NHL Thursday: Daily fantasy hockey picks for two-game playoff slate
There are two games on tap Thursday. Toronto hosts Florida trailing their best-of-seven series 1-0, while Dallas will try and even their series up at home versus Seattle. Below, you'll find suggested options for crafting an effective lineup.
Jake Oettinger, DAL vs. SEA ($34): Oettinger is the best goaltender left in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but he had a tough go of it Tuesday as he gave up five goals on 44 shots in an overtime loss to Seattle. Oettinger was outstanding in the regular season, going 37-11-11 with a 2.37 GAA and .919 save percentage. The Stars need a win Thursday to avoid going down two games with Games 3 and 4 in Seattle. Look for Oettinger to come up big Thursday.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Philipp Grubauer, SEA at DAL ($25): Grubauer has been great in the postseason, winning five games in eight outings, including four of his last five games. He did give up four goals on 35 shots in Tuesday's overtime win. Grubauer was just okay in the regular season, with a 17-14-4 mark to go with a 2.85 GAA and .895 save percentage. He is due for a less-than-stellar outing.
Sam Bennett, FLA at TOR ($18): Bennett has been the heart and soul of the Panthers in the playoffs, scoring four times and adding three assists in seven games. He has been feisty thus far with nine minor penalties and a misconduct, as he has sat in the sin bin at least once in every playoff game. Bennett had 16 goals and 24 assists in 63 regular-season contests, but he has shone in the postseason. He had a goal and an assist against the Maple Leafs in Tuesday's 4-2 win in Game 1.
CENTER TO AVOID
Anton Lundell, FLA at TOR ($18): Lundell has four assists in eight playoff games this season, picking up a pair of helpers in the each of the final two games of the Boston series. He has not found the scoresheet in six of the Panthers' postseason games, a good reason to avoid him at this time. Lundell has a bright future, but the 21-year-old center managed only 12 goals and 33 points in 73 regular-season games in 2022-23.
Mitchell Marner, TOR vs. FLA ($31): Marner is sixth in NHL playoff scoring with 11 points. He has two goals and nine assists, but has not had a point in either of his last two games. He finished the season with 99 points and had regular season success against the Panthers, scoring once and adding five assists in four games. Marner excelled on the power play with nine tallies and 36 points this season. He should snap out of his mini-slump Thursday.
Oliver Bjorkstrand, SEA at DAL ($18): Bjorkstrand was huge in Game 7 versus Colorado, scoring both goals – and hitting three posts – in a 2-1 win over the reigning Stanley Cup champions. He continued his excellent offensive play in Game 1 versus Dallas as he found the back of the net once in the 5-4 overtime win. Bjorkstrand had 20 goals and 45 points in 81 regular-season games with the Kraken this season.
WINGS TO AVOID
William Nylander, TOR vs. FLA ($26): Nylander finally looked good in the third period Tuesday — displaying his speed and offensive ability — but he has been in a prolonged slump, as he is pointless in his last three games and goalless in his last five contests. Nylander was hot in his first four games versus Tampa Bay in the opening round, scoring twice and adding five assists, but his play of late has left plenty to be desired. Nylander had career bests this season with 40 goals and 47 assists, but also slumped late in the season with five goals and eight points in his last 16 games.
Jordan Eberle, SEA at DAL ($17): Eberle had a productive game Tuesday with a goal and an assist, but overall the 32-year-old winger has only two goals and five points in Stanley Cup playoff games this season. He managed 20 goals and 63 points in the regular season, but there are better choices in DFS at cheaper prices than the former Islander.
Brandon Montour, FLA at TOR ($22): Montour has picked up from where he left off in the regular season and then some. He smashed his career bests in the regular season with 16 goals and 73 points – his previous career highs coming in 2021-22 with 11 goals and 37 points. He has continued his unbelievable play in the playoffs with six goals and nine points in eight contests, leading all NHL defensemen in finding the back of the net. Montour has four goals and an assist in his last three games and should be in everyone's DFS lineup Thursday.
Morgan Rielly, TOR vs. FLA ($21): Rielly is on a six-game point streak in the playoffs, scoring three times and adding six assists. He has regained his scoring touch in the postseason after a lackluster regular season, where he scored only four times while adding 37 assists in 65 games. Rielly has looked like a different defenseman in the playoffs and is worth adding to your DFS squad.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Adam Larsson, SEA at DAL ($14): Larsson has only two assists in eight Stanley Cup playoff games this season. He does not play on the power play and while his eight goals and 33 points in the regular season is okay, there are better choices on the blue line at this time.
T.J. Brodie, TOR vs. FLA ($13): Brodie has been a steady defenseman, but his lack of scoring is not going to help you Thursday. He has only two assists in seven playoff games, after scoring only twice with 12 assists in 58 regular-season games. Brodie does not see action on the power play, and that hurts his fantasy value as well.