Battle of the Dynasties! Oilers vs Blackhawks breakdown and prediction.
The second Play-in series breakdown features a dynasty of the past in the Blackhawks versus a possible dynasty of the future in the Oilers.
Edmonton Oilers (5) vs Chicago Blackhawks (12)
The Edmonton Oilers haven't been relevant since their championship run in the '80s, as this is only the second time they have made the playoffs in the last 14 years. Thankfully for Oilers fans, they are now lead by two superstars in Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid who finished first and second in NHL scoring respectively. Depth scoring continues to be an issue and Goalie Mikko Koskinen was much improved this year but has never played a single NHL playoff game in his career.
The Blackhawks a "dynasty" of more recent times, won their third Stanley cup over a 6-year span back in the 2014-15 season. Since then they have been dealing with cap constraints caused by their star players' big contracts (Kane, Toews) and the decline in the overall play of their core players (Seabrook, Crawford, Keith). Let's not beat around the bush, the Chicago Blackhawks would have had no chance to make the playoffs if it was not for the COVID-19 format. All things aside, they have a lot of young talent mixed with past-there prime vets that will now have the opportunity to revive the dynasty to make a run at the Stanley Cup.
The Difference Makers
Looking at a player from each team that will decide this series.
⭐ Connor McDavid
McDavid's second time in the playoffs is on a much improved Edmonton Oilers team but all pressure is still on him.
When you are widely considered the best player in all of Hockey and possibly on the pathway to being labeled one of the best players all-time, the pressure on McDavid to perform will never go away. Especially in the playoffs as the pressure to win a cup only grow as his career goes on. Edmonton is not the best team in the NHL, but McDavid is the best player and there is no doubt he can carry them to greatness.........I guess Draisaitl can help too.
⭐ Corey Crawford
The Blackhawks I imagine were under the assumption that they weren't going to make the playoffs when they traded away Robin Lehner prior to this years trade deadline. Now Crawford their lone starting-caliber goalie had a solid year this year when he played with a .917 save percentage and a 2.77 goals-against average. The only problem is he might not play, with some sources currently listing him as "unfit to participate”. He has not been ruled out and there remains some optimism from the organization that he might play. The reason Crawford is so important to the Blackhawks is because of the tremendous drop off in goal if he is unable to play. Malcolm Subban........a career backup, Collin Delia at 26 years old still has played less than 20 NHL games in his career and oh ya don't forget they are playing the two leading scorers in the whole NHL.
Prediction and Betting Picks
The Oilers come into this one as the clear favorites at -160 on Bodog.
Not too many times in your life other than March Madness will you see the 12th seed in a playoff format. Now Chicago does have more playoff experience and Stanley Cup pedigree but their unproven depth and the fact they might not have an NHL caliber goalie in net might outweigh the advantages they do have. Look for the Edmonton's two superstars and overall better team to just be too much for a transitioning Chicago Blackhawks team.
Prediction: Oilers over Blackhawks in 4 games.......If Crawford doesn't play look to take the Oilers in 3 games series prop at +400