After a few nights of some great hockey, Friday night’s DraftKings slate is chock full of great matchups and pivotal games for both the Florida Panthers and the Anaheim Ducks, who kick off their playoffs tonight at home.
G: F. Andersen, Anaheim – $7,900
Andersen will try and secure a win for his team against a hot Nashville team that has been just as good as the Ducks since the New Year. This game should be a defensive struggle as Anaheim leads the NHL in goals against average.
D: A. Ekblad, Florida – $5,300
Ekblad and the Panthers are desperate to find a way to get to Greiss early and hold onto a lead to prevent the Islanders from stealing two games in Sunrise, Florida. In what may be their biggest game all year, I expect the Panthers to come out strong and make a statement.
D: D. DeKeyser, Detroit – $3,300
DeKeyser has played his best hockey when it has counted this season and needs to bring his best game again to try and stop the Lightning from taking a 2 game lead in the series. A shot blocking defenseman, DeKeyser also will jump in the play and can contribute offesnsively at times.
W: J. Jokinen, Florida – $5,600
I am turning to Florida’s second line tonight to get on the board and see time time on the power play. One of the top producing lines all year, look for Jokinen to bury one tonight at home.
W: A. Killorn, Tampa Bay – $5,500
Killorn has had the hot hand for the past few games and is coming off a goal and assist last game. I look for more of the same tonight as the Tampa Bay Lightning keep their foot on the gas pedal and take a 2 games lead back to Detroit.
W: N. Kucherov, Tampa Bay – $7,100
Maybe the hottest of all the players on the line, Kucherov was scorching last game, finishing with 2 goals and an assist. I am staying with the hot hand.
C: N. Bjugstad, Florida – $4,800
One of the best values of the night, Bjugstad is filling in for an injured Trocheck on this line and has fit in perfectly with Smith and Jokinen feeding them the puck whenever he can.
C: T. Johnson, Tampa Bay – $5,500
Johnson seems to come alive in the playoffs and this year is no exception, especially with the loss of Stamkos. Johnson has seen an uptick in playing time to make up for the loss of Stamkos. Look to Johnson to have a say in sending Detroit home trailing in the series 2 games to none.
Utility: R. Smith, Florida – $4,900
“Smitty” was the best player for Florida last game despite the loss on Wednesday. Tonight, Florida will clamp down in their own zone and look to play a more defensive game and wait to capitalize on mistakes by the Islanders. A big game at home tonight, look for this line to be a difference maker.