Chicago (31-30-8) vs Edmonton (37-24-9)
Opening Odds: Edmonton -150
The Chicago Blackhawks finished dead last in the seven-team Central Division, but with the expanded playoff format coming up, they will serve as the No. 12 seed. The ‘Hawks will take on the high-scoring and dangerous Edmonton Oilers in a five-game playoff series. Chicago has a lot of experience heading into the postseason, but will be +130 underdogs to the Oilers when the season resumes.
Chicago won two of the three matchups with Edmonton during the regular season, including a 4-3 win less than two weeks before the shutdown. This could be one of the more entertaining series with the star-power both clubs posses.
The reason why the Blackhawks could be a dangerous out this postseason is because of their Stanley Cup experience all over the roster. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Corey Crawford, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith have three Cup rings a piece. Kane had a solid regular season, averaging just over 1.1 points per game. Rookie Dominik Kubalik had 30 goals in 68 games and could be a player to watch.
Best-of-Five Series Price:
The Oilers could have won the Pacific Division had the regular season completed, but came up three points short of the Vegas Golden Knights. This will be the team’s first playoff appearance in three years and the second postseason for Connor McDavid. He played in 13 games back in the 2016-17 playoffs and recorded five goals and four assists. He forms a scoring line that can produce goals in bunches along side Leon Draisaitl, who had 110 points in 71 games.
The next scoring threat on the list is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (61 points), but then there’s a big drop-off to Tyler Ennis, who had just 37 points. Goalies Mikko Koskinen (2.75 GAA) and Mike Smith (2.95) played almost the exact same minutes, while recording one shutout a piece.
The Blackhawks are indeed a dangerous team and if they can slow down the Oilers’ top line, they just might take this series. I like the experience and Chicago as underdogs.
Pick: Blackhawks +130