This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Hockey series.
Friday's two-game NHL slate begins at 7:00 PM Eastern time and features Game 4 of Islanders-Hurricanes and Game 5 between the Stars and Blues. Read on to see which players stand out as options to to target or avoid when Carolina goes for the sweep and the Western Conference foes battle for a 3-2 series lead.
Curtis McElhinney, CAR vs. NYI ($26): McElhinney will get the nod in this one with Petr Mrazek still sidelined by a groin injury, and he should be a popular pick considering Carolina holds an 8-3 scoring edge in this series. While the Islanders were able to exploit Pittsburgh's plentiful defensive mistakes in the first round, Carolina's deep blue line corps has made life easy for the team's netminders, and that's unlikely to change in Game 4.
GOALIE TO AVOID
Jordan Binnington, STL vs. DAL ($32): Binnington has looked much more pedestrian in the postseason after an incredible rookie regular season, as his save percentage has dropped from .927 during the campaign to .906 in the playoffs. He's also allowed at least three goals in each of the last three games after holding Dallas to two in the series opener, making this a tough time to trust the young netminder.
Jason Spezza, DAL at STL ($12): Spezza doesn't get much ice time, but the veteran pivot is deployed almost exclusively in offensive-minded situations, such as on the power play. With power-play points in each of the past two games and three points overall in the last four games – including two goals – Spezza is a nice value play at just $12.
CENTER TO AVOID
Ryan O'Reilly, STL vs. DAL ($25): It's tempting to turn to O'Reilly after his two-assist effort in Game 4, but he's unlikely to match that effort here. That was his first multi-point outing this postseason, and O'Reilly's minus-5 rating over these 10 playoff games also leaves a lot to be desired.
Mats Zuccarello, DAL at STL ($18): Zuccarello continues to shine for the Stars, as his two helpers in Game 4 have him on a point-per-game pace through 12 appearances with the club. The diminutive forward's fantasy-friendly deployment on the top power-play unit and second line allows him to benefit from skating alongside Dallas' best players with the man advantage while capitalizing on more favorable matchups at even strength.
Robert Thomas, STL vs. DAL ($13): The 19-year-old Thomas may have been a bit overwhelmed early in the postseason with just one point in his first eight playoff games, but he's settled in nicely with a two-game point streak since. Available at just $13 after posting 33 points over 70 games in the regular season, Thomas could provide nice bang for the buck for owners looking to spend big elsewhere.
WINGS TO AVOID
Brayden Schenn, STL vs. DAL ($17): Schenn has been a non-factor in this series, totaling five shots and a minus-2 rating while going dry in the point department since an assist in Game 1. There are plenty of Blues wingers to choose from who aren't struggling nearly this much.
Andrei Svechnikov, CAR vs. NYI ($16): Svechnikov skated just 12:13 in his return from a concussion in Game 3, totaling a mere 1.8 fantasy points. There's a good chance the talented Russian's operating at much less than 100 percent right now, and his ice time will likely remain limited.
Jaccob Slavin, CAR vs. NYI ($18): Slavin has been an assist machine this postseason, racking up 12 helpers in 10 games to go with an impressive plus-8 rating. His strong defensive play gives Slavin a high floor against the offensively inept Islanders, while his newfound offensive touch has the three-time 30-point scorer's ceiling as high as it's ever been.
Devon Toews, NYI at CAR ($13): Sticking with this slate's theme of affordability, Toews stands out from his Islanders teammates as a cheap play with upside. The young defenseman has picked up four points in his last eight games, including a power-play goal in Wednesday's Game 3. His usage with the extra man gives Toews offensive upside that's usually not found among blueliners in this price range.
DEFENSEMEN TO AVOID
Dougie Hamilton, CAR vs. NYI ($20): Hamilton hasn't been bad in this series, but there's a good argument to be made that he's been just the fourth-best blueliner on his team. Despite posting just one helper through three games against the Islanders, Hamilton remains Carolina's most expensive defenseman at $20.
Ryan Pulock, NYI at CAR ($16): Pulock is coming off a dreadful performance that featured a minus-4 rating and minus-7.1 fantasy points. The hard-shooting blueliner has been limited to just one helper in his last 10 games, so there's little reason to look his way when his teammate Toews can be had for $3 cheaper.