NHL Playoffs Picks: Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Author: Mansi


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The betting resumes, and we get a great Western Conference matchup as the Edmonton Oilers face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Qualifying Round to determine which team will advance to the playoffs. The Oilers, who are loaded with quality talents are -227 to get into the Stanley Cup playoffs. Their squad mostly consists of young players who are full of energy and passion. The Blackhawks feature a team with experience with former Conn Smyth winners Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith. They are the underdogs and are listed as +159.

EDMONTON OILERS

This team has many talented players such as Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, which makes them a threat and increases their chances of going all the way, regardless of playoff seed or home-ice advantage. The duos are the two biggest offensive needle-movers and the fact that they will be on the ice at the same time changes everything when it comes to tactics to shut them down. Their new GM Ken Holland has added more depth in the attack to lessen the pressure on McDavid and Draisaitl. 

Why can Edmonton lead?

Under defensive specialist coach David Tippett, the team is taking care of business in their half as well. Even though the Oilers allowed more shots per game, the duo of Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith seemed to work. The Oilers are one of the most dangerous on special teams, and they have by far the best power play in the league. The group is most vulnerable when Koskinen and Smith don’t have a good game. Even though the team has solidified under Tippett, they still lack a top defenseman. Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom, and Ethan Bear all rank near the top when it comes to giveaways.

Stanley Cup Odds: +900

X-factor: Their 29.5% power-play efficiency is one of the best in the league. Since 2004-05, the team with the best power-play percentage has qualified from the first round just 7 times and only two times past the second round. So, the Oilers need to work hard if they want to go all the way. The Oilers have a consistent rate of scoring across all periods. They have scored 72 goals in the first period, 73 in the second period, and 74 in the third period. Leon Draisaitl has scored in each of his last six games against the Blackhawks. He has scored a total of 11 points.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

Before the stoppage of the current season due to COVID-19, they were sitting six points behind the last playoff spot with 12 games left. They enter the COVID-19 invitational as the 2nd worst team, near the bottom end of the 24 team pile in several statistics. The resemblance between this Blackhawk team and the team that won multiple Stanley Cups leading up to 2015 is coincidental and lucky.

The Hawks are offensively alright but nothing special. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were their usual brilliant selves, and rookie Dominik Kubalik was a significant find as he scored 30 goals despite getting under 15 minutes of ice time per game.

Stanley Cup Odds: +6600

X-factor: This team has a lot of experience, and there is no postseason situation that the Blackhawks have not faced before. This experience can help them overcome a lot of deficiencies in the team. The Blackhawks have allowed the second-highest high-danger scoring chances in the NHL. They have the third-worst winning percentage in a one-goal game. They have allowed the fourth-fewest goals in the league during the first period but the fifth-most during the third period.

PICKS AND PREDICTIONS

Despite the mismatch in quality between the two teams, don’t expect this to be an easy game for Edmonton. Chicago has won two of the last three games against Edmonton, during the regular season. Chicago also has a core loaded with Stanley Cup experience, so it won’t be a cakewalk for Edmonton.

The viewers can place their bets on websites like BET365 and SugarHouse NJ to predict the scores. On the flip side, the Blackhawks team is nowhere near as good on defense as it was during their Stanley Cup-winning years, plus their goalie’s status is up in the air, and the Edmonton forwards will take full advantage of that. With the two best players and better special teams units on both the powerplay and penalty kill, support the Oilers in the series.


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