Thursday’s NHL bet du jour: Edmonton at Chicago
The good news is that the Leafs only attempted five shots in the first period last night. The bad news is that four of them were goals.
Moving on to Thursday…
The Edmonton Oilers began their season with a 3-0 shutout against the Calgary Flames, but since opening night they have dropped four consecutive games, allowing 19 goals in the process. A key injury up front to Leon Draisaitl will not help matters, and the injury to Andrej Sekera cannot be understated. Nonetheless, there is reason to be optimistic about the Oilers.
The Oilers (4.18 xGF/60) trail only the Toronto Maple Leafs (4.61) in Expected Goals For per 60 minutes in all situations. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are currently dead last (3.76 xGA/60) in Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes in all situations. While it is far too early in the season to rely on such a small sample size, it is clear that the Blackhawks are having issues defensively. Outside of their top pairing of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, Chicago’s defensive corps leave a lot to be desired.
Moreover, Anton Forsberg, who is 1-8 in 10 career starts, is expected to guard the crease tonight rather than Corey Crawford, who was bombarded by the Blues last night in St. Louis. This is a significant downgrade in net. Cam Talbot figures to get the start for Edmonton, and although he is off to a slow start, Talbot finished with 42 wins in 73 attempts during the 2016-17 regular season.
Edmonton skipper Todd McLellan is on the hot seat, and it seems unlikely that the Oilers will not give their best effort tonight. It feels like a game where McDavid can put the team on their back despite a tough road matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Fair Odds: Oilers -110
Nothing else for Thursday on the ice as of now.