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Oilers, Blackhawks Ready to Put On a Show

Leon Draisaitl #29 celebrates his goal with Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

The National Hockey League is back in action Saturday afternoon – and fans are advancing directly to playoff hockey as the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers kick off their postseason qualification series. The best-of-five series will pit a Chicago team that struggled for much of the season against an Oilers side that has at least a modest advantage as the hub host.

Chicago Blackhawks vs Edmonton Oilers
  • Date/Time: August 1, 3 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Rogers Place
  • TV Coverage: NBC, RSN
  • Opening Odds: Oilers -182 | O/U 6.5 runs (Line History)
  • Blackhawks vs Oilers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Edmonton kicked things off as a significant favorite, but sportsbooks quickly adjusted the line to the -150 range. The total opened at 6.5 but has dipped down to 6.

Chicago Blackhawks News & Notes

Chicago can only hope the success it showed with the man advantage in its final game prior to the season re-start will carry over into its best-of-five series in Edmonton. The Blackhawks struck twice on the power play in a 4-0 exhibition win over the defending-champion St. Louis Blues after ranking a dismal 28th in PP success rate during the regular season (15.2 percent).

And if Chicago can't make inroads against Edmonton's No. 2-ranked penalty kill (84.4 percent), they'll need even more in 5-on-5 play from leading scorer Patrick Kane. The talented right winger was the runaway No. 1 option for Chicago with 84 points in 70 regular-season games; no other Blackhawks skater had more than 60 points. He's a great points prop option in this one.

Edmonton Oilers News & Notes

In case you had forgotten (though of course you haven't), the Oilers are very good at scoring goals. They're led by regular season scoring champion Leon Draisaitl, who secured his first career Art Ross Trophy with 110 points over 71 sensational games. He's joined by uber-talented linemate Connor McDavid, who added 97 points of his own despite appearing in just 64 games.

But while Edmonton's potent offense and incredible special teams – in addition to their elite PK, they boast the No. 1 power-play conversion rate at 29.5 percent – the back end remains a work in progress. The Oilers ranked in the middle of the pack in goals against during the regular season (3.03), a number that grows to 3.18 against Western Conference clubs.

Betting Pick: OVER

These teams should be flying as they look to advance to the main Stanley Cup playoff tournament – and that should result in plenty of scoring opportunities for both sides.

Shark Bites
  • Edmonton was 3-for-7 on the power play and 8-for-8 on the penalty kill in three regular-season games vs. Chicago.
  • Chicago has won four of its last five games vs. Pacific Division opponents.
  • The OVER is 4-1 in Edmonton's previous five home games vs. Chicago.