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Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NHL DFS Picks, Lineup Strategy for May 18

Neil Parker gives his top NHL picks and lineup advice for Tuesday’s fantasy hockey slate on DraftKings, which starts at 7:00 p.m. ET.

The three playoff games taking place Tuesday are included in the featured contests at DraftKings. Note the regular-season meeting between the Flames and Canucks is not. The odds are tight for the three postseason contests, too. Vegas is receiving respectable chalk on home ice against Minnesota, but both the Islanders-Penguins and Lightning-Panthers bouts project to be close.

All statistics from Natural Stat Trick and Hockey Reference.

Top Line Stacks

Golden Knights vs. Wild

Jonathan Marchessault ($6,100) - William Karlsson ($5,000) - Reilly Smith ($4,300)

The long-time trio generated opportunities in Game 1 but failed to find the scoresheet. Karlsson, Marchessault and Smith racked up 11 shots, 17 attempts and three high-danger scoring chances overall and drove possession with a 60.0 Corsi for percentage at 5-on-5. They also all skate together with the man advantage, and their combined cap hit is manageable.

Lightning at Panthers

Ondrej Palat ($4,400) - Brayden Point ($6,500) - Nikita Kucherov ($7,800)

Tampa Bay’s No. 1 line was impressive in Sunday’s 5-4 win. The trio combined for 20 shot attempts, four high-danger scoring chances, four goals and an assist. Additionally, they drove possession with a 62.5 Corsi For percentage at 5-on-5. The salaries aren’t crippling, and with Palat skating on the No. 2 power-play unit, the line provides coverage to both man-advantage groups.

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Superstar to Build Around

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. New York Islanders ($7,600) - With a goal, five shots and eight attempts, No. 87 left his mark on Game 1. Crosby is locked into a go-to role and logged an incredible 25:19 of ice time (4:25 with the man advantage) Sunday against the Islanders. He also drove possession with a 57.5 Corsi For percentage at 5-on-5 and was on the ice for six high-danger scoring chances.

Value on Offense

Owen Tippett, Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning ($3,400) - This salary doesn’t align with Tippett’s late-season scoring uptick. The 2017 first-round selection’s recorded three tallies and five helpers through the past seven games, which aligns with his promotion to the second line playing with Jonathan Huberdeau ($6,500). The duo have shown instant chemistry with 10 goals and 22 high-danger scoring chances through just 89:25 of shared ice time this season.

Tomas Nosek, Vegas Golden Knights vs. Minnesota Wild ($2,500) - Promoted to the wing alongside Chandler Stephenson ($4,700) and Mark Stone ($6,600) midway through Game 1, Nosek is an obvious value if he sticks in the role. The line drove 5-on-5 possession with a 63.2 Corsi For percentage and attempted 12 shots through just 7:46 of ice time. Nosek also had his best offensive season this year and flashed upside with a particularly strong 20-game stretch in which he recorded seven goals, 10 assists and 40 shots.

Stud Goalies

Robin Lehner or Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights vs. Minnesota Wild ($8,400) - You’ll have to double-check who Vegas rolls out as its starter Thursday, as head coach Peter DeBoer usually doesn’t announce who will start in goal, and he’s been switching back and forth between his two goalies each game. Regardless, both are solid options Tuesday. Vegas surrendered the fewest goals per game in the league during the regular season and held Minnesota to the lone tally and just 47 shot attempts in Game 1.

Ilya Sorokin, New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins ($7,100) - With Sunday’s 39-save showing, the rookie netminder proved the moment was too big for him. Sorokin had a few rough games this season, but overall he finished with an impressive .918 save percentage, 2.17 GAA and allowed two goals or fewer in 15 of 22 appearances. Remember, too, the Islanders allowed the second fewest goals per game in the league this season.

Value on Defense

Nicolas Hague, Vegas Golden Knights vs. Minnesota Wild ($3,000) - The second-year defenseman checks out as a cross-category contributor capable of moving the fantasy needle most nights. He had five attempts (three shots) in Sunday’s loss and recorded a respectable three assists, nine shots and five blocks through the final four games of the regular season. Hague could also see some power-play looks Tuesday.

Adam Pelech, New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins ($2,500) - While the top-pairing blueliner doesn’t receive power-play looks, he was notable in Game 1 with six shot attempts (three shots) through a hefty 29:18 of ice time. Pelech is also a willing shot-blocker with 73 through 56 games this season, so with a contest-minimum salary, he’s a serviceable source of cap relief.

Power-Play Defenseman

Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers ($6,100) - Three power-play assists and a team-high 25:17 of ice time in Game 1 was a strong reminder of Hedman’s fantasy upside. He cooled off down the stretch, but playing pitch-and-catch with Nikita Kucherov ($7,800) with the man advantage is a huge value boost. Hedman also offers a respectable floor through his huge role, shot volume and willingness to block shots.

Shea Theodore, Vegas Golden Knights vs. Minnesota Wild ($5,800) - This is a discounted salary for Theodore. Sure, he’s gone six games without finding the scoresheet, but he registered five shots and a block in Game 1 to return 11.8 fantasy points. Additionally, he finished the regular season ranking fourth in points and first in shot attempts per 60 minutes among regular defensemen, so look for the offense to return in short order.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is naparker77) 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.

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