This article is part of our FanDuel NHL series.
If the weekend was any indication, it looks like we're going to have very close games throughout the opening round of the playoffs. The Bruins will need a much better performance from their second line if they want to even up the series against the Capitals (7:30 p.m. EDT). The Blues and Avalanche (10 p.m.) and Predators and Hurricanes (8 p.m.) will drop the puck for their Game 1's; the home side is heavily favored in both series.
Philipp Grubauer, COL vs. STL ($8,500): The Blues enter the playoffs with some momentum with three straight wins and the series is expected to be closer than the standings would suggest. However, Grubauer was excellent in three games against the Blues during the season with a .938 Sv% and 1.68 GAA and the Avs will have Nathan MacKinnon back in the lineup.
Petr Mrazek, CAR vs. NSH ($8,300): Mrazek heads into the playoffs a little shaky, having allowed five goals on 27 shots in his final start of the season. He played just 12 games due to injuries and he's Carolina's biggest question mark, but they've also generally done a good job of limiting shots on goal. The Canes allowed 30 shots or fewer in five of their eight meetings this season.
Tuukka Rask, BOS at WSH ($7,700): The Bruins lost consecutive games just seven times during the season – a testament to their ability to bounce back – and they're coming off an abnormally abysmal performance in terms of puck possession. The overtime winner in Game 1 was a goal Rask would like to have back, but otherwise he put in a fine performance in a tight game. Craig Anderson's playoff numbers are excellent, but he's still very much untested this season.
Warren Foegele, CAR vs. NSH ($3,400): Foegele is slated to skate on the second line and while his ceiling isn't particularly high, he definitely isn't afraid of shooting the puck, either. His 15 shots ranked fifth among Canes forwards against the Preds this season.
Jordan Kyrou, STL at COL ($3,700): Kyrou scored two goals in the season finale and definitely picked up his play late in the season. Hopefully, the Avs' top-heavy forward lineup will help Kyrou's line draw some easier matchups, and linemate Mike Hoffman had quite a bit of success against the Avs during the season, scoring four goals in seven games.
Daniel Sprong, WSH vs. BOS ($4,300): Sprong played sparingly in Game 1 but is slated to skate with T.J. Oshie and Tom Wilson again. They were very good in Game 1 and exploited the Bruins' weaker third line and third pairing, and Sprong ended the night assisting on Wilson's goal and finished with two shots in just nine minutes of play.
Hurricanes vs. Predators
The Canes are spreading out the talent on the top three lines, and they have a distinct advantage in depth against the Preds. Both Aho's line with Teuvo Teravainen and Vincent Trocheck's line with Martin Necas are worth considering, but Staal's line offers up the best value because they're the only line with two players featured on PP1 while Fast will play on PP2.
Avalanche vs. Blues
Burakovsky carries an eight-game point streak into the playoffs and the normally trigger-shy Donskoi has a goal in two straight games on 12 shots. Kadri's performance could be better, but this line has to come up big for the Avs to win; look for MacKinnon's line to go head-to-head against Selke winner Ryan O'Reilly, which make more scoring more difficult.
Dougie Hamilton, CAR vs. NSH ($6,600): The shot-generating machine continues to hum, and a reminder that Hamilton's performed quite well in the playoffs in his career with 20 points in 43 games. The Preds don't play an overly physical style that will punish the other team's defense, so Hamilton shouldn't have to worry too much about the game getting too physical.
Devon Toews, COL vs. STL ($5,200): Toews tied Cale Makar with two even-strength points against the Blues during the season, and he's a good option for managers who don't want to splurge on Makar. Toews doesn't have the same kind of offensive upside, but he still plays a ton of minutes, and whatever scoring opportunities he misses out on the power play, he can make up for it by picking up some fantasy points through blocked shots on the penalty kill.
Colton Parayko, STL at COL ($3,700): Parayko practised Sunday and is expected to dress for Game 1. His usage has dipped a little this season but he is still one of the Blues' top three defensemen, making him a good value play at this salary. Expect him to play at least 20 minutes in nearly all situations, and he's still very good at getting shots through, averaging nearly two shots per game. Remember he led all Blues defensemen with two goals last postseason.