This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
The NHL playoffs are a month away! It's all one day at a time, though, so let's focus on Saturday. There are seven games starting at 7 p.m. ET or later. Let's get to the recommendations, so you can get your lineups in and get to watching hockey (or college basketball, I guess).
One team is on the second leg of a back-to-back Saturday, the Maple Leafs. Toronto is visiting Ottawa, and Mads Sogaard wouldn't keep me from selecting a Toronto player. On the other hand, Matt Murray being in net for the Leafs definitely has me higher on the Senators. In terms of teams on the first leg of a back-to-back, Tampa stands out to me, because I could easily see Brian Elliott in net Saturday, saving Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Devils on Sunday.
Ilya Sorokin, NYI at SAN ($8,200): Sorokin may be on the road, but I still see him as the safe play. His goaltending has been stellar, having posted a 2.40 GAA and .923 save percentage. The Sharks have averaged 2.87 goals and 29.9 shots on net per contest, and Timo Meier is not around any longer.
Karel Vejmelka, ARI vs. CHI ($7,900): The Coyotes are currently carrying three goalies, all relatively young and inexperienced. Trying to pin down who will be the starter is going to be tricky going forward, but this is the kind of matchup where it is worthwhile for the roll of the dice. The Blackhawks are last in goals per game and 31st in shots on net per contest. If Arizona steadily rotates its three goalies, it would be Vejmelka's turn.
Drake Batherson, OTT vs. TOR ($5,200): The Senators have swapped Batherson onto the top line, and if you were worried it might have messed with what was working, he has a point in each of his last two games. He also has 25 points with the extra man in 68 outings. The Maple Leafs have a penalty kill that is in the middle of the pack, but they are on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back. Also, Murray will be in net, and he's allowed four goals in all three of his starts since returning from injury.
Barrett Hayton, ARI vs. CHI ($4,400): Clayton Keller has been red hot, and that has rubbed off on Hayton. Or, perhaps, it is the other way around. Arizona's young first-line center has a six-game point streak that includes three multipoint outings. The Blackhawks have allowed 34.2 shots on net per contest, fourth most in the NHL. Alex Stalock admittedly has a .922 save percentage in 19 appearances, but the 35-year-old has a career .910 save percentage. I don't see this continuing, especially with so little talent in front of him.
FORWARD LINE STACKS
Kings vs. Canucks
The Canucks have a 3.78 GAA which is quite poor as you likely surmised. However, Vancouver also has the league's worst penalty kill. It has climbed a bit with the coaching change and the return of Thatcher Demko, but it still ranks last by a comfortable margin. All three members of the Kings' first line are on the current first power-play unit as well, making this an easy stack for me.
An elevated shooting percentage has helped Kopitar tally 26 goals, but he's been a playmaker as well with 37 assists in 69 games. The Slovenian helps in all elements of the game. He's a center with 16 power-play points, but also 76 blocked shots. Kempe finishes plays more than he sets them up. He only has 20 assists, but he has 32 goals on 208 shots on net. He also has 15 points with the extra man. Byfield is only 20, so it's not a concern that he hasn't lived up to being a second-overall pick just yet. He does have seven points in his last eight games, and his 5.6 shooting percentage on the season is quite low for a forward. Byfield may be inexperienced, but he's also been unlucky.
Islanders at Sharks
The Canucks have a high GAA and a woeful penalty kill. San Jose, meanwhile, has a 3.75 GAA – only a smidge lower than Vancouver's – with the seventh-ranked penalty kill. However, I remember a time not that long ago when the Sharks ranked second on the penalty kill. They haven't fallen off a cliff, but clearly the Sharks have dipped on that front. Even power-play specialists see the majority of their ice time at even strength, so there is still plenty to like about this matchup for New York's second line.
Nelson has his second 30-goal season in a row, and he's done it while putting 199 shots on net through 70 games. While the center has 11 assists with the extra man, it's notable for this matchup that only five of Nelson's goals have come on the power play. Palmieri has 25 points on the season, but in only 43 games. He's also coming off a four-point game, for what it's worth. Engvall was an afterthought on a stacked Toronto team, but he's joined the Islanders, been placed on the second line, and has three goals and an assist in four games.
Jacob Trouba, NYR vs. PIT ($6,000): I feel like I've been hearing more about Trouba recently than ever in his career for some reason. Well, he does have six points in his last seven games. He's also put 177 shots on net in 68 contests. The Penguins have allowed 33.5 shots on goal per game, and since returning from injury Tristan Jarry has a 3.91 GAA and .870 save percentage in 10 appearances.
Mikhail Sergachev, TAM vs. MON ($5,600): Sergachev's previous career high in points was 40. This year he has 44 assists, not to mention seven goals. The Canadiens have a 3.70 GAA, not to mention the 30th-ranked penalty kill. That's good for the Russian defenseman, as 22 of his points have come with the extra man.