High-octane Oilers head out West

High-octane Oilers head out West

Most experts aren’t surprised by Anaheim’s current perch atop the Pacific Division. The biggest challenger to the Ducks’ reign, though, is well ahead of schedule.

Edmonton, aiming to make the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, has a great opportunity to turn even more heads when it hits the Honda Center tonight. Online sports book Bovada.lv nonetheless gives Randy Carlyle’s crew odds of -150 to emerge victorious. The Oilers, on the other hand, represent +130 underdogs.

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With Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl leading the way, Edmonton boasts a 7-3-1 record so far in January. As the NHL’s top scorer, McDavid tends to net the bulk of attention at Rogers Place. Yet the lesser-known Draisaitl continues to establish himself as an elite performer. The Germany native owns seven points in the last six affairs.

On the other side, Anaheim’s coming off a 3-2 triumph over Winnipeg. The Ducks have gone 10-2-2 since Dec. 29 to solidify their postseason bona fides. Carlyle, though, won’t be able to lean on one of his most deadly skaters this evening. Forward Jakob Silverberg remains sidelined after absorbing a head injury against Colorado last week.

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Considering the vast array of offensive playmakers on the ice here, it’s extremely tempting to forecast a flood of goals. Yet both Cam Talbot and John Gibson are faring quite well in net. In the end, look for the Ducks’ superior forechecking to win the day.

 

WEDNESDAY NHL FREE PICK: OILERS/DUCKS UNDER 5 GOALS

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