| Thu 26/04/2018 - 18:30 EDT

2018 Stanley Cup Second Round Fantasy Picks

2018 Stanley Cup Second Round Fantasy Picks

NHL Second Round Playoff Fantasy Picks 2018

Eastern Conference

C – Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins

Connor McDavid receives plenty of attention for his regular season exploits, but when the post season begins, everybody starts to refer to Sidney Crosby as the best hockey player in the world. He’s been the most productive forward in the playoffs during the first round, torching the Flyers with 13 points in six games. Sid’s so dominant that Jake Guentzel finished the first round with 13 points too. Expect Crosby to have another great series against Washington. 

LW – Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins

Pastrnak stole the show with five goals and 13 points during the Boston Bruins first round victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, but Brad Marchand remains the straw which stirs the drink for the Bruins attack. Tampa’s defense isn’t the best in the playoffs, with the Lightning focusing more on bludgeoning their opposition with tons of goals. Expect Brad to lead point production for Boston in the second round, feasting on Tampa miscues during a competitive seven game series.

RW – Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning

Kucherov lead the Art Ross race for much of the regular season, before Connor McDavid went nuts after the all-star break. Kucherov needed only five games to score the fourth-most points in the first round of the playoffs, netting five goals and five helpers. Nikita slowed a bit after the all-star break, but resumed a high level of production when J.T. Miller joined his line after the trade deadline. He’s likely to lead Tampa in scoring throughout the playoffs.

D – John Carlson – Washington Capitals

One of the more underrated offensive defenseman in the NHL, John Carlson lead the Caps blueline in scoring during the regular season. He also set the scoring pace for all defenseman during Washington’s impressive comeback series win over Columbus, earning a goal and eight assists in six games. The Capitals enter another post season meeting against the Penguins with superb momentum, giving Carlson a good shot at another productive series.

D – Kris Letang – Pittsburgh Penguins

Most of the attention for the Penguins has focused on Crosby’s and Guentzel’s fine first round, along with the strong performance of Matt Murray. Kris Letang also put up great numbers, scoring a goal and six assists during the Pens dismissal of the Flyers. There’s a good chance that Letang will finish the 2018 NHL playoffs as the top defensive scorer.

G – Matt Murray – Pittsburgh Penguins

Matt Murray’s overcome a difficult regular season to continue his outstanding playoff goaltending, shutting out the Philadelphia Flyers twice during games one and four. Murray nearly notched a third shutout in game three on the road. His playoff stats have been incredible over the past couple of seasons, earning a 1.99 GAA and a .926 SV% along with a 26-11 record in 37 starts. Considering Washington’s playoff history, Murray’s a relatively safe fantasy pick. 

Eastern Conference Sleepers

C - Evgeni Kuznetsov – Washington Capitals

Kuznetsov’s one of the most underrated centers in the NHL, overshadowed by Alex Ovechkin and the success of Nicklas Backstrom. He scored four goals and four assists during the Capitals six game series victory over the Blue Jackets, and he’ll be expected to continue this level of production in the second round.

D – Torey Krug – Boston Bruins

Despite Krug’s relatively small stature, this Bruins blueliner has been key to Boston’s power play production. Torey posted a -4 rating, but he scored two goals and nine points in seven games against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s tied with Carlson for top scoring defender after the first round.

G – Andrei Vasilevskiy – Tampa Bay Lightning

Vasilevskiy’s playoff stats have been surprisingly strong during his short career: an 8-6 record in 12 starts and 17 appearances, along with a .927 SV% and a 2.55 GAA. Andrei kicked aside more shots than any other goalie remaining in the post season, resulting in a .941 SV% in five games against the Devils. Boston’s a strong offensive team, but Vasilevskiy should remain steady against the Bruins.

Western Conference

C – Mark Scheifele – Winnipeg Jets

Mark’s second trip to the playoffs have proceeded well compared to his first attempt at the post season. Scheifele scored four goals and chipped in an assist during the Jets five game rout of the Minnesota Wild. He’s been a point-per-game player during the last couple of regular seasons, resuming this lofty pace during the Winnipeg Jets first playoff victory as the ex-Thrashers. Nashville will test his abilities, but the Jets deep scoring will allow Mark to find space during what should be a long series.

RW – Patrik Laine – Winnipeg Jets

Laine might have scored the most important goal of the Jets-Wild playoff series, mercilessly sniping a top shelf strike to knot game one against the Wild during a nervous opener. He notched his first playoff goal during his first post season appearance, finishing the series with a pair of goals and four points. The Jets scoring depth will allow Laine to sneak free from the Predators defense on occasion, giving Patrik an opportunity to fill the score sheet.

LW – Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators

The Colorado Avalanche tried their best to contain Filip Forsberg, matching their top defensive lines against Nashville’s scoring machine. Filip responded by scoring a pair of magical, one-man-rush goals, finishing the six game series with four goals and six points. Austin Watson and Colton Sissons earned more points in the first round, but Forsberg showed that he’s unstoppable. Expect Filip to give the Jets defense fits in the second round.

D – Dustin Byfuglien – Winnipeg Jets

Dustin’s consistent blueline play ensured that Winnipeg didn’t have to play any more games than necessary to escape the initial round of the NHL playoffs. Byfuglien contributed bone shaking hits and solid defensive play, but he also produced five assists in five matches against Minnesota. In a series which features the top two regular season clubs, Dustin’s production will be key for the Jets surviving a war against the Predators.

D – P.K. Subban – Nashville Predators

P.K. was relatively quiet during the Predators victory over the Colorado Avalanche, collecting three assists in six games. Subban could also receive the blame for extending the series to six games because of a game five miscue which handed the Avs a late victory. After an outstanding regular season of 16 goals and 59 points in 82 games, it’s unlikely that P.K. will remain goalless over two rounds of the playoffs.

G – Marc-Andre Fleury – Vegas Golden Knights

The strength of the Golden Knights defense surprised the NHL when Vegas swept the Los Angeles Kings out of existence. Fleury was outstanding, earning two shutouts in four games, along with a 0.65 GAA and a .977 SV%. Those stats are unsustainable, even for a Stanley Cup winner like Marc-Andre, but the Golden Knights defense looks like a genuine threat in the west. Expect another magical round from Vegas, including a solid performance from Fleury.

Western Conference Sleepers

C – Jonathan Marchessault - Vegas Golden Knights

An absolute steal from the expansion draft, Marchessault earned 75 points in 77 regular season games, notching only two assists in the second round. San Jose doesn’t have the same defensive strength of the Kings, which makes a breakout performance from Marchessault a solid fantasy bet.

D – Roman Josi – Nashville Predators

Similar to Subban, Josi didn’t do much in the first round, earning a pair of assists in six games. Roman’s one of the best blueliners in the league, earning 14 goals and 53 points in 75 regular season games. Josi had 14 points in 22 playoff appearances last year, making him a solid pick to improve his numbers in the second round.

G – Connor Hellebuyck – Winnipeg Jets

Most will consider Pekka Rinne as the superior goaltender in the Jets-Predators matchup, but Connor Hellebuyck also received a nomination for the Vezina Trophy during the 2017-18 season. Nashville’s a tough matchup, but Connor and Jets have what it takes to stifle the Predators well-balanced attack.

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