On Saturday night, the Edmonton Oilers will host the San Jose Sharks for the second time in quick succession in the first round of the National Hockey League playoffs. As of April 11th, the series is yet to begin but the Canadian outfit will be confident of racking up at least one win in this best-of-seven series.
The Oilers have won eight of their last 10 games and it is difficult to back against them on current form. Canada have a few franchises involved in playoff action but Edmonton might be the best hope for Stanley Cup glory. With 247 goals in the regular campaign, the Oilers are one of the NHL’s most exciting and attacking teams – blink and their players will be too fast for you.
Edmonton, currently 12/1 to win the Stanley Cup with bet365, will be very difficult to beat if they continue to dominate in attack. Defensively, the Oilers can be caught napping but their offensive prowess could take them all the way with a bit of luck.
KEY MAN: Connor McDavid. When Taylor Hall left, Edmonton fans were left worrying about their chances of reaching the postseason. However, McDavid has really stepped up to the plate this year and the 1st overall pick from the 2015 NHL Draft is now regarded as one of the best players in the business.
In terms of scoring, McDavid sits at the summit of the National Hockey League. With 100 points throughout the regular season, the Oilers star was well clear of second placed Sidney Crosby and Edmonton will rely on their main man in the playoffs. He has scored or assisted a goal in all but one of his last 11 appearances and he could be the difference maker here.
San Jose Sharks
Last year, the Sharks were denied a first Stanley Cup triumph by the narrowest of margins as the Pittsburgh Penguins ran riot in the showpiece series. And while many believed that San Jose would struggle this term, Peter DeBoer’s men have made the playoffs again – although it is hard to hold too much faith after six defeats in their last 10 games.
San Jose have a solid group of stars but beating Edmonton on the road might be a step too far, even for the Stanley Cup runners up. If they find their best form, the visitors could churn out a surprise win.
KEY MAN: Brent Burns. The San Jose talisman might just be the best defenseman in the NHL and he will certainly play a key role for the Sharks throughout the series. His impact in front of the goaltender has been central to San Jose’s success in recent years but he has matured into a genuine scoring threat – making him a real danger during the transition from defense to attack.
Burns led the team in points during the regular campaign, notching more assists than any of his team-mates whilst tying center Joe Pavelski for goals. Incredibly, he played all 82 games this year for San Jose and his consistency at both ends of the rink could help to swing the series in their favour. If Burns plays well, San Jose have a great chance in this contest.
It is difficult to predict the outcome of this contest without knowing the result of Game One but the hosts look well placed for the win. With McDavid in scintillating form, Edmonton might have too much firepower for the Sharks; especially as San Jose have lost six of their last 10 games as of April 11th. We will be backing the Oilers at various Canadian betting sites to continue their fine run with another victory.
OILERS 4-2 SHARKS