Welcome to the second round of the NHL playoffs! There are fewer teams, and every team has won a series. That means you aren't going to find great matchups at this point, as the Ottawa Senators aren't walking through that door. Nevertheless, here are the players I recommend you target and avoid for your lineup...
Jordan Binnington, STL vs. DAL ($33): Binnington wasn't quite as good in the first round as he was during the regular season, but he still had a 2.63 GAA. Plus, we're talking about a regular season where he had an 1.89 GAA and .927 save percentage. The Stars, on the other hand, only averaged 2.24 goals per game on the road.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Tuukka Rask, BOS vs. CLM ($28): You might see Rask at home and be encouraged, but he did have only a .912 save percentage this season. That's fine, but it's the lowest of all four starting goalies in action Wednesday. Columbus scored 3.00 goals per contest on the road, and bear in mind that they added guys like Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel at the deadline.
David Krejci, BOS vs. CLM ($19): Krejci has a point in each of his last five games, so we know that he's on his game. Plus, this season he notched 73 points. The Blue Jackets had a 2.82 GAA this year, which was 11th best in the NHL. That's good…but the other three teams playing Wednesday were in the top six.
CENTER TO AVOID
Ryan O'Reilly, STL vs. DAL ($26): O'Reilly had a fine campaign in his first year in St. Louis, but 22 of his 77 points came with the extra man. The Stars had the fifth-ranked penalty kill, and that doesn't bode well for the Blues pivot on the power play. Oh, also Ben Bishop had a 1.98 GAA and .934 save percentage this season, and somehow improved upon those numbers against the Predators in the first round (1.90 GAA, .945 save percentage).
Artemi Panarin, CLM at BOS ($23): Panarin has started 16 points in his last 12 contests, including a point in every game of the sweep over the Lightning. Of course, it helps that he started a staggering 77.2 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone. He's in the opponent's end of the ice almost as much as the opposing goalie! The matchup is only a minor consideration given how hot the Russian has been, given the relative paucity of options.
Danton Heinen, BOS vs. CLM ($15): The top thing Heinen has going for him is that he was recently moved up to Boston's top line. If that continues, that means he will be skating alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. That could prove quite beneficial to his fantasy numbers. You are going to have to spend some cash on high-priced quantities, so finding a potential cheaper option like Heinen is going to be necessary.
WINGS TO AVOID
Jaden Schwartz, STL vs. DAL ($18): You may be excited about Schwartz right now given that he had a hat trick in the clinching game of the first round, and he has four goals in his last two games. However, he had zero goals in the 13 contests before that, and he had 11 goals in the entire regular season. Some of that was bad puck luck, but he's not likely to suddenly start lighting the lamp like crazy, especially with Ben Bishop in the opposing goal.
Jake DeBrusk, BOS vs. CLM ($17): DeBrusk doesn't have the benefit of being on Boston's top line, or of being as cheap as Heinen. He also only has one goal in his last nine games, and he's not really a playmaker. The 22-year-old only had 15 assists in 68 games.
Zach Werenski, CLM at BOS ($18): Werenski had a point in every game of the first round, including three points with the extra man. That comes after he had 15 power-play points this season. The Bruins had the 16th-ranked penalty kill, which at this point of the year qualifies this as a favorable matchup.
Miro Heiskanen, DAL at STL ($14): Heiskanen didn't register a point after the first game of the series against Nashville, but he stayed active. Over the next five games he notched 10 shots on net and blocked 13 shots as well. Jordan Binnington did see his GAA fall to 2.63 in the first-round series against the Jets, and he is still something of an unproven commodity. That's enough to take a shot on the promising young Finnish defenseman.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Torey Krug, BOS vs. CLM ($21): The power play is the name of the game for Krug. A whopping 30 of his 53 points came with the extra man. That could be a problem here, though, as the Blue Jackets had the second-ranked penalty kill this year.
Alex Pietrangelo, STL vs. DAL ($20): Pietrangelo has been good recently, even if he does have zero goals in his last 15 games. However, there is still reason for skepticism here given the matchup. After all, Bishop did have a 1.98 GAA and .934 save percentage.