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A Preview for the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Finals

Evan Bouchard contract; NHL predictions

After becoming the dominant Canadian powerhouse in the NHL’s Western Conference, the Edmonton Oilers look to extend their winning ways against the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference finals of the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. In the first round, Edmonton crushed the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 to move into round two. In round two, Edmonton seemed to have lost the momentum as the Oilers fell to a 3-2 deficit. But then in Game 6, the Oilers finally got their momentum back and clinched the last couple series games, securing a Western Conference finals spot.

The Edmonton Oilers Are in the Western Conference Finals

Offensive Powerhouses

Offensively, Edmonton has had its best looks while keeping the pace fast. Zach Hyman was extremely dominant, having four goals against the Canucks. Moreover, Edmonton may have the best offensive defenceman in the NHL currently. Evan Bouchard is up there with Hyman having four goals against the Canucks, too. Bouchard is having a historic post-season for a defenceman with 20 points already through 12 games. In case you’re wondering, an Edmonton Oiler does hold the record for points by a defenceman in the playoffs. Way back in 1985, Paul Coffey had 12 goals and 25 assists for 37 points in just 18 contests.

While holding a 1-2 record against the Stars during the regular season, Edmonton looks to prove that they are the favourites to win in the West. After getting swept by the Canucks in the regular season, the Oilers should not be counted out due to their record against the Stars.  Edmonton will be an extremely challenging team to beat if the pace is kept up. Edmonton had extremely good looks while keeping up the pace against the Canucks in round two. With how the last few games have gone, it is important to note the projected leading scorers should be Hyman and Bouchard along with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Following up on those three, Edmonton should have Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Mattias Ekholm pushing home the win. Bouchard was also one of the leading scorers against the Stars throughout the regular season.

Defensive Hurdles

On the defensive end, Edmonton still has a ton of work to do. While Stuart Skinner has stepped up his game a bit to clinch the last few games, he leaves the Oilers not having a consistent goaltender. Throughout round two, Skinner averaged a .833 save percentage while Arturs Silovs of Vancouver averaged an astounding .882 in the losing effort. If the Oilers can raise their team save percentage, it is clear that Edmonton will be a front-runner for the Stanley Cup.

Evan Bouchard might be the most underrated defensive man the Oilers have currently. This is purely due to his offensive threat. Bouchard has made the old saying true, that the best offence is a solid defence with his aforementioned 20 points this post-season. If the Oilers can relieve some pressure off Skinner, the Oilers won’t have an issue breaking the Stars’ defence.

This season Edmonton has allowed 236 goals. This number put them at tenth in the league defensively. While this is not the best in the league, it was 20 goals better than last season. If the Oilers can keep up preventing goals while having high-scoring games they will win the Stanley Cup.

Desired Outcomes

Round three between Edmonton and Dallas should be an amazing series. As long as Edmonton keeps up the pressure, there could be another Game 7 thriller or a clean sweep, either way, an Oilers triumph. If Edmonton keeps playing like they want it more, we will see an Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup this year.

Edmonton will have to look to clean up Dallas fast as their 3rd-period defence has cost them many games so far. If Edmonton can manage to win games early in the series and while at home they will be the top contenders to win the series.

Edmonton will have success if they control the puck on the offensive end with few turnovers. Stopping Dallas from picking up offensive momentum early in games, will set the tone for the night and the upcoming games. If Edmonton manages to do these things it will be their year. Round three is set to start tonight, live from Dallas, Texas.

Main photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports


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