The NHL is set up with an action packed slate of games on Monday. Six games will be up on the board throughout August 3. One of these games will be between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Edmonton Oilers. These two teams will meet up in Game 2 of their series as they try and earn a spot in the round of sixteen. This game will drop the puck at around 10:30 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
The Blackhawks earned a record of 32-30-8 throughout the regular season, which helped them sneak into the Qualifying Rounds as a twelfth seed. Chicago earned a huge win in Game 1 of this series to give them a shocking lead. The Blackhawks will look to increase their lead on the series with another win on Monday night.
Edmonton put up a record of 37-25-9 through the regular season, which has them in the fifth seed of the Western Conference. The Oilers just missed out on making the round robin play, which means they have to earn their way into the round of sixteen. Edmonton will look to play a much cleaner game as they meet up with the Blackhawks in Game 2.
These two teams have earned their way into the qualifying rounds despite their difference in the standings. Chicago shocked the Oilers in Game 1 with a strong win and now Edmonton has to bounce back to avoid being on the brink of elimination. I expect the Oilers to come out much stronger in this one to earn a big win.
The Blackhawks and the Oilers met up three times in the regular season. The first meeting was hosted by Chicago early in the season. Patrick Kane, Alexander Nylander and Brandon Saad all scored for the Blackhawks to give them a nice win. Corey Crawford stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced in the 3-1 win at home.
The second game of the season series shifted to Edmonton on February 11. Leon Draisaitl had a strong night, scoring a goal and three assists. Kailer Yamamoto scored two goals, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist. Mike Smith turned away 38 of the 41 shots he faced to help give the Oilers a 5-3 win over Chicago.
The Blackhawks hosted the final game of the season series on March 5. Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse both had two assists, but it was not enough for the Oilers. Alex DeBrincat scored two goals for Chicago, while Adam Boqvist had two assists. Corey Crawford had 21 saves on 24 shots to help propel the Blackhawks to a 4-3 win.
The first game of this series was on August 1. Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all had a goal and two assists, but it was not enough. Dominik Kubalik had two goals and three assists, while Jonathan Toews had two goals and an assist. Brandon Saad and Duncan Keith both had two points as well as the Blackhawks dominated for a 6-4 win over Edmonton.
Chicago’s power play was very much lacking throughout the regular season. The Blackhawks scored 33 goals on 217 chances, which is a 15.2 percent power play. Chicago’s penalty kill was much better though. The Blackhawks held their opponents to 37 goals on 207 attempts for an 82.1 percent kill rate.
The Oilers had the best special teams in the NHL this season. Edmonton’s power play tallied up 59 goals on 200 power play opportunities, which is a 29.5 percent success rate. The Oilers penalty kill held opposing teams to 31 goals on 199 chances, which is a strong 84.4 percent penalty kill.
Edmonton has the edge on special teams in this series, but you would not know it by Game 1. The Blackhawks score three goals on six power play attempts, while Edmonton had three power play goals on four chances. The Oilers penalty kill will need to step up and adjust in Game 2. The Oilers were playing from behind, so their kill was a bit more aggressive and they will need to tame it down in this one.
Corey Crawford will get the start in Game 2 after helping win Game 1. Crawford had a record of 16-20-3 throughout the regular season. He finished with a save percentage of .917 and a 2.77 GAA. In Game 1, Crawford faced 29 shots and saved 25 of them. He had a late surge from the Oilers that were two of those goals and will look to shut their momentum down early.
Mikko Koskinen will likely get the nod in crease in Game 2 of the series. Koskinen took over after Mike Smith was chased from the net early in the second period. Koskinen had a .917 save percentage this season and a 2.75 GAA. He stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced after taking over in Game 1. He will look to come out hot in this one to give the Oilers an extra push.
I think that the Oilers get the edge in net for this one. Koskinen played really well after he settled in. The Oilers had a nice push late to make it look closer and if they can use that momentum early, they could score some quick ones on Crawford. While Crawford did not look bad, the score hides that he did not have his best performance. If Edmonton turns it on, he could struggle to keep up with their high scoring offense.
The Oilers came out a bit too relaxed on Saturday afternoon, but I do not expect them to make that mistake again. Edmonton will likely come out much quicker in this matchup, which will set them up for more success. If the Oilers can keep the momentum early, they could eventually just make Chicago frustrated and take control of this game.
BetOnline has Edmonton listed as a -130 against the money line in this game. While I believe that this is too low, I think the real value is in the spread. The Oilers are listed at -1 ½ at +180. I think that Edmonton is going to dominate this game to set a tone after losing in Game 1, which will help them cover this spread. I think McDavid and Draisaitl are going to come out quick and be too much for Chicago to handle.