NHL Playoffs Game 6 Odds & Prediction: Oilers vs. Kings (May 12)
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Spence.
- The Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings are set to face off in a crucial Game 6.
- The Oilers are looking to extend the series, while the Kings are looking to advance to the next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
- Carol Schram details her best bets for this game below.
Oilers vs. Kings Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Edmonton Oilers are facing elimination and will be without their best defenseman when they visit Crypto.com Arena on Thursday night. Darnell Nurse will be serving a one-game suspension with his team down 3-2 to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 of their first-round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Here’s the latest on both teams and a best bet for this pivotal game.
Nurse had a hearing on Wednesday after he head-butted Kings’ center Phillip Danault late in the second period of the Oilers’ 5-4 overtime loss to Los Angeles in Edmonton on Tuesday. It’s the first career playoff suspension for the 27-year-old and it’s a huge blow for the Oilers, who have the third-worst rate of expected goals against at 5-on-5 in these playoffs.
While Nurse has just two points in five games, he has the second-best (Cale Makar is first) individual expected goals rate among defensemen at 5-on-5 so far in the playoffs. No player logged more ice time than Nurse in Game 5 as he logged 26:23, including 5:45 on the penalty kill.
Nurse’s suspension will likely open the door for Kris Russell on Thursday. The 35-year-old played 9:43 in Game 1, but has been a healthy scratch for the past four games.
Nurse’s suspension is the latest hurdle for Connor McDavid and company to clear if they want to get out of the first round for the first time in five years. Down two goals after two periods in Game 5, the Oilers rallied with a strong third period to force overtime, but a sloppy start in sudden death pushed their backs against the wall.
Blowout wins in Games 2 and 3 of this series have skewed the Oilers’ team stats for the series in a favorable direction. At this point, what’s probably more important is that they’ve lost two games in a row and will likely need to play their best game of the series, on the road, in order to stay alive and force a return to Edmonton for Game 7.
One area where the Oilers have been better than expected: in net. Mike Smith sounded alarm bells when his dreadful giveaway cost his team Game 1, but he has been steady ever since. The Oilers have stuck with their 40-year-old stopper so far — one of a handful of teams that has used only one goalie. Smith has rewarded that faith with a .930 save percentage, 2.81 goals-against average and a playoff-leading 7.7 goals saved above expected.
Los Angeles Kings
At the other end of the ice, the Los Angeles Kings are sitting pretty and have an opportunity to win the series on home ice.
If they succeed, it will be their first series win since they captured their second Stanley Cup in three years, back in 2014. Of course, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick are holdovers from those championship rosters and injured Drew Doughty has been spending time with the team as well. That kind of experience is invaluable in big-game situations and it looked like it paid off on Tuesday with the Kings’ hot start in overtime.
While the Kings are perceived to be an up-and-coming team peppered with talented young players, two veterans in their first seasons in Los Angeles have been vital.
After going to the Finals with Montreal last year, Phillip Danault is proving once again that his reputation as one of the top two-way centers in the NHL is very well deserved. He’s also leading his team with three goals. And when defenseman Alex Edler signed with the Kings as a free agent last summer, he brought along 77 games of playoff experience, including a trip to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011.
After the Kings suffered blowout losses in Games 2 and 3, coach Todd McLellan elected to reunite Edler with his former defensive partner from Vancouver, Troy Stecher. Acquired for additional depth at the trade deadline, Stecher has stepped up in a big way on L.A.’s very young blue line and contributed a goal and an assist in both Game 4 and Game 5.
Over those past two games, the Kings have held 52.1% of the expected goals share at 5-on-5, but special teams continue to be a concern. The Oilers are 7-for-17 on the power play for a success rate of 41.2% and scored their second shorthanded goal of the series in Game 5. The Kings are just 2-for-20 with the man advantage (10%). Add in the shorties and their net power-play percentage is zero.
Oilers vs. Kings Pick
Todd McLellan’s NHL head coaching resume stretches back to 2008. He hasn’t won a Stanley Cup as a head coach, but he knows full well that the fourth game of a series is the hardest to win. After Game 5 he wasn’t letting his team rest on its laurels and insisted the Kings would need to be better if they hoped to close out the series.
McLellan also has an extremely good read on the group he’s facing. He coached the Oilers for the first three-plus years of Connor McDavid’s NHL career and, in 2017, guided Edmonton to its only playoff series win since 2006.
Now, the Oilers are being coached by Jay Woodcroft, who McLellan worked alongside for more than a decade. Both men earned Stanley Cup rings as part of the 2008 Detroit Red Wings staff. Woodcroft then joined McLellan as an assistant coach in both San Jose and Edmonton.
Woodcroft remained with the Oilers organization as head coach of AHL Bakersfield after McLellan was fired. In February, the door opened for him to replace Dave Tippett in Edmonton. And here we are.
The takeaway from that history lesson: McLellan should have the knowledge and experience to out-coach Woodcroft and his players in a high-pressure Game 6 on Thursday night. The fact that Nurse will miss the game makes the Oilers’ task at hand that much tougher.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Kings are still significant underdogs on the betting line. That could change as we get closer to puck drop,
If you can, get in early on what could be the first series upset of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Pick: Kings moneyline (+125); play down to +100