This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Monday is sort of a holiday, which means the NHL schedule is weird. There are seven games Monday, and six of them start in the afternoon. In fact, the first four games all start at 1:00 PM ET. That means you need to get your fantasy lineups in early. Here are some players to target and avoid...
Jaroslav Halak, BOS vs. ANA ($28): Halak is getting the start Monday, which should turn out just fine. Though he is the ostensible backup to Tuukka Rask, the 34-year-old had a 2.34 GAA and .922 save percentage last season. Anaheim ranked last in goals per game last year, and it's scored 2.20 goals per contest this year.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Philipp Grubauer, COL at WAS ($35): Grubauer is off to a hot start, but this could be a tricky matchup. After all, the Capitals scored 3.34 goals per game last year, and they still have guys like Alex Ovechkin around. Meanwhile, last season the Avalanche had a 3.15 GAA on the road and allowed 33.6 shots on net per contest in away games.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM at CHI ($20): After a slow start to the season, Nugent-Hopkins has three points in his last two games. More important to me, RNH has averaged 4:16 per game with the extra man, and he had 26 power-play points last season. The Blackhawks ranked last on the penalty kill last year, so that could bode well for the Nuge.
CENTER TO AVOID
Ryan O'Reilly, STL at NYI ($25): O'Reilly has seven points through five games, but six of those are assists. He also jog has only put nine shots on goal in those contests. Last year the Islanders had a 2.39 GAA, lowest in the NHL, and the team should be able to get close to that again as Barry Trotz and Thomas Greiss are still around.
Andrew Shaw, CHI vs. EDM ($18): Shaw has two goals on 11 shots through three games this year, and he's getting a little bit of power-play time. Plus, he's skating on Chicago's second line with Dylan Strome and Patrick Kane, which can't hurt. The Oilers have gotten off to a good start defensively, but to believe in them is to believe in Mike Smith, who had an .898 save percentage last year. Needless to say, I'm not buying it.
Jason Zucker, MIN at OTT ($16): The Wild have really struggled to start the year, but at least Zucker has managed to score two goals. He's had at least 21 goals in each of his last three seasons and he had 33 two seasons ago. This is mostly about the matchup, though. The Senators had a 4.29 GAA last year, worst in the NHL, and they have a 4.25 GAA to start this season.
WINGS TO AVOID
Jeff Skinner, BUF vs. DAL ($21): This is about the matchup. This year, the Stars have only allowed 28.2 shots per game. Last season, they had a 2.63 GAA in away games, and also the fifth-ranked penalty kill. Skinner normally puts a ton of shots on net, but the Stars may be able to temper his numbers, which hurts his fantasy potential.
Rickard Rakell, ANA at BOS ($18): I mentioned earlier than Tuukka Rask has a 1.33 GAA to start the year. Last season, the Bruins had a 2.59 GAA and only gave up 29.5 shots on net per contest. Rakell has two points to start this campaign through five games, and there's not a lot of talent around him on the Anaheim offense.
Oscar Klefbom, EDM at CHI ($20): Klefbom is off to a hot start to the season, as he has seven points through five games. Four of those points have come with the extra man, and getting to play alongside Connor McDavid on the power play definitely helps. You know what also helps? Facing a Blackhawks team that had the worst penalty kill in the NHL last year.
Miro Heiskanen, DAL at BUF ($17): Heiskanen gained attention by notching 33 points as a 19-year-old defenseman last year. This season, his minutes are up, naturally, and he has three points through six games. The Sabres have a 2.60 GAA this year, but they've allowed 32.6 shots on net per contest. Also, in the bigger sample size of last season, they had a 3.27 GAA.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Alex Pietrangelo, STL at NYI ($22): Pietrangelo is off to a fine start to the season, but last year his offense dropped a bit. That was especially true when it came to putting pucks on net, as he had 168 shots on goal. As previously noted, the Islanders had a league-best 2.39 team GAA last season.
Nick Leddy, NYI vs. STL ($14): Let's flip it around for this one. After all, we haven't forgotten that Jordan Binnington had an 1.89 GAA and .927 save percentage last year. The Blues also had the ninth-ranked penalty kill, which will also hurt Leddy's fantasy potential.