The Edmonton Oilers are looking to solidify their argument as a playoff ready team over the next couple of months. Nothing seems to be a fluke with them, as they continue to play at a high level of play. There’s no doubts that other teams must take note of the surging Oilers. Through the first month of two of the season you couldn’t get too real with your evaluation of them. However, now that we’re nearing the end of February, it’s reasonable to say that the Oilers are as good as advertised.
Good with regards to making an impact in the playoffs? Let’s hold up there, as I’d be surprised if the Oilers survive the second-round, if they do in fact make the playoffs and win their first-round matchup. In other words, their best case scenario in my opinion is a first-round series win. With a record of 32-19-4 they are in control of their own destiny. Play well the rest of the regular season and they shouldn’t have any problems finding the playoffs.
There is still a lot of time for the Oilers to slip-up, though. A collapse would be views as a choke job. They are currently on a three-game winning streak and are 2nd in the Pacific to give them a firm grip on the postseason. Since reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2005-06 they haven’t had the most to be excited about. However, Connor McDavid has changed that in a hurry.
The exciting second-year centre just captured third-star of the week honors to go along with an impressive 20 goals and 47 assists. The Oilers are in good hands. They travel down south to Florida where they’ll continue their road trip after a win in Chicago over the Blackhawks. The Lightning are in danger zone with a record of 26-24-5. They will need all the help they can to reach the playoffs. Let’s head below for our Tuesday night NHL pick, trying to improve on our soured pick from yesterday.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick
The best part about McDavid is how well he’s handling the spotlight. The guy is playing like a seasoned veteran on the level of Sidney Crosby maturity wise. Skill wise, McDavid is entering Crosby territory as well. Putting some additional talent around McDavid in the coming years is going to prove to be a winning formula. Note, though, McDavid is going to want to back the Brinks truck up for his next contract, so we’ll see how that shakes out, because it will become an important contributor with regards to how they can spend elsewhere. The Oilers are 10th in the NHL with 2.83 goals scored per game.
Cam Talbot has settled in nicely between the pipes in Edmonton as well. The Oilers are 7th in the NHL, allowing just 2.51 goals per game. The question of whether Talbot can be a full-time starter has been answered impressively by him this year. On the other hand, Ben Bishop has been doing himself no favors. He enters tonight with a GAA of 2.60, along with a 0.91 save percentage, his worst season since becoming a full-time starter.
The Lightning have won the last three of four matchups against the Oilers. I could see Edmonton letting their guard down a bit in Tampa after they defeated the Blackhawks in their last outing. Long-term outlooking appears much better for the Oilers, but tonight I think the Bolts get this one. For our Oilers vs. Lightning pick, I like the Lightning to come out on top.
PICK: LIGHTNING TO WIN -120