The last two Canadian teams alive in the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs will fight for a spot in the Western Conference final beginning Wednesday when the Calgary Flames (50-21-11) host the Edmonton Oilers (49-27-6) in Game 1 of their second-round series as solid home favorites. The Oilers vs Flames prediction has this as a fairly even matchup between the two teams from the province of Alberta after both of them advanced from grueling Game 7s on Sunday.
Oilers vs Flames Odds & Analysis
The road underdogs from Edmonton have received some early support from bettors, perhaps because the best hockey player in the world, Connor McDavid, has finally made it out of the first round again. McDavid has only gotten to the second round once previously, and that was five years ago in just his second season. He led the team with 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in the first round while Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau (two goals, six assists) was the top scorer for his club.
Gaudreau does not get the same kind of notoriety, but he has better teammates around him, which is why the Flames won the Pacific Division, finishing seven points ahead of the Oilers. These teams split four regular-season meetings, with Calgary winning the last two after losing the first two.
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Edmonton’s Smith Extra Motivated Against Former Team?
The Flames gave up on goaltender Mike Smith following the 2018-19 campaign, allowing him to move on to the Oilers after two seasons. The big question now is can Smith be the difference-maker and decide this series against his old teammates between the pipes? It is certainly possible, especially after he overcame his nemesis Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings with a 2-0 shutout in Game 7.
Smith stopped all 29 shots he faced vs the Kings on Sunday for his second shutout of the series, and he definitely has the potential to shine again if he can stay healthy and get continued offensive support.
Calgary’s Home Ice Proves Worthy in First-Round Victory
The Flames just saw their mettle tested by a feisty wild-card team, the Dallas Stars, who may have had the best player in the first round in goalie Jake Oettinger. However, Calgary still found a way to solve Oettinger on multiple occasions, including a 2-1 overtime win in Game 7. Gaudreau scored the game-winner and has proven to be as good as any player in the league when he is playing at his best.
Gaudreau and his teammates offer more quality depth than their opponent, and that could very well be the difference in this series too. The Oilers vs Flames prediction could be decided by home-ice advantage as well, and that was extremely important in the last two games played at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Oilers vs Flames Pick & Insights
Oilers: Keys To Victory
Edmonton scored five goals in three of the four meetings during the regular season but only managed a split, which says a lot about the potential for scoring in this series. The last meeting on March 26 resulted in a 9-5 home victory for Calgary. Both goalies for the Oilers got shelled, with Smith performing slightly better than backup Mikko Koskinen with 22 saves on 26 shots. This is Smith’s show now, though, and he is the key.
Flames: Keys To Victory
The home team won all four meetings this season, and Calgary has won the past three against Edmonton at the Saddledome along with four of five and nine of 13. In a rivalry like this, having the fans on your side could be an enormous boost. For that reason, this team should be favored and win despite the presence of McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who had a hat trick in the most recent meeting. If you are taking the hosts with your Oilers vs Flames pick, then you believe home ice matters in this spot.
NHL Computer Pick: Oilers ML (+135)
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