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Oilers Aim to Force Fifth and Deciding Game vs Blackhawks

Oscar Klefbom #77 of the Edmonton Oilers skates in the first period of Game Three of the Western Conference Qualification Round at Rogers Place.

The Stanley Cup Final will take place in Edmonton no matter what – but the hosts are one loss away from not even making it to the 16-team playoffs. The Oilers will look to force a fifth and deciding game in their postseason qualification series with the Chicago Blackhawks as the teams face off Friday night. Chicago seized control of the series with a 4-3 victory Wednesday.

Chicago Blackhawks vs Edmonton Oilers
  • Date/Time: August 7, 6:45 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Rogers Place
  • TV Coverage: SNET, NBCSN, NBCSCH
  • Opening Odds: Oilers -143 | O/U 6.5 (Line History)
  • Blackhawks vs Oilers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Oddsmakers installed the Oilers as -143 opening favorites, but that line has dipped down between -130 and -135. The total is set at 6.5, with the O6.5 and U6.5 carrying identical odds at the majority of sportsbooks.

Chicago News & Notes

Any time you score four goals in a game, you probably owe the victory to your offense – and the Blackhawks certainly impressed in that regard, with Jonathan Toews tallying twice to lead the way. But Chicago’s defense deserves plenty of credit as well, as the Blackhawks limited the high-powered Oilers to just 28 shots while giving Edmonton only three power-play opportunities.

And if the Blackhawks hope to wrap this series up Friday night, they’ll have to show more of that discipline because they’re having all sorts of problems keeping the Edmonton power play at bay. The Oilers have converted five of their 12 man-advantage chances so far in the series, giving Chicago (58.3 percent) the worst penalty killing rate of any team that has played at least three games.

Edmonton News & Notes

Did we jinx the Oilers by suggesting that they were the only team in the series with serviceable goaltending? Probably not – but that statement is no longer true after Mikko Koskinen allowed four goals on just 25 shots in Wednesday’s defeat. Koskinen and Mike Smith now have a combined .860 save percentage in the series, while Chicago counterpart Corey Crawford is at .859.

Fortunately, the Edmonton offense is still humming along despite a minor setback in Game 3. Connor McDavid scored his series-best fifth goal in defeat, while he and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins share the lead in points with seven. And with elimination on the table Friday, we think McDavid’s goal prop is one of the top plays of any on the NHL slate (though it won’t pay out that well).

Betting Pick: Oilers

These sides are evenly matched – so we’re going with the superior special-teams unit and pegging host Edmonton to force a Game 5 in the series.

Shark Bites
  • Edmonton is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games against Chicago.
  • The OVER is 7-1 in Chicago’s last 8 games vs Western Conference opponents.
  • The OVER is 5-2 in Edmonton’s last 7 games.