This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
A lot of the pieces of the NHL playoffs are in place already. Want to keep the rest of the regular season exciting? DFS can be the answer! There are six games on the Thursday docket and here are some players to target, and to avoid, for your DFS lineup.
Tuukka Rask, BOS vs. NYR ($36): Rask has a 2.12 GAA and .919 save percentage, really picking things up after a slow start. Normally, you might be wary of a matchup with the Rangers, but don't be Thursday. For starters, they're on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back, Second, with the playoffs out of the picture New York has shut down Artemi Panarin, amongst others, so the team isn't as strong offensively as it would be otherwise.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Kevin Lankinen, CHI at CAR ($28): Remember when Lankinen was a feel-good story and a candidate for the Calder trophy? Well he currently has a 3.04 GAA and .908 save percentage. Honestly, I couldn't find a goalie anybody would usually consider that was somebody I would avoid Thursday. Given that, I thought I would just point out how far Lankinen has fallen in case you haven't been paying attention.
Brock Nelson, NYI vs. NJD ($17): Mathew Barzal is a little banged up, which means he may not play in this game. If that's the case, it'll mean more opportunity for Nelson, who is no slouch. He's tallied four points in his last four games, and also he has eight points on the power play. The Devils have the league's worst penalty kill, so the potential for added power-play time sans Barzal could bode well for Nelson.
CENTER TO AVOID
Mika Zibanejad, NYR at BOS ($31): Zibanejad actually hasn't had Panarin on his wing much this season, so the fact the Bread Man is shut down doesn't necessarily affect him. What does impact Zibanejad, though, is being on the second leg of a back-to-back. Also, the fact the Bruins have only allowed 27.5 shots on net per contest and have the league's top penalty kill.
William Nylander, TOR vs. MON ($23): After missing a chunk of time with injury, Nylander has returned to tally a point in seven of his last eight games. He's helped by the fact he's started 59.7 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, second highest on the Maple Leafs. The Canadiens are on the road for the second game of a back-to-back, while the Leafs are rested. With Carey Price out, Cayden Primeau will likely be in net for the Habs.
Kasperi Kapanen, PIT vs. BUF ($17): From a current Leaf to a former one, Kapanen has seven points in his last eight outings. He's also started a whopping 65.1 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, second only to his frequent center Evgeni Malkin. The Sabres have allowed a league-high 33.9 shots on net per game and have a 3.46 GAA, so this matchup is looking great for Sami's son.
WINGS TO AVOID
Patrick Kane, CHI at CAR ($31): I feel like I recommend avoiding Kane a lot, but I promise I have nothing against him. Kane is a great player! He also carries an incredibly high salary, and that has to be considered. That goes double on the road against a team like the Hurricanes. You have to remove James Reimer from the equation when considering Carolina goalies when everybody else is healthy, because Petr Mrazek (.934 save percentage) and Alex Nedeljkovic (.932 save percentage) have been way better.
J.T. Miller, VAN at EDM ($18): Miller has been quite power-play reliant this year, as 17 of his 36 points have come with the extra man. The Oilers are 11th in penalty-kill percentage, but being at home and having Mike Smith likely in net ramps things up another notch for them. Smith has stunned many – myself included – with his 2.25 GAA and .925 save percentage.
Dougie Hamilton, CAR vs. CHI ($28): If you are willing to pay his salary, Hamilton could definitely pay off big time in your lineup. He's been an absolutely beast this year with 42 points in 53 games, and he's tallied a whopping 173 shots on net as well. The Blackhawks have given up 33.2 shots on net per contest, second most in the NHL, and with Lankinen falling off down the stretch they now have a 3.32 GAA.
Tyson Barrie, EDM vs. VAN ($22): Barrie has tallied 12 points in his last 12 games, including eight on the power play. The man advantage is where Barrie makes his bones, as he's averaged 3:31 on the power play and notched 22 total points with the extra man. Vancouver's penalty kill is a middling 22nd, but since the team returned to action both Braden Holtby and Thatcher Demko have struggled in goal.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Adam Fox, NYR at BOS ($28): Fox may take home the Norris Trophy, but he's in a tough matchup here. As I mentioned, Rask has a 2.12 GAA and .919 save percentage. The Bruins also have the league's top penalty kill. A lot of Fox's offensive output has been with the extra man, as 23 of his 47 points have come on the power play. On top of that, the 23-year-old has slowed down on the power play a bit, with only three power-play points in his last 16 games.
Jeff Petry, MON at TOR ($19): Like the Rangers, the Canadiens are on the road for the second game of a back-to-back against a team that is rested. Also, it's an Original Six matchup. Fun! Jack Campbell has slipped a bit, but he still has a 2.12 GAA and .925 save percentage. Plus, his "down turn" means he's had a 2.56 ERA and .911 save percentage in 12 games since the beginning of April, far from terrible numbers.