NHL Playoffs Game 3 Odds, Preview, Prediction: Avalanche vs. Oilers (June 4)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill. Pictured: Oiler’s Evander Kane
- The Western Conference Finals head to Edmonton with the Avalanche leading the series, 2-0.
- While Colorado has dominated the series so far, Greg Liodice is backing the Oilers in Game 3.
- Our analyst breaks down the matchup and explains his reasoning below.
Avalanche vs. Oilers Game 3 Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Well, that was something else.
After a promising comeback in Game 1, the Edmonton Oilers failed to score against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 2 and lost, 4-0. However, the Oilers didn’t go down without a fight and got very physical with the Avalanche toward the end.
Colorado has had its way with Edmonton in the first two games. Before the Avalanche let the Oilers come back, they locked them down pretty well, though Game 2 was a different level. The defense stayed strong in preventing scoring chances from the three-headed monster of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane, and Pavel Francouz did a marvelous job as the second line of defense.
What will happen now that the series heads north? Will the Oiler faithful make a difference in stopping the powerhouse Avalanche?
Take a look at Colorado’s roster and you can see why they are where they are. Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog and Nazem Kadri are all superstars and have been giving opponents headaches all year. Not only that, but they have one of the more formidable defenses and strong depth.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Avs are one of the best at driving play. This series have a 58.33 xGF% and are second among of all 16 playoff teams with a 59.47 xGF%. The power play is one of their more deadly attributes. Colorado has a second best 31.6% success rate, but has only converted two of nine in this series. Edmonton’s playing a dangerous game by taking so many penalties because the Avs can make them pay in a major way.
It’s hard to say what is going on with Darcy Kuemper. He was pulled in Game 1 with an upper body injury and didn’t play in Game 2. When asked about his status, coach Jared Bednar simply stated “he’s good,” with no more context. Pavel Francouz came on in relief and shut down the high-octane Oilers in Game 2. He’s posted a .917 SV% and a 0.0 GSAx. Kuemper seemed like he had the Oilers number as well, so it appears Colorado has a 1A/1B situation.
The Oilers have received exceptional production from everyone, which makes it that much more surprising that they couldn’t score in Game 2. Led by Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane, the Oilers have also seen consistent production from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman. Perhaps a game in front of a raucous Northern Alberta crowd can spice things up.
When it’s come to generating offense, Edmonton has fared well throughout the playoffs. However, it hasn’t been easy in the Western Conference Finals. Of the four teams remaining, the Oilers are ranked third with a poor expected goals rate of 41.67 xGF%. Similarly, their power play had been their strength throughout the regular season and the early rounds of the playoffs, but the Oilers haven’t drawn many penalties. Edmonton has only been on the power play four times and converted once.
In the first period, it seemed like Mike Smith was feeling good about his game. Then, the floodgates opened in the second as Colorado scored three times in a three-minute span. Smith has held his own in these playoffs with a .916 SV% and a +4.8 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected). However, after being pulled in Game 1 and after Game 2’s debacle, it seems as if the Avs have the 40-year-old’s number.
Avalanche vs. Oilers Pick
The Oilers have fared well when their backs have been against the wall. However, Colorado may be too tall of a task. While Edmonton has a deep and powerful roster, it is not as sound defensively, nor in net, as Colorado. Also, the Avalanche’s offensive depth is just a bit more dangerous.
Mike Smith has shown that even at the ripe age of 40, the playoffs won’t phase him. The problem he’s been unpredictable and lacked consistency. Francouz can be a wild card here, too. Coming on in relief in Game 1, he nearly let the Oilers come back from a large deficit. In Game 2, he only faced 24 shots and seven high-danger chances, which means the Avs did an exceptional job protecting him.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the home team take a victory here. Not only were the Oilers elite in front of their home fans during the season, but in the postseason, they’ve taken care of business with a 4-1-1 home record. While I think Colorado takes this series, I think the Oilers make things a wee-bit interesting with a Game 3 victory.
Pick: Edmonton Oilers +105
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