This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Friday's NHL slate beginning at 7:00 PM Eastern time consists of Game 4 between the Lightning and Bruins, as well as Game 5 between the Sharks and Golden Knights. Based on their play thus far this postseason and prices, certain players stand out as the best values while others are best avoided. Read on to see which guys fall in which category.
Martin Jones, SJ at VGK ($28): Jones is by far the cheapest of the four starting goaltenders, coming in at $3 less than Tuukka Rask, $8 less than Andrei Vasilevskiy and $9 less than Marc-Andre Fleury. Considering he just posted his second shutout through eight playoff games in Game 4 and has already won in Vegas this series, Jones is a worthy gamble on the road given the disparity in pricing.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Andrei Vasilevskiy, TB at BOS ($36): Vasilevskiy has benefited from the excellent defense in front of him, facing just 72 shots through three games. Even with the limited opportunities, Boston has managed to sneak eight pucks by the young netminder. The Bruins will be desperate to avoid going down 3-1 at home, so they're likely to generate more chances here. Given his play down the stretch this season, Vasilevskiy may not be up to the task of stopping those chances.
Tomas Hertl, SJ at VGK ($17): Hertl is in the midst of an excellent postseason, having produced five goals and two assists in eight games. Those numbers include goals in each of his last two appearances, and the Czech forward's also riding a three-game point streak. Hertl continues to skate on the second line and top power-play unit, putting him in position to find further success.
CENTER TO AVOID
Steven Stamkos, TB at BOS ($27): Stamkos potted an empty-netter last game, but that was just his second goal of the playoffs and first since Game 3 of the conference quarterfinals. The star center was battling a lower-body injury heading into the postseason, and there's a good chance he's playing at well below 100 percent right now.
Rick Nash, BOS vs. TB ($18): Nash has caught plenty of flack for his previous postseason struggles, but he's in the midst of a nice little run with two goals and two assists over his past four games. The hulking forward's finishing ability is often lacking, but he's never had a problem putting rubber on net. Nash has generated multiple shots on goal in every game during these playoffs, averaging 3.5. For those who can't afford Boston's top guys, Nash is an appealing alternative.
Ondrej Palat, TB at BOS ($17): Part of what makes the Lightning so dangerous is the team's amazing scoring depth. Palat's a perfect example of that depth, and he's caught fire recently with three goals and an assist over the last two games. He's taken on more of a shoot-first mentality in this series, firing 11 shots in three games against Boston after managing only seven shots in five first-round clashes with New Jersey.
WINGS TO AVOID
Joe Pavelski, SJ at VGK ($23): Like Stamkos, Pavelski just scored what was only his second goal of the playoffs in his last game. He's yet to light the lamp on the road this postseason, which isn't surprising considering Pavelski managed just five goals and 21 points in 41 regular-season road games compared to 17 goals and 45 points in just as many contests at home.
Yanni Gourde, TB at BOS ($18): Gourde is surely exhausted from taking care of his newborn child – his wife gave birth Tuesday – but at least coach Jon Cooper hasn't asked him to put in much work on the ice lately, with Gourde averaging only 13:11 of ice time over the past two games. While Gourde does have a three-game point streak going, extending it will be difficult given his lack of minutes.
Ryan McDonagh, TB at BOS ($17): McDonagh won't blow you away with his production on
offense, but he's a steady two-way force on the blue line. Game 3 perfectly encapsulated McDonagh's all-around ability, as he contributed an assist, two shots, five blocks and a plus-2 rating in just under 24 minutes of ice time. Skating on a pairing with former Rangers teammate Anton Stralman has allowed McDonagh to spread his wings more than he was able to when paired with the slow-footed Dan Girardi, and his ability to shut down the opposition's top forwards while exploiting the weaker ones makes McDonagh a safe play in all situations.
Shea Theodore, VGK vs. SJ ($19): Theodore's looked like two completely different players this postseason depending on whether or not he's at home. In four games at T-Mobile Arena, Theodore has averaged 12.2 fantasy points while never dipping below 10.8; in four away contests, he's scored a combined 9.1 fantasy points. Luckily for him, Game 5 is in Vegas.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Torey Krug, BOS vs. TB ($22): Krug's game has been completely neutralized so far in this series, as he's yet to score 5.0 or more fantasy points in any contest. His inability to take bigger forwards off the puck has been a serious problem for the 5-foot-9 defenseman over his past five games, as he's averaging only 3.2 fantasy points and has a minus-4 rating during that span.
Nate Schmidt, VGK vs. SJ ($14): Schmidt's upside is too low to justify using him over alternatives like identically-priced teammate Colin Miller. Dating back to the regular season, Schmidt has exceeded 6.0 fantasy points just twice in his last 15 appearances and four times in the past 23.