Defensemen are hard to come by in the playoffs, even more so the deeper it gets. However, they can be valuable in getting categories like hits and blocks as well as adding points. Here are a few of the best options from the two games on tap for tonight.
Josh Manson was the hero in Game 1 for the Colorado Avalanche when he scored the overtime winner. It was his first goal of the playoffs and he also added an assist in that game. His point total is up to three in five games, which isn’t bad for a defenseman not known for putting up big numbers offensively.
The Avalanche can score, so he is more likely to get in on the action than a defenseman from other teams. Manson also brings physicality and the ability to block shots and make hits. He is an underrated player on Colorado’s blue line but is key. Look for him to bring it in all areas of the ice.
Justin Faulk was the St. Louis Blues’ leading scorer among defensemen with 16 goals and 47 points. His goal-scoring ability is something to watch for as goals generally account for the most fantasy points in playoffs. He can get hot at times and is someone to watch in both ends of the ice.
Faulk also hits, blocks shots, and fires the puck on net more often than not. The Blues’ offense has and will come from anywhere, so there’s not a high chance he will be missing out on all the action. He once again leads his team in points by a defenseman with five in seven games and has been contributing to the power play with two assists.
We haven’t seen a big pop-off by the Florida Panthers’ offense this postseason yet, but one is surely coming. Tampa Bay Lightning’s goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy may be feeling fatigued after two consecutive runs to the Stanley Cup and Round 1 wasn’t kind to him. He shut down the Panthers at home, but that doesn’t happen very often and the Panthers should bounce back with some offense of their own before they go on the road for two games.
Gustav Forsling had a very quiet season for the amount of offense he produced. Many of that came from being on the right side of the highest-scoring team in the NHL, but that’s the advantage you get. He scored 10 goals through the regular season and added 27 assists, all at even strength. Through seven games, Forsling has just two assists. Once the Panthers’ offense starts finding the back of the net as we know they can, he should be getting in on the action. Look for that to start tonight to even the series at 1-1.
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