This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
We've had a game postponed Tuesday, as the scary COVID-19 situation with the Canucks continues. Hopefully that doesn't put too much of a damper on the nine NHL games still taking place. There are some good matchups and some enticing opportunities for DFS plays. Here are my recommendations for players to target, and also players to avoid.
MacKenzie Blackwood, NJD vs. BUF ($25): Blackwood's last start went terribly, that I will admit. It was also against the Capitals, who rank second in the league in goals per game. The Sabres, meanwhile, are last in goals per game. Plus, even with that bad outing Blackwood has a 2.58 GAA and .923 save percentage over his last eight starts.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Semyon Varlamov, NYI vs. WAS ($33): Speaking of the Capitals, they have scored 3.42 goals per game in spite of their own COVID-19 issues earlier this season. Varlamov, a former Capital, has been excellent (2.26 GAA, .919 save percentage), but recently he's scuffled a bit. The Russian has a 3.11 GAA and .879 save percentage over his last six outings.
Dylan Larkin, DET vs. NAS ($17): Larkin has been active this season, putting 114 shots on goal in 36 games. Also, while he only has five power-play points, he's averaged 2:53 per contest with the extra man. The Predators have the league's worst penalty kill, so power-play time could equate to success in this instance.
CENTER TO AVOID
Mika Zibanejad, NYR vs. PIT ($29): Zibanejad's overall numbers look pretty good, though 12 of his 28 points have come in two games against the Flyers. Philly's in-state brethren are a tougher matchup. Tristan Jarry is banged up right now, but even if he can't play Casey DeSmith has a 2.13 GAA and .922 save percentage.
Craig Smith, BOS at PHI ($18): The Bruins and the Flyers are both on the second leg of a back-to-back, but I feel like that benefits the Bruins a bit more. After all, the Flyers have the second-highest GAA in the league. Smith has struggled in his first season with the Bruins, but recently he's gotten some time with the top line in Boston and that seems to be benefiting him. Over his last eight games Smith has seven points.
Rudolfs Balcers, SAN vs. ANA ($16): Balcers has moved up to the Sharks' second line, and he's started 54.8 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone. That's second most on the team. He also has five points and 18 shots on net in his last seven games. As for the Ducks, they have a 3.28 GAA and .893 save percentage as a team.
WINGS TO AVOID
Alex DeBrincat, CHI vs. DAL ($29): DeBrincat has already scored more goals (19) this season in 35 games than he scored (18) in 70 games last year. A rebound in his shooting percentage is a big reason why. Of course, the Stars aren't allowing many shots on net, only 26.7 per game. They also have a 2.43 GAA.
Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA at CAR ($24): You can't really argue with Huberdeau's numbers too much, though the fact he has only notched 85 shots on net in 39 games doesn't wow me. I also notice that he has tallied 18 of his 42 points on the power play, and the Hurricanes have a top-10 penalty kill. Carolina is also in the top 10 in GAA and shots allowed per game.
Miro Heiskanen, DAL at CHI ($7): Heiskanen has been getting active offensively, as he has 44 shots on net in his last 13 games. Now he's facing a Blackhawks team that has ceded 33.6 shots on net per contest, second most in the NHL. Chicago also has a bottom-five penalty kill, and the Finnish defenseman has played 2:52 per game with the extra man.
Ty Smith, NJD vs. BUF ($12): As a rookie defenseman, the Devils are already giving Smith a meaty role. He's averaged 19:41 in ice time and is now on the point for the top power-play unit. Yes, he only has two goals, but he has 17 assists, and he also has a great matchup here. The Sabres have a 3.41 GAA and had a 4.06 GAA in a disastrous March.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Kris Letang, PIT at NYR ($23): Igor Shesterkin has made five starts since returning from injury, and across that span he's managed a 2.14 GAA and .933 save percentage. The rookie goalie is a big reason why the Rangers have the fifth-ranked penalty kill. Eleven of Letang's 28 points have come on the power play, so this matchup may not suit him.
Seth Jones, CLM vs. TAM ($17): It's impressive that the Lightning have a 2.42 GAA despite having nothing to speak of in terms of backup goaltending. I guess the impressive one here is Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has to be a workhorse for Tampa and has proven to be up to the task. Vasilevskiy has a 1.96 GAA and .932 save percentage. If he's in net, you don't want any part of the opponent, and in this case that includes Jones.