Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT vs. OTT ($8,800) – He stopped 33 of 35 shots in Game 1 and only lost because Bobby Ryan somehow beat everyone to the puck and went top shelf with a neat backhand. Even with Matt Murray healthy, the Pens will likely stick with Fleury until he loses the job, and up until this point he’s been one of the Pens’ MVPs. He’s done a great job of bouncing back from losses this season, and Fleury and the Pens must know that going back to Ottawa in a 2-0 hole is not very desirable. Fleury’s .928 save percentage trails only Pekka Rinne among the teams remaining in contention.
Evgeni Malkin, PIT vs. OTT ($8,500) – Malkin has two goals in his past three games. He has registered at least one shot in each game and has been an offensive force while teams focus on Sidney Crosby. Playing on a line with Phil Kessel, the pair managed seven shots on goal in Game 1, and with so many scoring opportunities, they’re bound to capitalize on a couple. Craig Anderson may have stolen Game 1, but he hasn’t been the sharpest in the playoffs.
Ryan Getzlaf, ANA vs. NAS ($7,700) – He didn’t register a point in Game 1 but was everywhere on the ice. The Predators buried the Ducks early in the game and never quite relinquished their dominance, though Getzlaf was often in the mix, creating plays and causing all sorts of physical mismatches all over the ice.
Jakob Silfverberg, ANA vs. NAS ($7,000) – With a goal in Game 1, Silfverberg now has 14 career playoff goals with the Ducks, tying him with Paul Kariya for fourth place. There was speculation that the Ducks would expose Silfverberg to the expansion draft in an attempt to retain their four young defensemen, but his postseason play has put an end to those ideas. He fired five shots in Game 1 and blocked another two shots.
Jake Guentzel, PIT vs. OTT ($6,300) – There’s no real explanation for Guentzel’s breakout playoff performance, other than the fact that he skates well, finds the soft spots and isn’t afraid to put the puck on net. He’s been extraordinarily efficient, and even though he’s had a few games where he’s failed to find the scoresheet, it’s not like he’s been invisible on the ice. As long as he gets the plum job of playing on Crosby’s wing, Guentzel remains a top fantasy playoff performer.
Nick Ritchie, ANA vs. NAS ($3,400) – He managed just one shot on goal in 17 minutes in Game 1, but his role and production should increase as the series progresses. The Predators defense is very good, but Peter Laviolette relies heavily on his top two pairs, which will often face either Getzlaf or Ryan Kesler’s line. That leaves Ritchie on the third line with some potential matchups Randy Carlyle can exploit, and at 6-foot-2 and 232 pounds, he’s very difficult to move from the front of the net. In what should be a tightly contested series, it’s the depth players that could make the difference. Ritchie has just two goals in 10 games, but provides pretty good value at this price.
Erik Karlsson, OTT at PIT ($7,300) – He played 30 minutes to lead all Sens defensemen and put in yet another gem performance with six shots and three blocked shots. Karlsson is excellence personified, and despite failing to register a point against the Pens in Game 1, remains the best defenseman in the playoffs. Karlsson said the hairline fracture in his foot won’t bother him, and his production certainly backs that up.
Roman Josi, NAS at ANA ($6,300) – Ryan Ellis has been very good all season, Mattias Ekholm was excellent in Game 1 and P.K. Subban assisted on James Neal’s game-winning goal, but the most productive defenseman so far has been Josi, who has two goals and two assists in his past five games. He played 31:12 to lead all Predators defensemen and was a vital cog in the team’s 46-shot effort. He’s drawn the tough assignment of going head-to-head against Getzlaf, but he showed considerable ability to pin the Ducks in their own zone. Game 2 will be just as difficult, which means Laviolette will be leaning heavily on Josi once again.