Have you been jonesing for some hockey? Well, good news: The playoffs are about to begin. There are five games Wednesday to kick off the postseason. That also means daily fantasy hockey is back. Things get a little trickier in the playoffs, but here are some players to target in hopes of starting the postseason off on the right foot.
Tuukka Rask, BOS at OTT ($7,500): Rask only finished the regular season with a .915 save percentage, but he still had a 2.23 GAA. Thatís because the Bruins only allowed 26.8 shots on goal per contest. Rask played his part late in the season, though, finishing with a 0.74 GAA and a .971 save percentage over his final six games. The Senators, meanwhile, are the only playoff team that finished in the NHL's bottom 10 in goals per game (2.51).
Nick Foligno, CLM at PIT ($5,500): The Penguins allowed a whopping 32.6 shots on goal per game this season, tied for third-most in the NHL. Pittsburgh is also dealing with injuries, including to Kris Letang, so the defense isn't likely to get any better in the postseason. Foligno started 36.9 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, which was fourth on the Jackets, and he also averaged 2:41 per game on the power play. He tallied 21 points with the extra man, and while most of those came early in the season, a total like that is still quite noteworthy.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM vs. SAN ($4,700): Nugent-Hopkins ended the season playing well, tallying nine points in his final nine games. He also notched 200 shots on goal and 11 points with the extra man on the year. The Sharks' defense declined after the All-Star break, as they allowed 2.68 goals per game in the second half, which is high for a playoff team. Additionally, San Joseís penalty kill ranked a middling 18th.
Phil Kessel, PIT vs. CLM ($5,700): Kessel was a power-play dynamo and a workhorse this season, having tallied 30 points with the extra man in a full 82 games. He also notched 229 shots on goal while starting 40.6 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone. After the All-Star break, the Jackets had the 15th-ranked penalty kill, which isnít likely to concern Kessel too much. On top of that, Columbus allowed 31.8 shots on goal in March, raising its season-long average 30.4.
Alex Galchenyuk, MON vs. NYR ($5,000): Galchenyuk started a whopping 44.0 percent of this season's shifts in the offensive zone, one of the highest marks in the NHL. He also tallied 15 power-play points in 61 games. Meanwhile, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist slumped to the finish line, posting 3.46 GAA and .886 save percentage over his final six starts. The Rangers also ranked 26th on the penalty kill after the All-Star break, which bodes well for Galchenyuk.
Milan Lucic, EDM vs. SAN ($5,000): Lucic enters the playoffs firing on all cylinders. In his last five regular-season games, he tallied seven points (four on the power play) and 18 shots on net. He averaged 2:44 per game with the extra man this season, notching 25 power-play points in the process. After the All-Star break, the Sharks had the 22nd-ranked penalty kill, and Martin Jones posted a 3.54 GAA and .882 save percentage in his final eight regular-season games.
Oscar Klefbom, EDM vs. SAN ($5,300): Klefbom tallied 201 shots on goal this season, which is quite a lot for a defenseman, but it might be hard for him to get pucks on the net against the Sharks. That said, there
are still plenty of reasons to like Klefbom, who averaged 3.2 fantasy points per game. He averaged 2:31 per game on the power play, notching 16 points in the process, and racked up 146 blocked shots. The Sharks attempted 59.7 shots per 60 minutes this season, seventh in the NHL. That should give Klefbom a chance to get in front of a few pucks.
Andrei Markov, MON vs. NYR ($4,700): Markov showed he still has life left in his legs by tallying 36 points in 62 games this season. He started 32.5 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone and played 2:36 per game with the extra man, both of which helped Markov out offensively. The Russian veteran isn't the power-play dynamo he once was, but he's still involved (12 points this year), while the Rangers had the 26th-ranked penalty kill after the All-Star break. New York's defense also conceded 32.1 shots on net per game in the second half.