DFS Wednesday: Showdown Strategy for Game Four

Stephen Dotzel


Well what a difference a game makes. After the Avalanche rolled the Lightning on Saturday to take a commanding 2-0 series lead, Tampa Bay returned the favor on Monday as they have so often done over the last three postseasons. That leaves some questions as to what to expect for tonight's Game 4. With any luck, we can duplicate the success we found with Saturday's article which outlined the lineup seen below. Though the volatility of the Showdown format will make it tough, perhaps lightning can strike twice in this series (in more ways than one).

With two lopsided games back to back, I'd expect this one to be a bit tighter, so I'm going to build my lineup geared towards a final score of around 3-2, or 4-3 like we saw in Game 1. That means no goalies tonight, which is always a gamble. However, I think whoever is in net for Colorado (likely won't know who until warmups) will have a short leash with makes it risky. Vasilevskiy should see plenty of shot volume to rack up a big score but I'm banking on Colorado having some more success than on Monday.

In Monday's clash, there was once specific line on each side that really controlled the puck when they were on the ice. For Colorado that was the Nathan MacKinnon line and for Tampa Bay that was the Nikita Kucherov line, not many surprises there. As a result, we're going to try and fit as many as these skaters we can into our lineup. It won't be easy though with the price tags on many of those players.

At captain, I'm going to go with the hot hand of Gabriel Landeskog who's coming off a two goal game. I've been looking at Valeri Nichushkin here but it's got to the point that he and Landeskog are nearly the same price, and I prefer the upside that the top power play minutes Landeskog brings. It's also worth noting that Colorado spent the third period on Monday with Nichushkin down on the second line and Mikko Rantanen up on the first. Both those lines generated some good chances so I'd expect that is how Colorado will start this one, but that's just my guess.

Off that hunch, I'm adding Rantanen to a flex spot and from there you likely have to choose between MacKinnon or Cale Makar to pair with Landeskog and Rantanen, as fitting both really hampers the rest of your lineup. I'm going to go with MacKinnon tonight with the expectation he finally gets his first goal in these Finals.

Sliding over to the Tampa Bay side of things, I'm going to use Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat from the top line. Nikita Kucherov is expected to play but might be a little banged up after Monday's game late, so I am leaving him and his high salary off the lineup.

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