Avalanche vs. Oilers Pick – NHL February 20th

The Edmonton Oilers are desperately trying to keep things together as the season winds down. Not that the Oilers were going to do anything of substance this year anyway, but losing all confidence and blowing what good mojo they had going is not good, especially for a young team. There has been glimpses of what could be a very good Edmonton team in the future, but then you look at this stretch and have to think it is just the same old Oilers. The way the Oilers have been playing of late, is a reflection of why Connor McDavid looked reluctant to want to be drafted by Edmonton. McDavid is being looked at as a favorite for the Calder Trophy, even after missing 37 games with an injury. So, needless to say, the reason for the Oilers faults lately do not lay in his lap.

The Oilers have gone 3-7 in their last ten games and 0-3 in their last three tilts. They have gone 5-13 in their last eighteen matchups. Looking a little like the Oilers of past years, the defense has been getting shredded. Their 1st overall selection in 2013, Nail Yakupov, has yet to have a breakout stretch. He is holding them back, and needs to join the Taylor Hall and Connor McDavid train soon.

The Avalanche will look to kick the Oilers while they’re down tonight. However, the Avs have had a bit of problems as well. The Avalanche have gone 4-6 in their last ten games. Coming in to Edmonton following a 3-2 win against the Canadiens. Now they travel to the other side of Canada to Edmonton. They can be winners in four of their last five with a victory tonight. After that special season they had a couple years ago, after Patrick Roy took over, it seemed like the only way was going to be up for the Avs. But the moves they’ve made with personnel has directly reflected their regression the last two seasons.

The Avalanche have more losses than they did all of that season. Cutting ties with players like Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly will do that to a team. I understand it was a cost cutting initiative, but they needed to hold on to one of those playmakers. Matt Duchene is an extremely good center, but they lost his second hand men in Stastny and O’Reilly.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Edmonton Oilers NHL Pick

This is the nightcap on Hockey Night in Canada tonight, so if you’re Canadian you will probably be watching this game regardless. Isn’t that what any of us Canadians do on Saturday nights? I do wonder how good the Oilers’ offense would be if Yakupov was actually producing. Notably, what kind of future they would have if he got going. He scored a nice goal against the Wild last game, so maybe that will get him going. Even with his deficiencies, offense isn’t really the problem, the defense is now starting to fade away. In their last ten games they’ve allowed 3.50 goals per game. Edmonton has allowed an average of more than 4 goals in their last seven games. On the season, they have given up 3.03 goals per game.

By the reports I’m reading, backup Calvin Pickard will be in net for the Avalanche tonight. Pickard has started in only seven games this season. He has a 2.75 GAA and 3-3-1 record. Pickard got his feet wet last season and is getting the same treatment this year. Pickard’s play this year has been a mere reflection of the team as a whole, as they are 21st in the NHL, allowing 2.79 goals per game. The Avs have allowed 3.30 goals a game in their last ten games. I think this is going to be a fun one, a good way to end the day with lots of goals and entertainment. Last night, we were robbed by Robin Lehner as he went for 38 saves in a 4-0 shutout. Not that much you can do about that. Tonight, I see a 4-2 or 4-3 final in Edmonton.

PICK: OVER 5.5 GOALS (-105)