This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
We have three games on Monday's docket. The Blues and Avalanche and the Hurricanes and Predators will start their respective series, while the Bruins and Capitals will fire up Game 2 after the Caps took Game 1 in overtime.
On DraftKings Sportsbook, the Avalanche (-265) are significant favorites, while the Bruins (-130) and the Hurricanes (-190) also have an edge. All the games are expected to be low-scoring affairs at 5.5 O/U.
All advanced statistics are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.
Philipp Grubauer, COL vs. STL ($8,400): The Blues really slumped toward the end of the regular season, posting 1.72 xGF/60 over eight games in May, ranking 27th in the league during that stretch. And now, they'll be without top scorer David Perron – who is in COVID-19 protocol. Grubauer's the chalk after posting a .922 save percentage this season.
Alex Nedeljkovic, CAR vs. NSH ($8,300): According to Natural Stat Trick, Nedeljkovic ranks second in the league this year with 10.45 goals saved above expected, so it'd be a shame if he watches the playoffs from the bench. It's still up in air, and Petr Mrazek ($8,300) has been excellent this year, too. The Predators simply don't have much firepower up front, and they've notched just 1.67 GF/60 at even strength over the last five games (29th).
Tuukka Rask, BOS at WAS ($8,100): Craig Anderson will start again if Vitek Vanecek (undisclosed) is unavailable. It was great that Anderson escaped with a win in Game 1, but he'll be tough to rely on moving forward. Rask is simply more reliable in this circumstance, especially with both offenses operating at high efficiencies.
Vincent Trocheck, CAR vs. NAS ($6,000): Trocheck has gone pointless in seven of the last nine games, and he's put up multiple points in the other two contests. The 27-year-old relies heavily on the man advantage, as he's recorded 18 of his 43 points on the power play. He'll look to be a force against Nashville's 75.4 penalty-kill percentage (29th).
Tom Wilson, WAS vs. BOS ($4,400): Put his history of antics aside and remember that Wilson is a very good hockey player that was perhaps the best player on the ice Game 1, registering two points and four shots on net. He's made for playoff hockey, and his salary is still quite low for daily fantasy purposes.
Ivan Barbashev, STL at COL ($2,700): Due to injuries, Barbashev is expected to skate on the second line with Tyler Bozak and Vladimir Tarasenko. The 2014 second-round pick has gritty offensive upside and a decent wrist shot, and he's an intriguing value option after posting a point in each of the last two games.
Avalanche vs. Blues
MacKinnon isn't at 100 percent, but he'll be back for Game 1, and it's unlikely you'll notice his injury as long as he's on the ice. Either way, there are serious question marks across the Bleus' roster and most noticeably on the blue line where Colton Parayko (upper body) and Vince Dunn (upper body) are hunting to some degree. Jordan Binnington could be a spoiler, but it's more likely that this line explodes.
Bruins at Capitals
Perhaps Craig Anderson was built for this moment and will be this year's Goalie of Destiny that leads the Capitals to their second Stanley Cup in four years. We've seen crazier. But really, he's a 39-year-old that posted a .903 save percentage or worse in the three seasons before the 2020-21 campaign. "The Perfection LIne" would likely be the chalk, but this crew has enough upside to make the low price tag worthwhile.
Cale Makar, COL vs. STL ($6,400): Without the injury, Makar would likely be among the Norris Trophy front runners. After all, he's put up 44 points – 22 with the man advantage – across 44 games this year, and he's been lethal against the Blues with 10 points through eight contests. He'll be a force again with the Blues ranking 25th at 77.8 percent.
Charlie McAvoy, BOS at WAS ($4,700): McAvoy kept up his hefty workload in Game 1, playing nearly 24 minutes and posting a power-play assist. He's a catalyst on both sides of the ice , and he quarterbacks PP2 with Hall, Smith and Krejci, making him the ideal stack with the aforementioned Bruins forwards.
Brett Pesce, CAR vs. NSH ($3,400):
Pesce has flown under the radar this year with 25 points through 55 games. He often logs time on the power play, too, meaning he'll get a shot at Nashville's putrid penalty kill. For the price range, he provides a solid floor form shooting and blocked shots as well.