Oilers vs Golden Knights Game 1: NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction
Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Leon Draisaitl.
- The Oilers and Golden Knights meet tonight in a heavyweight playoff matchup.
- Edmonton eliminated the Kings, while Vegas dispatched Winnipeg.
- Carol Schram breaks down the matchup and makes her betting pick below.
Oilers vs. Golden Knights Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-102|
|Over/Under||6.5 (-118 / -104)|
|Time||9:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Eight years after they were drafted first and second overall in 2015, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel will go head-to-head in a playoff series for the first time. Eichel’s Vegas Golden Knights will play host to McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers as their second-round series kicks off at T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday.
Vegas and Edmonton finished 1-2 in the tight Western Conference in the regular season. Both teams had a relatively easy time in the first round and are basically healthy.
It’s the first time they’ve ever met in the playoffs, so here’s a closer look at the latest on both teams, and your best bet for Game 1.
The Edmonton Oilers didn’t just win their first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings with authority. They also showed that they could overcome adversity, after losing two of the first three games and falling behind 3-0 in Game 4.
After bringing in relief goalie Jack Campbell for his first action of the playoffs, the Oilers stormed back to erase that deficit and level the series with a 5-4 road win in overtime. They also flexed their offensive muscles to finish off the series, scoring 16 goals in their final three games.
After their high-octane regular season, it’s no surprise that the Oilers led the first round in goals per game (4.17) and power-play percentage (a ridiculous 56.3%). Nine of their 25 goals came with the man advantage, but they also gave up seven. In short, even with all the talk that the Oilers are now a deeper, more structured team, they still play high-event hockey.
But they can usually come out on top in those battles. Edmonton tallied an expected goals share of 54.13% in Round 1, third-best behind only New Jersey … and Vegas.
Just one injury to note: forward Mattias Janmark has been out since Game 1 of Round 1 with a foot injury. Reports last week suggested that he’d be ready to return at some point in the second round, but there has been no further update. Expect to see rookie Stuart Skinner back between the pipes for the Oilers.
Vegas Golden Knights
Back in the playoffs after a one-year absence, no team got through the first round more quickly than the Vegas Golden Knights. They dispatched the Winnipeg Jets in five games and once they took a 2-1 series lead thanks to Michael Amadio’s double-overtime winner in Game 3, they also cruised through their two remaining games.
After missing several months with a back issue, Vegas captain Mark Stone stormed back into the spotlight with a three-point effort in Game 2. He and Chandler Stephenson tied for the team scoring lead in the series, with eight points each.
And while Vegas relied on journeyman Laurent Brossoit in net, he got through the series with flying colors, limiting Winnipeg to just 2.8 goals per game and logging 1.1 goals saved above expected.
As mentioned, Vegas also boasted a strong possession game in the first round. But they were beaten up on special teams by the Jets, managing a low-for-these-playoffs 18.8% success rate on the power play and just 56.3% on the penalty kill, where they gave up five goals in 12 times shorthanded.
The best solution to poor penalty killing? Stay out of the box. And Vegas did that in the deciding Game 5, whistled only for two offsetting minor penalties in the game.
After missing Game 5, defensemen Shea Theodore and Brayden McNabb have both been back at practice, so they should be good to go on Wednesday. Stone left practice early on Tuesday but coach Bruce Cassidy did not express any concern about his status to the media.
Oilers vs. Golden Knights Pick
Edmonton and Vegas played four times during the regular season. The Oilers won twice in regulation, and the teams split a pair of 4-3 overtime games.
The home-and-home series in late March had a playoff-like feel. On March 25, Brossoit earned the win and Nicolas Roy was the overtime hero for Vegas on the road at Rogers Place. Three nights later, the Oilers answered back with a 7-4 win at T-Mobile Arena, but Jonathan Quick was in net for Vegas for the first two periods, giving up six of those goals. He hasn’t seen any action so far in the playoffs.
Assuming Stone is healthy, the biggest question mark for Vegas is whether Brossoit can continue his strong play. A former Oiler who appeared in 28 games over four seasons earlier in his career, he has practice experience against snipers like McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and a lifetime save percentage of .922 and a 2.14 goals-against average in 10 games against Edmonton.
Most relevant for bettors: all four regular-season games between these two teams featured at least seven goals. Expect another high-scoring affair as they settle into playoff mode against each other for the first time.
Pick: Over 6.5 (-115) | Bet to -130
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