NHL Playoffs 2022: Odds, Hot Takes, Top Storylines for Oilers vs. Avalanche

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIMay 29, 2022

NHL Playoffs 2022: Odds, Hot Takes, Top Storylines for Oilers vs. Avalanche

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    The Edmonton Oilers haven't been to the Stanley Cup Final since 2006. And they haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1990.

    The Colorado Avalanche haven't been to the Stanley Cup Final since 2001. And that's also the last time they won the Stanley Cup.

    This year, one of these two Western Conference teams will finally have an opportunity to play for the Cup again.

    The Avalanche and Oilers are set to face off in the Western Conference Final, which is set to begin Tuesday night in Denver. The Avs will have the home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven series.

    Colorado opened the postseason by sweeping the Nashville Predators in four games, then it won a six-game series against the St. Louis Blues in the second round. Edmonton went a full seven games in its first-round series win over the Los Angeles Kings, then it beat the Calgary Flames in five games in the second round.

    Here's a look at the odds and schedule for this year's Western Conference Final, along with some predictions and storylines to watch for.

Western Conference Final Odds, Schedule

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    Odds to Win Series

    Colorado Avalanche: -250 (bet $250 to win $100)

    Edmonton Oilers: +200 (bet $100 to win $200)

    Via NHL" target="_blank">DraftKings Sportsbook

    Western Conference Final Schedule

    Game 1: Edmonton at Colorado, Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, TNT

    Game 2: Edmonton at Colorado, Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, TNT

    Game 3: Colorado at Edmonton, Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, TNT

    Game 4: Colorado at Edmonton, June 6 at 8 p.m. ET, TNT

    Game 5 (if needed): Edmonton at Colorado, June 8 at TBD

    Game 6 (if needed): Colorado at Edmonton, June 10 at TBD

    Game 7 (if needed): Edmonton at Colorado, June 12 at TBD

Every Game in the Series Will Have a Ton of Offense

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    No two teams are scoring more goals in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs than the Oilers and the Avalanche. Edmonton is averaging 4.33 goals through its first 12 postseason games, while Colorado is averaging 4.3 through its first 10 contests.

    That shouldn't come as a surprise, considering the offensive talent on these teams' top lines.

    The Oilers have centers Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who each have seven goals and 19 assists in this year's playoffs. No other player has more than 16 points this postseason. And Edmonton also has forward Evander Kane, who has a league-high 12 goals in the playoffs.

    "Obviously they have two of the most dangerous players in the league right now," Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon said, per NHL.com's David Satriano. "Maybe three with Kane, and a really deep team."

    MacKinnon has been one of Colorado's top offensive players this season, and he has 13 points (eight goals and five assists) in the playoffs. The Avs have also been getting plenty of offense from defenseman Cale Makar (13 points) and forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen (11 each).

    So both defenses could have trouble in this series trying to limit the opposing attacks. And because of that, don't be surprised if every game ends up being a high-scoring affair.

    Expect plenty of goals, which should make for some entertaining, back-and-forth contests.

The Avalanche Will Win This Series in Either 5 or 6 Games

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    The Oilers were impressive during their second-round series against the Flames. After losing 9-6 in Game 1, Edmonton came back to win four straight games, including a 5-4 overtime victory in the Game 5 clincher. The Oilers have now won six of their past seven, as they ended their first-round series vs. the Kings with two straight victories.

    But make no mistake about it: The Avalanche are a better team, and that will be clear soon enough.

    Colorado's attack is going to have to keep up with Edmonton, which has scored at least four goals in nine of its 12 playoff games. The Avalanche are capable of doing that, though, and they've shown a knack for pulling out victories in tight games.

    And they're also not overlooking their opponent for this Western Conference Final matchup.

    "It's going to be a tough series," Colorado defenseman Josh Manson said, per Satriano. "They're playing fast and they've got some big bodies. Obviously they have some pretty big skill up front in those two guys. They've had a pretty good playoff so far. It's going to be a big challenge for us, but we're excited for it."

    The Avalanche won two of their three regular-season meetings with the Oilers, but both victories went to overtime (and one was decided in a shootout). So it's clear that Edmonton can play competitive games against the top team in the West.

    Still, Colorado will showcase its depth and its well-rounded lineup during the Western Conference Final. And while the Oilers will win a game or two, the Avalanche won't face much adversity and will end this series in either five or six games.

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