It’s hard to tell whether the Edmonton Oilers are going to be genuine contenders to win the Stanley Cup when all is said and done, because while they are top-heavy on offense, they really aren’t known for their depth.
Do they have the right combination to come out of the ScotiaBank Saddledome with a win on Saturday night against the Calgary Flames? Well, for purposes of THAT discussion, let’s explore.
Game time is officially 10:08 PM ET, and while the action is transpiring on the ice, you can get plenty of action with Sports Betting Prime, which enables real-time wagering for customers of BetAnySports, where you’ll see, the Oilers are the favorites:
Edmonton Oilers -118
Calgary Flames -102
Over 6 Goals -110
Under 6 Goals -110
Oilers -1.5 Goals +210
Flames +1.5 Goals -250
It can be argued that the Oilers have the most potent 1-2 combination in the NHL in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Both of them have led the league in scoring. Both have been the Most Valuable Player in the league. And they are first and second in the league in scoring right now.
They are both centers by nature, but they are playing together right now, rather than on separate lines. That is the way head coach Dave Tippett wants it right now, and he has not given any indication that he would like to break that up.
And frankly, why should he? When those two players have been on the ice together, they have outscored opponents by a 24-8 margin. And they have combined to score 18 power play goals. When McDavid has been out there without Draisaitl, in situations of even strength, the Oilers have been outscored 24-20.
We’re not sure whether that bodes well or not for their chances in the playoffs. Edmonton is the second place team in the North Division, composed entirely of teams from Canada that have been grouped together and play each other exclusively because of the COVID restrictions regarding U.S. teams traveling to Canada. They may wind up #2, or they may be #3, because the Winnipeg Jets are only a point behind. There might even be a chance for them to overtake the Toronto Maple Leafs for the top spot.
The Flames, who have 35 points on a 16-21-3 record, have no such aspirations, and in fact, may be one of those teams “selling”as the trade deadline approaches. They have been struggling on offense all season, and over the last nine games they have scored only 16 goals. Coach Darryl Sittler, who took over shortly after Geoff Ward was fired, is going to split two of his top players – Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau – who have been together for quite a long time, and put them on separate lines. I guess that falls into the “any port in a storm” category. But we imagine it’s going to take some getting used to.
You could safely say that Edmonton is a different team when they have Mike Smith in goal. All season long, he has gotten this team 14 wins and six defeats, three of which have come in overtime. And his 2.34 goals-against average is nothing to sneeze at. His counterpart, Jacob Markston, has given up three goals or more in 12 of his last 16 starts.In other words, he’s not performing well enough to compensate for a team that can’t score.
So we’ll go with Edmonton as the road favorite, and may even put a little on that puck line.
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