With two teams facing elimination last night, only the Winnipeg Jets saw their season come to an end. Tonight, we have four more games on the schedule, with three of them involving teams needing a victory to survive for another day. Here are my top cash game options for tonight’s slate.
Petr Mrazek – Detroit Red Wings – Mrazek was brilliant on Tuesday night, turning away all 22 shots the Lightning through his direction as the Wings took a 2-1 series lead. The 23 year-old netminder posted a 2.15 GAA and .922 SV% in 10 starts at Joe Louis arena during the regular season and has firmly grabbed hold of the starters gig from Jimmy Howard (who was named to the All-Star game this season). Mrazek led the Grand Rapids Griffins to the Calder Trophy (AKA: the AHL’s Stanley Cup) during the 2012-13 season, playing in all 25 playoff games that season and posting a rock solid 2.31 GAA and .916 SV%. Detroit has a chance to really grab a stranglehold on this series and Mrazek has proved to be a confident and capable netminder.
Others to Consider: Scott Darling, Braden Holtby
Nicklas Backstrom – Washington Capitals – $8,500 – Since the disappointing Game #1 loss in this series, Backstrom has been an absolute beast; scoring goals in each of the last three games while also dishing out three assists in the process. Backstrom tallied 11 goals and 30 assists in 41 home games during the regular season and Washington should be able to utilize the last line change to get the Ovechkin/Backstrom line into favorable matchups. Backstrom also had success against this Islanders team in the regular season, picking up a goal and five assists in their four meetings. The Islanders owned the league’s 26th ranked penalty kill (78.0%) during the regular season and Backstrom’s was tied for the 3rd highest total in the NHL this season.
Pavel Datsyuk – Detroit Red Wings – $7,600 – The Magician has lived up to his nickname thus far in this series, scoring the game-winning goal in Game #3 after posting a goal and an assists in the opener. Datsyuk entered the playoffs on a bit of a heater as the center posted 11 goals and 19 assists in 27 games after the all-star break. He’s joined by Darren Helm and Tomas Tatar at even strength and that threesome created a combination of speed and skill that is causing John Cooper some restless nights. The veteran owns 41 goals and 70 assists in the playoffs during his illustrious career and is proving to still have plenty left in the tank.
Others to Consider: Jonathon Toews, Henrik Sedin, Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, Steven Stamkos, Henrik Zetterberg
Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals – $9,400 – Even at $9,400, I’m having a very hard time fading Ovie during this series. He busted out for a goal and an assists and 8 shots on goal in Game #4 and is one of the NHL’s most dangerous offensive weapons on the power-play which should bode well for him against this Islanders team that struggled with their penalty kill throughout the regular season.
Daniel Sedin – Vancouver Canucks – $7,500 – With the Canucks backed against the wall, the Sedin Brothers must show up tonight, or this team is will be on the golf course this weekend. While he may only have a pair of points thus far in this series, he entered the post-season with 6 goals and 12 assists over his last 14 regular season games. He has a long track record of post-season success and soaks up nearly all of the playing time on the Vancouver power-play.
Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators – $5,900 – The scene of this series shifts back to the Music City, and that’s a huge boost to the fantasy value of Nashville’s young star. With Nashville getting the last line change in this one, Forsberg should be able to avoid being shadowed by the Toews/Hossa line all night long. He tallied a goal and an assist in the last game at Nationwide Arena and the Predators desperately need the rookie to produce offensively. He’s likely taking home the Calder Trophy this season regardless, but some playoff magic could just seal the deal.
Others to Consider: Ryan Callahan, Justin Abdelkader, Kyle Okposo, Troy Brouwer, Jiri Hudler, Radim Vrbata
Kris Russell – Calgary Flames – $6,400 – Russell has already picked up two goals and two assists in the series and has really taken advantage of his added responsibilities since the Mark Giordano injury. Russell has taken the reigns of the point spot on the Flames #1 power-play unit and the Canucks own a dreadful 63.6% penalty kill during the playoffs. Russell has already picked up three points with the man advantage and finished the regular season with 3 goals and 11 assists over the last 18 games.
Seth Jones – Nashville Predators – $3,600 – The Shea Weber injury is devastating for the Predators, but luckily for them, they happen to have one of the deepest blue-lines in the NHL. Seth Jones was eased slowly into his role with this team, but the training wheels have certainly been removed now. The 20 year-old logged 43:40 of playing time in Game #4 (3 OT’s) and has already picked up a pair of power-play assists during this series. He’s a mortal lock for 20+ minutes of ice-time and looks to be one of the best values on the blue-line this evening.
Others to Consider: Anton Stralman, John Carlson, Duncan Keith, Roman Josi, Nicklas Kronwall, Alex Edler
Best of luck tonight!