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Oilers vs Stars Third Round Playoff Series Preview

NHL Predictions

We here at Last Word have been providing readers with all they need to know for the entirety of the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. As we arrive at the final four teams, today we will provide preview and predictions for the Western Conference showdown between the Edmonton Oilers and the Dallas Stars. Will the Oilers superstars carry them through the series? Or will the Dallas Stars high-end depth be too relentless for the Oilers to contain. As of right now, the oddsmakers have the Stars favoured at -135. Let’s dig-in and find out why.

The Edmonton and Dallas Playoff Series Prediction Based on the Season Series

From the regular season series, the Stars won two games and lost one in overtime. However, this is definitely a case of throw the regular season stats out the window. In the teams’ first meeting, it was early November, and Head Coach Jay Woodcroft was behind the bench for the Oilers. The Oilers were struggling and trying to figure things out, and pummeled Stars netminder Scott Wedgewood with 49 shots. Furthermore, Sam Gagner scored two third period tallies, but it wasn’t enough as the Stars emerged victorious 4-3. Also, the loss came in a stretch where the Oilers were 1-7-1.

The next game was much more indicative of what we would expect in the playoffs. With six, second period goals, including one by Matt Duchene with 58 seconds remaining, the score was tied at 3-3. Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard would win the game early in overtime on a wrist-shot, but again, the three-on-three play, is not totally reflective of the anticipated playoff atmosphere. It is also noteworthy from this contest that Calvin Pickard was in net for the Oilers and did well enough to earn the two points facing 27 shots.

Finally, the third and final meeting between the clubs. Again, throw it out the window. 5-0 Stars, shots 35-32 Oilers, hits 29-19…Oilers. You get the idea. This was a case of the Oilers coming up against a white hot Stars team pushing towards the playoffs. The Stars had catapulted up the Central Division standings, and this win was the eighth in-a-row at the time for the club. Therefore, the regular season was a result of a couple of streaky teams. Also, Woodcroft, Gagner, and Wedgewood, at least two of the three, will have no impact on this playoff series. So, the best we can draw from the season series, is from that second game, the 4-3 overtime one. The Oilers should be able to generate shots from the high-end talent, but with Jake Oettinger in net and the Stars depth, every game will be a grind.

Oilers Key to Victory

The two main ideas for the Oilers, is their goal scoring and their goaltending. Our prediction will depend on if the Dallas Stars sustained attack will be able to wear down the Oilers big guns? Or will the Oilers superstars like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins be able to find a way to breakthrough? There’s one of two ways that the Oilers offence can approach generating goals. If for some reason their high-flying approach, and wheeling McDavid and Draisaitl isn’t working, they will have to get dirty. They will need Zach Hyman jamming them home from the goal-crease. Also, guys like Evander Kane will have to use their strength to establish net drives, basically getting in Oettinger’s grill. Finding out what he has on the barbeque. Maybe mixing in some clap bombs from Bouchard with heavy-traffic in front.

So besides scoring goals like the Oilers always seem to find a way to do, they need to keep goals out of their net as well. Luckily, thanks to some crafty gameplans and strategies from Knoblauch in the previous round against the Vancouver Canucks, the goalies have some rhythm. After Stuart Skinner started the series, he kind of hit a wall around Game 3 of the series. He got pulled after allowing four goals on 15 shots. In contrast, after that point, the Oilers tandem of he and Calvin Pickard did go into lockdown mode.

It did help the Oilers seemed to either really tighten up defensively, or maybe the Canucks couldn’t generate offence, but probably a combination of the two. In any sense, the two combined for a solid .912 SV% and only surrendered eight goals in the just over four games. However, don’t expect the Stars to be shutdown offensively as easily as the Canucks seemed to be throughout the series. The Oilers defence will need to figure out how to slow the deep, three-line sustained Star attack. That will be a huge focus for the club, if their depth players can match the play of the Stars depth guys.

The Edmonton Oilers Unsung Hero Thus Far in 2024 Playoffs

Stars Key to Victory

For the Dallas Stars to secure a berth in the Stanley Cup finals, they need to stick to do what they do. And that is, establish a very strong three-line rotation, and have it backed up by the stellar Oettinger in goal. The Stars had eight forwards score 21 or more goals this regular season. They do a fantastic job of mixing youth with vets, on offence and defence. Guys in their 30s, like Joe Pavelski, Tyler Seguin, Matt Duchene, and Jamie Benn all had over 50 point seasons. Meanwhile, Thomas Harley on defence had a breakout season. The 22-year-old had 47 points. Also, having a veteran like Chris Tanev come over from the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline was a big addition. The Stars are a very deep team and can attack in a number of ways. They need to balance a bend-not-break approach against the Oilers top players. And stay patient, as their depth wears down the Oilers, they need to capitalize on the opportunities when they present themselves.

Our Final Prediction Between the Oilers and Stars

The Oilers and Stars did have a competitive and exciting playoff rivalry going back to the 90s. However, the Stars historically have come out on top, having won the past five playoff series against the Oilers. The last Oiler win was powered by a Todd Marchant Game 7, overtime winner. But that was all the way back in 1997. Fast forward some 27-years later, and one key to this series will be injuries. Adam Henrique and Roope Hintz are key injuries for their respective squads. And both will factor in huge, whether they play or not, in the battle of the depth of the lineups. Moreover, when it comes to our exact series prediction, we focus on the Oilers superstars versus the Stars lineup as a whole. The top players seem to be on a mission and the Stars will not be able to contain them over the long haul of a seven game series.

Prediction: Oilers takes the series 4-2.

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Main photo credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


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