NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Ducks vs. Oilers (February 17)
Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid.
- The Anaheim Ducks visit the Edmonton Oilers in Thursday's NHL showdown part of Western Conference action.
- Connor McDavid and the Oilers are heavy -230 favorites to get the win.
- Our analyst breaks down the game below and details why he expects Edmonton to cruise to the victory.
Ducks vs. Oilers Odds
|Over/Under||6.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The night after their game in Calgary, the Anaheim Ducks travel north to take on the Edmonton Oilers. These divisional rivals have only faced off once before in early October, with the Oilers coming away with a 6-5 victory.
So, will Anaheim get its revenge in Thursday’s showdown?
With the second half of the season in full swing, now is the time for the Ducks to get hot. They’re currently riding the struggle bus after a loss to both Seattle and Calgary. Anaheim spent most of the season in the playoff hunt, but are now tied with Los Angeles for the final wild-card spot.
Edmonton is getting hot again after a horrific stretch in December and January. The Oilers fired coach Dave Tippett, and since hiring Jay Woodcroft, they’ve played exceptionally. In their last 10 games, they’ve gone 7-2-1 and found themselves back into the playoff hunt.
Anaheim has really amplified their rebuild with some exceptional play over the year. Youngsters Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras are taking the league by storm, while veterans Ryan Getzlaf and Cam Fowler are chipping in their usual amount. While the Ducks felt some issues with injuries and COVID-19 issues, they’re nearly at full strength, just missing Josh Manson.
The Ducks certainly have some holes in their roster, and it shows in their expected goals. Over the course of 60 minutes, Anaheim has an xGF/60 of just 2.27 – good enough for 20th of 32 teams. However, the team is 11th in high danger chances created, while also having the fifth-best power play scoring at a 25.4% rate.
On the defensive end, the Ducks have been propped up their goaltending. Even though they allow the ninth-most high danger chances, they rank 17th in goals allowed.
It’s safe to say that John Gibson is the MVP of this team. The American net-minder has stood on his head for most of the year, posting a .921 SV% as well as a +10.5 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected). Backup Anthony Stolarz has held strong in Gibson’s relief, posting a .917 SV% and a -2.7 GSAx. Due to the fact Gibson started Wednesday in Calgary, I expect Stolarz to get the nod.
Acquiring Evander Kane was viewed as a “high-risk, high-reward” signing, and it looks like it’s paying off. Since then, the controversial forward has posted six points in his eight games with the Oilers.
Along with that, the usual suspects in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are leading the league in scoring, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman are contributing as well.
Edmonton is quickly gaining steam on the offensive end by ranking 13th in expected goals per 60 with a 2.52 xGF/60. They’ve also been much more dangerous, by generating a ton of high-danger chances. The one thing they’ve struggled in is the power play, where they once were ranked first, are now third scoring at a 27.1% rate.
In past seasons, the Oilers always seemed to struggle on the defensive end, but this year they’ve been better. They rank 17th in high-danger chances allowed, but they do allow the 11th-most goals.
Mike Smith has been lights out since coming back from injury, but it’s too early to tell if he will take the crease. Mikko Koskinen was removed from COVID-19 protocols, but he’s mostly assumed the backup role now that Smith is playing well. Smith has a .905 SV% and a -3.2 GSAx, while Koskinen is posting a .900 SV% and a -8.7 GSAx.
Ducks vs. Oilers Pick
Edmonton is riding high, while Anaheim is struggling and coming off a back-to-back set. As bullish as I am on the Ducks moving forward, it seems like the perfect storm for the Oilers to have their way with them, even more so if Stolarz is in goal.
While I like Stolarz as a player, I think Edmonton is too lethal for him, and there’s a chance this contest could get ugly.
Pick: Edmonton -1.5 (+120)