We hit a nice, however fortunate winner last night as the Canadiens took down the favored Maple Leafs in overtime.
The Leafs led 2-1 into the final minute of regulation, but the Habs were able to tie it on a Philip Danault jam shot from the side of the net, sending the game to overtime. In that extra frame, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner — the league top goal-scorer by a mile and two of the top five point leaders in the league — found themselves on a clear-cut, 2-on-0 breakaway, but a late Marner pass missed Matthews.
Later in the extra frame, Jeff Petry found Cole Caufield in the slot and the rookie bagged his second OT goal in as many games as the Habs pulled off the upset at +141 odds.
We’ll certainly take it as we move onto this Oilers vs. Canucks NHL Pick from Vancouver!
- Season Record: 29-27
- Units: +1.49
Oilers vs. Canucks Betting Odds
- Oilers (-201)
- Canucks (+180)
- Oilers -1.5 (+120)
- Canucks +1.5 (-140)
- Over 6 (-106)
- Under 6 (-104)
Oilers vs. Canucks NHL Pick Breakdown
The Oilers — or at least Connor McDavid — found their offense legs in last night’s 5-3 on the back of their captain whose surge towards a 100-point season continues.
McDavid went off once again, tallying two goals and two assists to reach 91 points with six games remaining in the season. It seem awfully likely 97 accomplishes the remarkable feat of 100-plus points in a shortened 56-game season, but we’re witnessing one of the most epic point-collecting seasons we’ve seen in some time.
McDavid’s Oilers have now scored nine goals over their past two games as they sit ninth in the league in overall offense while averaging 3.26 goals per game on the season with a 26.5% power play clip that sits second in the NHL behind only the Carolina Hurricanes. Their power play is three for their last nine, although it failed on its lone chance in last night’s win.
While the Oilers rank outside the top 10 in some of the more prevalent underlying metrics such as scoring chances for and high danger chances for, it’s simply doesn’t matter. We know by know this is the top-heaviest offense in the NHL and it really only matters what the top two lines create, and McDavid’s advanced metrics are elite.
Edmonton has averaged 3.50 goals per game over their six games with the Canucks this season, so we should likely be prepared for more offense from McDavid and co. in this one tonight.
Without the services of Oscar Klefbom for the entire season, I along with many others were bearish on this Oilers defense, but they’ve proved me wrong.
Entering tonight’s contest, the Oilers rank ninth with 2.68 goals against per game on the season and 13th with an 80.2 % mark on the penalty kill. That said, their results have plenty to do with the goaltending of Mike Smith.
The Oilers are slightly below league average in all three of scoring chances against/60, high-danger chances against/60 and expected goals against/60 at 5v5, according to Natural Stat Trick. They’ve allowed more goals than expected — slightly — but they’ve given up opportunities at bottom-half rate this season.
Nonetheless, Darnell Nurse has stepped up in a major way in Klefbom’s absence and could even get some Norris Trophy love at season’s end. Adam Larsson has been a physical, reliable presence on that blueline and Tyson Barrie is back to doing Tyson Barrie things after a tough one-year stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Over their last five games, the Oilers are averaging just 1.80 goals against per game and are 6 for 6 on the penalty kill over their last four. Unsurprisingly, they’ve won four of their last five and six of their last eight as they’ve separated themselves from the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens, sitting comfortably as the second seed in the North Division.
As noted, Mike Smith has been a huge part of the Oilers’ defensive resurgence since he enter the lineup following a delayed start to the season.
Mikko Koskinen earned the win last night, so it’s back to Smith for the rematch 24 hours later.
Smith, he of a 2.72 GAA/.898 Sv% two season ago with the Flames and a 2.95 GAA/.902 Sv% in his first season with Edmonton last year, has been a monster for the Oilers this time around, turning in a 2.30 GAA/.924 Sv% with three shutouts and an 18-6-2 record across 27 starts (28 appearances). He’s allowed just five goals over his last three starts and just one goal in two of those three.
