The Western Conference Final is set with the Colorado Avalanche and the Edmonton Oilers each making their first appearances in a long time. We will look at a betting preview for this series.
Colorado Avalanche (-232) vs Edmonton Oilers (+190)
Both teams have entered unfamiliar territory as most of the top players have never been past the second round on either side. This is a highly anticipated matchup as all three of the regular season games this season were high paced and very entertaining.
The stars were on display and the Oilers’ stars have shined brighter in the postseason playing at an all-time pace. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both have 26 points in 12 games and Evander Kane has a goal per game. The Avalanche’s best player in Round 1 was Cale Makar, but he was less noticeable in Round 2 as Nathan MacKinnon and Nazem Kadri took centre stage. Expect a lot of highly skilled plays and highlight reel goals.
All three games during the season between these two teams came very late. The Avalanche took the first two games 3-2 (OT) and 2-1 (SO) before the Oilers finished off with a 6-3 win. How the regular season went would make you think the series will be very close and lower scoring, but the way the Oilers have absolutely dominated the scoresheet, Darcy Kuemper would have to have a Jake Oettinger Round 1 performance to hold the Oilers back.
The Oilers have two, two-plus point per game players, two more point per game players, and five total skaters with 11 or more points in the playoffs while the Avalanche also have five players playing at a point per game or higher. The top two lines for each team match up well, but it may come down to the depth scoring that decides this series as the Avalanche’s made a much-needed appearance in Game 6 to clinch Round 2.
Looking at the goaltending matchup, Kuemper’s numbers leave much to be desired for the Avalanche and the Oilers may eat that up. He is playing at .904 save percentage (SV%) and 2.44 goals against average (GAA) which indicates the Avalanche are limiting shots but their goaltender can’t take advantage. Mike Smith on the other hand has had his share of blunders, but then has been lights out at times with a .927 SV% and two shutouts.
On paper the Avalanche may be the powerhouse of the NHL and Stanley Cup favourites but McDavid and company are on a mission and nothing has slowed them down thus far. With the value Edmonton has to win this series and the way they’ve played since Jay Woodcroft has arrived behind the bench, it is the better play to take the Oilers as underdogs for a second consecutive round.
Odds via Yahoo and BetMGM.
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