avatar Written by Graeme on Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

The Eastern Conference final kicked off yesterday, and a bit of a surprise for Rangers fans as they were shut out for the first time in the NHL playoffs by the Florida Panthers.

Today we turn our attention to the Western Conference Finals, with the Edmonton Oilers going up against the Dallas Stars.

Here are our thoughts:

Scott: The Oilers beat the Kings in 5 games in round 1 and then needed 7 games to get by the Canucks in round 2. At home they have gone 4-2 and on the road they’ve also gone 4-2.

They have the top 4 players in the league for points in these playoffs. Draisaitl leads the way with 24 points, McDavid has 21, Bouchard has 20, Nugent-Hopkins has 16 and Hyman has 13 including a league leading 11 goals. One issue they have is their goaltending which has been hit or miss with Skinner having a 2.87 GAA and a .881 save percentage.

The Stars beat the Knights in 7 games in round 1 and then beat the Avalanche in 6 games in round 2. At home they have gone 3-4 and on the road they have been much better going 5-1.

They are led by defenseman Heiskanen who leads the team in points with 13. Robertson has 12, Johnston has 11, the veterans Seguin and Benn both have 8 and Dadonov and Hintz both have 6. Pavelski and Marchment have yet to really get going. Oettinger has been good with a 2.09 GAA and a .918 save percentage.

The Stars beat some solid goaltending to get here beating Thomson/Hill in round 1 and Georgiev in round 2. This round they will face probably the weakest goalie they have played in this postseason.

This series will come down to if the Stars can contain the Oilers offense and can the Oilers keep the Stars shot count down for Skinner. I think the edge the Stars have in goaltending will be the difference here. As a Canadian I root for one of our teams to go through so if I’m wrong then I’m OK with that.

Stars win series

Graeme: It’s interesting because prior to looking at the metrics, I was ready to write off the Oilers due to their goaltending issues. But when you look at it – it isn’t really that bad at all.

They have an xGA/60 of 2.59 in the playoffs and 2.72 GA/60. That’s not too shabby at all. Sure their goaltending is letting them down but not as bad as you would think.

The Stars have an excellent xGF/60 of 3.46 but are converting poorly at 2.72. So the big question is whether they can explot the Oilers goaltending.

Corsi and Fenwick wise, Stars have been better. I’d also say that the Stars have had the toughest opponents so that is impressive. And while the Oilers offense has been excellent and is the most dangerous in the playoffs – the Avs is 2nd be st and Stars were able to handle them.

Of course the Avs defensive metrics were worse than the Oilers but still.

So it’s not as clear cut as I would have expected. But Dallas do seem the more complete team, and they offer up some excellent defensive metrics.

Just looking at how both teams got here, and the Oilers goaltending issues – sorry to my Edmonton friends, but I gotta go with Stars to win the series. They have overcome a lot, including that Knights hoodoo and the lethal offense of Colorado.



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