This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
The NHL playoffs continue Wednesday with four Game 1s after 3:00 p.m. EDT. Please note that the 11:00 a.m. EDT Bruins-Hurricanes holdover from Wednesday's schedule is not part of this slate. Below, you'll find an overview of the matchups and suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
Two of these matchups pin a great offense against a sturdy defense, as a Capitals team that ranked second with 3.42 goals per game this season takes on an Islanders team that allowed the ninth-fewest goals (2.79), while an Avalanche team that potted 3.37 (fourth-most) faces a Coyotes team that gave up 2.61 (third-fewest). The Capitals and Avalanche enter as clear favorites here, and the same can be said of the Blues against the Canucks and the Flyers against the Canadiens. All four favored teams finished among the top six in the league standings with no fewer than 89 points, while none of the underdogs racked up more than 80 points.
Braden Holtby ($7,800) is no stranger to postseason success, and he was locked in during the round robin phase with a 1.98 GAA and .925 save percentage. He's the unquestioned choice in Washington's net with Ilya Samsonov (undisclosed) sidelined for the playoffs, and a bottom-10 Islanders offense that scored only 2.78 goals per game isn't too threatening.
Carter Hart ($8,000) stopped 57 of 59 shots for the Flyers over two starts in the round robin stage, and Philadelphia's depth has made the Flyers the team to beat in the Eastern Conference since play restarted. The Canadiens ranked below average offensively despite averaging the second-most shots (34.1 per game) this season, so this is a great matchup on paper. Then again, it looked like a favorable matchup for the Flyers' intrastate rivals, and the Penguins now find themselves sitting at home.
If you're looking to go against the grain in net, Arizona's Darcy Kuemper ($7,000) could provide excellent value at an affordable price. The ice will likely be tilted against Arizona, but Kuemper has proven capable of stealing games all season. He had a 2.71 GAA and .933 save percentage in the four-game victory over Nashville, and Kuemper's lone clash with the Avalanche this season was a 33-save shutout.
Vladislav Namestnikov ($3,800) is the lucky winger who gets to join stars Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen on Colorado's top line. His combination of role and affordability make the versatile Russian a premier value option.
If you're a believer in riding the hot hand, then keep rolling out New York's Anthony Beauvillier ($3,700). After posting a respectable 18-21-39 line in the regular season, he led the Islanders with a 3-2-5 line in the four-game victory over the Panthers in the play-in round.
Vancouver's top line captures most of the headlines, but Canucks second-line center Bo Horvat offers nice bang for the buck at $5,800. He recorded a 2-2-4 line in the qualifying round after posting a 22-31-53 line in the regular season, including a team-high 12 power-play goals.
Clayton Keller ($4,100) is another enticing value option at his current price. The 2016 first-rounder came up one point shy of Nick Schmaltz's team lead with 44 in the regular season, then tied for the team lead in both goals (two) and points (four) in the qualifying round. The difference in production between Keller and teammate Taylor Hall isn't worth the $2,400 gap in their prices.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Flyers vs. Canadiens
This line won't overwhelm the opposition with superb skill, but all three members play a 200-foot game and have enough scoring ability to capitalize on the chances they create. Laughton led the Flyers in goals (three) and points (five) during the round robin stage, while Hayes dished our four helpers and Konecny added a pair. In the regular season, Konecny led the team in both goals (24) and points (61).
Blues vs. Canucks
This is probably the closest matchup on paper, but the Blues have an undeniable edge as the reigning Stanley Cup champions against a Canucks team whose core has limited playoff experience. Schenn and Schwartz were two of four Blues to finish between 57-61 points in 71 regular season games, and Schenn also tied for the team lead with 25 goals, with Schwartz three back. Tarasenko likely would have scored even more than his linemates, but a left shoulder injury limited him to just 10 games following five consecutive seasons with 33-plus goals. If he proves to be fully healthy, Tarasenko won't be available for just $5,800 much longer.
Capitals vs. Islanders
The Islanders' game plan is to muck up the game and turn it into an ugly, physical affair with limited chances. That strategy works well against many skilled players, but this line should be able to handle New York's approach better than most thanks to the size and physicality Ovechkin and Wilson bring to the table. Kuznetsov has turned into a premier playoff performer after some postseason struggles early in his career, with a 19-30-49 line in 47 games over the past four postseasons. Ovechkin potted 48 goals in 68 regular season games for his 11th campaign north of 45 goals, and Wilson set a career high in points with a 21-23-44 line despite the abbreviated campaign.
Shea Weber ($5,900) was a dominant force in Montreal's upset series win over Pittsburgh, and he'll have to deliver a repeat performance for the Canadiens to have a chance against Philadelphia. His 2-2-4 line paced the team in the qualifying round, and those who believe in the Canadiens should keep riding Weber despite the tough matchup.
Ivan Provorov ($5,400) is Philadelphia's best all-around defenseman, and he should assert his dominance on this game against an inferior Montreal team. Expect bushels of shots and blocks to go with decent offensive upside given his 13-23-36 line in the regular season.
St. Louis is the stingiest team against defensemen from a fantasy standpoint, but it's hard to ignore the six points Vancouver's Quinn Hughes ($5,200) posted in the last three games against Minnesota. Consider him a high-risk, high-reward option with plenty of scoring upside.
If John Carlson is out or limited due to his undisclosed injury, expect Dmitry Orlov ($4,400) to pick up a lot of the slack for the Capitals. Orlov doesn't possess anywhere near the game-changing offensive ability of Carlson, but he's a decent puck mover who can start plays in his own end and let Washington's skilled forward group do the rest.