Smith posted one of his shutouts against the Canucks back in late February, two nights after he surrendered three goals on 33 shots in another winning effort 48 hours earlier.
He’s alternated wins and losses over his last five starts (three wins), so he’ll look to buck that trend and win his second in a row in this one tonight.
It’s a tough go right now for the Canucks after they missed time dealing with an outbreak within the group, something that forced an already-condensed schedule into an air-tight one as breaks are few and far between for Vancouver from here on out as they attempt to stave off postseason elimination.
This is an offense that’s now been without No. 1 center Elias Pettersson since March 2 with an upper-body injury, an ailment that’s going to keep him out for the remainder of the season. Without Pettersson leading the charge, the Canucks’ offense has slipped all the way to 27th while averaging just 2.59 goals per game on the season with a power play that sits 21st with a 19.4% clip. That’s a far cry from the top-10 offense and top-five power play the Canucks put on display a season ago.
The loss of Pettersson and other veterans has opened the door for waiver claims and call-up auditions for next season. The bottom-six looks a whole lot different these days than it did at the beginning of the season while the top-six is without one of the game’s brightest starts.
The Canucks have mustered just five goals over their last three games and 1.80 goals per game during their five-game losing streak. The power play has also struggled, going just 1 for its last 7 (14.3%) as the wear-and-tear of an emotional, draining season appears to have taken its toll on this depleted Canucks forward group.
From the get-go, this Canucks back end was not going to compete. I mean, from the very beginning before the puck dropped on the regular season as general manager Jim Benning dropped the ball long before that.
The Canucks will enter this one ranked 26th with 3.28 goals against per game on the season with a 79.1% penalty kill that checks in at 18th. That said, the underlying metrics are even worse.
At 5v5, the Canucks rank dead last in terms of scoring chances against/60, 30th in high-danger chances against/60 and dead last once again in expected goals against/60. Their 2.79 actual goals against/60 isn’t far above their 2.62 expected mark, so this Canucks back end has deserved its even-strength fate to be sure.
The bleeding hasn’t stopped of late, either. They surrendered eight goals across a two-game set with the Ottawa Senators, went into Toronto and allowed nine more in dropped both of those games before surrendering last night’s five-spot to these Oilers. They’ve actually done so while not giving up a single power play goal in that time, although they’ve been short only six times over their last five games. Still, they’re a clean 12 for 12 over their last six contests.
Nonetheless, the 5v5 defense is brutal and that was always going to be the way it would go this season.
With Braden Holtby taking the loss last night, it’s Thatcher Demko’s crease tonight for the rematch, at least it should be, although we don’t have confirmation on that as of yet.
Assuming it’s Demko, he’ll carry a 2.88 GAA and .913 Sv% into action across 28 appearances, turning in a 12-15-1 record in that time. Truthfully, those aren’t bad numbers by any means considering the pressure he is under each and every night playing behind this Canucks blueline.
Much of that work comes from a red-hot stretch during the month of April, but unfortunately the 25-year-old has been cooled off. Demko has now surrendered at least four goals in four of his last five starts, losing all five of those contests. He’s allowed nine goals over his last two starts while posting an .852 Sv% in that time.
Demko has been good at times, poor at times and under siege all the time. We’ll see if he can pull off a miracle and keep this red-hot Oilers offense and the world’s best player in check tonight.
Oilers vs. Canucks NHL Pick
McDavid dismantled this Canucks back end last night, and it was already a tired group in that one. On back-to-back nights, I don’t see any evidence that it should be any different tonight.
The Canucks are physically and emotionally drained after having their season shut down and started back up and thrown in the fire of three-games-in-four-nights scenarios. I don’t blame them at all for that, but I do blame their GM for giving them this personnel on the back end as it just wasn’t going to work from the start.
The Canucks give up shots, scoring chances and goals with the worst of em’. Without Pettersson, they just haven’t been able to score, especially with trying to out-hustle a far more rested opponent on a nightly basis.
Barring a miracle, stand-on-your head performance from Demko, the Oilers should have their way again tonight. I see value in the Oilers on the puck line again in this one tonight.