For the Edmonton Oilers, the goal is a simple one: Use whatever worked against Winnipeg in the regular season as the Canadian rivals open their Stanley Cup first-round series Wednesday night in Alberta. The Oilers (35-19-2 SU, 24-30-2 O/U) won seven of nine meetings against the Jets (30-23-3 SU, 27-25-4 O/U) this season, including each of their final six encounters.
Opening Odds Analysis
Edmonton opened as a -145 favorite but didn’t stay there for long, now listed at -155 or even -160 in some spots. The total has held steady at 6, with the UNDER in the -120 to -125 range and the OVER predominantly listed at +105.
Winnipeg News & Notes
The Jets actually looked to have the inside track on second place in the North Division until a seven-game losing skid completely derailed any hopes of home-ice advantage in the opening round of the postseason.
Six of their seven losses during that stretch came by multiple goals (including all three defeats to the Oilers), and they scored just 10 times over that seven-game span.
So how can the Jets rebound from a rough finish to the season against a team that dominated the head-to-head series? Being the superior club on special teams would be a start. The Jets boasted the league’s No. 7 power play (23.0 percent) and No. 13 penalty kill (80.5 percent), but both of those marks were bested by the Oilers (27.6 and 82.5, respectively).
Edmonton News & Notes
It was a highly successful regular season for the Oilers, who are looking for their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 2006. They come in having won 10 of their final 14 regular-season contests and were surprisingly stout in the defense and goaltending departments, allowing just 2.70 goals against per contest (tied with Florida and Nashville for ninth-best overall).
Still, as good as the Oilers have been at the back end, it’s what they did on offense that has the Jets standing at attention. Edmonton was once again carried by the 1-2 punch of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. McDavid (105 points) won the scoring title by a whopping 21 points over Draisaitl (84 points) – no other NHL skater produced more than 69 points during the season.
Betting Pick: Edmonton (-145)
The Oilers are playing on another level right now and had little trouble with the Jets during the regular season. Look for the hosts to kick off the series with an emphatic victory.
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