Fantasy hockey begins again for the poolies out there. Game 1 of the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals takes place tonight. We have some news and notes about the opening game of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The East Division tussle helps us lead off this segment called “Injury Bites”
Fantasy Hockey Injury Bites
Again, there are some lingering bumps, bites, and bruises.
A potential bigger concern for Pittsburgh is that Evgeni #Malkin is not working through the line rushes at practice today. He did skate before practice, but obviously is not 100%, and I think there has 2b some concern at this pt about his status going into gm 1 tomorrow afternoon
— PensInsider (@ThePensInsider) May 15, 2021
Evgeni Malkin is definitely not 100%. He did skate but list him as questionable for now. Also, Casey DeSmith was not seen either (Pittsburgh backup goalie).
Then there was Tampa Bay…
— Lightning Insider (@Erik_Erlendsson) May 15, 2021
Again, the good news is that Point did not look too worse for wear afterwards and no one in Tampa Bay seems too concerned about it. Proceed as follows as they say. Also, Steven Stamkos declared himself ready for Game 1. Tampa Bay appears ready to roll.
Also, there was some good news from Washington.
Vanecek will be in net, Kuznetsov & Samsonov will not be in tonight’s game. TJ Oshie will be a game time decision #allcaps
— HannaHill_Reports (@HannaHillhockey) May 15, 2021
It appears Oshie centered the third line in practice and may just be able to give it a go tonight against Boston. Again, this will be one to be patient on. Peter Laviolette keeps as mum about these things as he does in naming starting goalies in the playoffs.
The Carolina Hurricanes are awaiting a few players and their status as well.
Still no Slavin, Pesce or Paquette. Max Lajoie joins the group today.
— Cory Lavalette (@corylav) May 15, 2021
Again, the idea is to give 3-5 rapid hits on injuries and a little bit of commentary to help your pools out. This will not be easy as sometimes coaches and players alike are not very forthcoming this time of year. At times, we will have to play detective and that is just how it is.
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Some light Boston and Washington Fantasy Hockey Projections
The expectation is that the Boston top line will at least get a point on Saturday night in Washington. There are the three highest forwards projected for daily fantasy and playoff long pools alike. That is a rarity in the early rounds only because opening night usually has more than one game. It is intriguing that several projections seem to flip flop between a 3-2 Boston win and a 3-2 Washington win.
Even the shot counter looks to be pretty even. Most numbers are coming in right around 30 shots each for both teams on Saturday night. Vitek Vanecek is getting a slight nod in early predictions over Tuukka Rask. However, do not be surprised if Rask finds a way to steal Game 1.
The rationale is that Rask will be better than his .867 save percentage on the penalty kill during the season. Rask also holds a slight edge on Vanecek in high danger scoring chance save percentage (.818 to .783). Not surprisingly, John Carlson has the most fantasy potential among defensemen but as far as DFS value, it is Mathew Grzelcyk who has the greatest value.
Just a few final words…
Again, our goal is to mix in a podcast every so often during the week to highlight the best and worst in the fantasy hockey pools as these series get underway. Keep in mind, the North Division playoffs do not start until mid-week. So, there is some extra time to ponder a few decisions at least. This staggered playoffs will take some patience but the action will pick up in a dramatic way.
Good luck tonight!