The first round of the playoff pushes on tonight, as we see a repeat of the schedule we saw on Wednesday night. Montreal was the only home team to escape game #1 with a win (and they were certainly tested to the limit by the Senators), we we’re going to be seeing some desperate play tonight. Wednesday proved to be a rather high scoring night among these teams, but I’m expecting that all to change tonight and goals should be at a premium. Here are my top cash game options for this four game slate.
Eddie Lack – Vancouver Canucks – $8,000 – Picking a goalie tonight may be the toughest decision of them all, so with Eddie Lack being the cheapest of the eight starting options, he’s a very nice option. He may have taken a loss in game #1, but Lack turned away 28 of the 30 shots thrown his way and was solid enough to keep the “RYAN MILLER” chants from raining from the Rogers Arena crown. Lack owned a 10-7-2 record with a solid 2.26 GAA and .922 SV% on home ice during the regular season and posted a 2.24 GAA and .929 SV% over his last 18 starts. The Canucks know that they absolutely need a win tonight, so give Lack a look and spend that extra $$$ somewhere else.
Others to Consider: Carey Price, Braden Holtby
Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks – $6,400 – Toews was able to get a little bit of rest to close out the regular season and it showed on Game #1 as the Hawks Captain tallied a goal and two assists in Chicago’s 4-3 overtime victory. Toews has already has two Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals on his hockey resume, so being able to roster him at this price just sees too hard to pass up. Toews enters tonight’s game owning 30 goals and 54 assists in 95 career playoff games and that extra rest prior to the playoff opener will really come in handy after logging 28 minutes of ice-time on Wednesday.
Sam Bennett – Calgary Flames – $4,500 – It hasn’t taken long for the 4th overall pick to make an impact at the NHL level, as the 18 year old tallied an assist against Winnipeg in his only appearance during the regular season and also picked up an assist on the game winning goal on Wednesday night. A shoulder injury prevented Bennett from making the Flames team out of training camp, but he returned to the OHL in late February and promptly lit opposing goaltenders on fire; tallying 11 goals and 13 assists in just 11 games. The Vancouver Canucks have their hearts set on slowing the Gaudreau/Hudler/Monahan line at any cost and Coach Harley is well aware of his team’s need for secondary scoring, as the rookie logged 15 minutes of playing time and also saw action on the wing of Calgary’s second power-play unit. He’s a star in the making and the price-tag is appealing.
Others to Consider: Henrik Sedin, Craig Smith, Ryan Strome, Nicklas Backstrom, John Tavares
Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals – $9,400 – Washington came out flat in game #1, but this is now a do-or-die moment for their season and I have little doubt that we’re going to see a charged up version of Mr. Ovechkin tonight. Ovie not only led the NHL with 53 goals this season, but he also unleashed 91 more shots than any other player in the league. He lit the lamp 25 times on the power-play during the regular season and it’s only a matter of time until he gets one (or two) behind Halak and the Islander’s sub-par 26th ranked penalty kill. Ovechkin scored four goals and added an assist in their four regular season meetings and can pay off a large chunk of his big-ticket asking price just from shot volume alone.
Daniel Sedin – Vancouver Canucks – $8,500 – Sedin entered the playoffs on a tear, posting four goals and four assists in the four last games of the regular season. While he was held off the score-sheet in the opener, it wasn’t due to a lack of chances and the Swede was turned away on six occasions by Jonas Hiller. Sedin’s resume is loaded with playoff experience as the winger is the owner of 23 goals and 44 assists during his illustrious NHL career. Vancouver desperately needs a win to avoid heading to Alberta trailing this series 2-0, and getting their top scoring line going will be priority #1.
Milan Michalek – Ottawa Senators – $3,700 – The vicious slash by P.K. Subban looks like it’s going to knock Mark Stone out for the rest of this playoff series, and while that’s devastating news for the Senators, it does open the door for Michalek to hop onto the team’s #1 scoring line and grab some extended run with the man advantage. Michalek missed the last month of the regular season thanks to concussion symptoms but returned for game one and promptly opened the scoring. Michalek is only three years removed from a 35 goal season and the former first round pick looks like one of the best values plays on the board even considering a tough matchup.
Others to Consider: Patrick Kane, Radim Vrbata, Marian Hossa, Johnny Gaudreau, Filip Forsberg, Troy Brouwer
Alex Edler – Vancouver Canucks – $5,800 – Edler picked up an assist in Game #1 and now owns a five game scoring streak that has seen him amass one goal and eight assists. The Canucks blue-liner is a mortal lock to see 22+ minutes of ice-time in this game and has the luxury of quarterbacking Vancouver’s dangerous #1 power-play unit.
Mike Green – Washington Captials – $5,000 –With the Islanders struggling on the penalty kill all season and the Capitals owning the NHL’s best power-play , this is where this series will either be won or lost. Green racked up 17 points on the power-play during the regular season and see plenty of run on the point of the Capital’s #2 power-play unit. He can be rostered at a heavy discount compared his teammate John Carlson yet offers a very similar upside.
Others to Consider: Erik Karlsson, Duncan Keith, Roman Josi, Johnny Boycjuk, P.K. Subban, Jeff Petry, Dan Hamhuis, Kris Russell
Best of luck tonight!
JMBWngFn (@JBritt2 on Twitter)