs where low scores may take the day. Hoffman has had an up-and-down season for the Blues but comes in averaging 2.1 SOG and 8.6 DKFP over his past 10 games. He may get a bump in ice time here, too, with a couple of the Blues’ forwards listed as questionable and Hoffman is coming off a strong regular-season finale where he grabbed three power-play assists. Expect him to see a little more usual ice time than usual in Game 1 at least, against a good offensive team like the Avs.
Matt Duchene, Nashville Predators at Carolina Hurricanes ($3,000)
The Predators have moved Duchene up to their top-line in an attempt to get one of their best offensive players on track. The former Avalanche standout is coming off one of the worst regular seasons of his career as he grabbed just 13 points in 34 games. The new assignment seemed to lift him though at the end of the year, as he grabbed two goals in the Preds’ finale while playing alongside Ryan Johansen ($3,400) and Filip Forsberg ($6,000). Duchene makes for a good target here as he should see solid minutes and brings real upside at this near-minimum salary price.
Philip Grubauer, Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues ($8,400)
All three of the goalies starting for the favorites on this slate are expensive, so paying up for the best of the bunch isn’t really a terrible idea. Grubauer won five of his last six games after coming back from injury late in the season and has been fantastic behind a solid Avs defense, posting a .922 save percentage on the year. He comes in having stopped 54 of his last 55 shots faced and faces a Blues team that could be without some of their best scorers for Game 1. With Colorado sitting as -286 favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook right now, just paying all the way up here is definitely recommended for core lineups today.
Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators at Carolina Hurricanes ($7,500)
If you’re looking to make for some kind of leverage play in big GPPs, where ownership will certainly play a factor, Saros makes for a very tempting target. The Predators would not be in the playoffs if not for his mid-season surge and he comes into this game with a .930 save percentage over his past 10 games. While the Hurricanes are clearly the better team, we see goalies like Saros steal games every year in the first round with big performances. Taking a shot on his low ownership and low salary in Game 1 isn’t a bad idea at all in GPPs today.
Value on Defense
Samuel Girard, Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues ($4,300)
Girard returned to action for the Avs a couple of weeks ago and promptly played over 23 minutes in his just second game back. He’s an integral part of their rotation on the back end and put up career numbers this year offensively, much of which came when he was filling in for Cale Makar ($6,400). While Makar certainly has better overall upside, taking the discount on Girard here makes a ton of sense as he’s averaging over 1.9 blocked shots over his past 10 games and seems certain to get at least some power-play exposure as well. The Avs value plays all have solid upside in this spot given the lopsided nature of the odds here (in Colorado’s favor) and Girard is a good way to save money on defense while not taking away much from your potential upside today.
Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals ($4,700)
McAvoy has now played over 23 minutes for the B’s in each of their past three games and had a productive Game 1 for fantasy purposes, landing five SOG and a power-play assist in the 3-2 loss. McAvoy is the Bruins’ best all-around defenseman, so I fully expect them to give him big minutes throughout this series. He was out on about half of the power-play time for Boston in Game 1 and may even see his minutes rise in special teams situations for Game 2 after having some success there early in the series.
Dougie Hamilton, Carolina Hurricanes vs. Nashville Predators ($6,600)
The Hurricanes come in as -250 favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook, so loading up on their best offensive players really isn’t a horrible strategy for DFS today. Carolina’s power play ranked as the second-best in the league in 2021 and is going against a Nashville penalty kill that was third-best in the league. The only fear here is a big game from Saros, but we can’t fade obvious spots on a three-game slate. Hamilton is averaging 3.2 SOG and 12.3 DKFP over his past 10 games and should be well-rested after taking the last regular-season game off. He should be heavily considered here as part of any Carolina PP1 stack and should be your first stop/preferred option if paying up on defense today, assuming you can find value elsewhere.
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