This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
The Conference Finals have kicked off, and on Labor Day, we get the start of the series between the Lightning and the Islanders. Of course, for DFS purposes that means we're including Game 2 of the Golden Knights and the Stars. We know these teams well at this point, so let's get down to the picks...
Robin Lehner, VGK vs. DAL ($30): Lehner has the lowest salary of the four starters available, but the difference between him and any of the other goalies are negligible. He had a .920 save percentage in the regular season and has a 1.99 GAA in the playoffs. Sure, Vegas started Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 1, but even though he played well, I expect Lehner back in goal for Game 2.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Semyon Varlamov, NYI at TAM ($32): This presumes Varlamov gets the start over Thomas Greiss, which is not a given. That's enough to be concerned. Additionally, the Russian goalie allowed nine goals over his previous two starts. The Lightning scored the most goals per game in the regular season, so that's also a potential issue for Varlamov.
Joe Pavelski, DAL at VGK ($18): Pavelski took a significant step down from scoring 38 goals last season in San Jose, but he hasn't completely lost his touch. Over his last 11 games he has 10 points, including four with the extra man. The Golden Knights did have the 27th-ranked penalty kill this season, so the fact Pavelski has averaged 2:51 per game with the extra man in the playoffs could pay off.
CENTER TO AVOID
William Karlsson, VGK vs. DAL ($20): Karlsson wowed his first year in Vegas, notching 43 goals out of nowhere. This season he had a mere 15 goals in 63 games. The Swede also has only one point in his last seven contests. Anton Khudobin is coming off a shutout, and though he hasn't been as good in the playoffs he had a .930 save percentage this season.
Alexander Radulov, DAL at VGK ($19): Radulov started 61.9 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone this season, highest on the Stars. While he only had 10 power-play points this season, the Russian had 23 points with the extra man in each of his prior two campaigns. As I mentioned earlier, the Golden Knights had the 27th-ranked penalty kill.
Alex Tuch, VGK vs. DAL ($17): Due some lineup shifting, Tuch could be playing Game 2 with Paul Stastny as his center. Sure, Stastny didn't have a great year, but he's a step up from Nicolas Roy or Chandler Stephenson. Tuch has slowed down a bit recently, but he has eight goals in the playoffs. While Khudobin was excellent during the regular season, he does have a .914 save percentage in the playoffs, which is a step down.
WINGS TO AVOID
Ondrej Palat, TAM vs. NYI ($20): Palat got hot against the Bruins, but prior to that he had two points in eight playoff games. He's also not usually on this offensive level, as he had 17 goals and 41 points in the regular season. The Islanders had a 2.79 GAA this year, and Barry Trotz teams tend to clamp down when the stakes are high. Case in point, New York has a 1.94 GAA in the playoffs.
Anders Lee, NYI at TAM ($19): Lee does have seven goals in the playoffs, but those are his only postseason points. That's not a level of performance he's likely to continue, given that he only scored 20 goals this season. I'm not sure he can keep getting on the scoresheet against the Lightning to the same degree, as Vasilevskiy has a 1.91 GAA and .931 save percentage in the playoffs.
Miro Heiskanen, DAL at VGK ($18): Heiskanen didn't get a point in Game 1 of this series, but that ended an eight-game point streak. He still has 21 points in 17 playoff games, fantastic numbers for a defenseman. Vegas has suppressed shots quite well, but I still trust the Finnish defenseman given how prolific he's been.
Devon Toews, NYI at TAM ($16): Toews started 53.5 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, most among Islanders defensemen in the lineup during the playoffs. He also has three points in his last four games. The 26-year-old has also averaged 3:20 per contest with the extra man in the playoffs, which gives him a lot of upside at this price.
DEFENSE TO AVOID
Victor Hedman, TAM vs. NYI ($23): This isn't a knock on Hedman. It's more about his salary, which is quite steep. The Islanders have a 1.94 GAA in the playoffs and has only allowed 26.9 shots on net per contest. It will be a daunting task for the Swede to justify his salary, and so I'm a little skittish about buying in Monday.
Ryan Pulock, NYI at TAM ($18): Is two dollars of salary enough to separate a guy to target and a guy to avoid? Evidently yes. Also, Pulock started 43.4 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, and over his last nine games he only has two points. The margins are slim with only four teams left playing, and if I am going to put an Islanders defenseman in my lineup I'm going with Toews, not Pulock.