For the to start with time in a long time, the Edmonton Oilers entered a postseason with extra answers than inquiries. It seemed like everyone was on the similar web site where the Oilers have been worried: They have finally figured it out and we could get them very seriously as a Stanley Cup contender.

And there was seriously no motive to question Edmonton’s upside. The Oilers went 26-9-3 below new head mentor Jay Woodcroft and went into the postseason riding a 13-2-1 stretch. Enhanced structure under Woodcroft intended that the defense was not torpedoing the great function Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl ended up executing up entrance.

A big component of Edmonton’s next-fifty percent surge was the enjoy of Mike Smith in target. Goaltending is now one of the most risky positions in sports and Smith will take that to a new stage. It is not unusual to see Smith perform lights out for a 20-video game stretch and then have his video game drop off a cliff without having warning for the following 20 online games. 

But likely into the postseason it seemed like items had been clicking for Smith in a way that they hadn’t been for pretty some time. Smith posted a .919 help you save share and a +10.93 Goals Saved Higher than Anticipated (GSAx) from Feb. 1 until eventually the close of the period — a span of 22 games. 

With Smith in form and a protection performing yeoman’s operate in front of him, it looked like the Oilers were deserving of their standing as hefty favorites about the over-achieving Los Angeles Kings in Round 1. You can’t neglect any opponent in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but there ended up a whole lot of indicators that pointed to this becoming a pretty favorable matchup for the Oilers.

Mike Smith salutes crowd.
Mike Smith salutes the group after an Oilers sport.
Getty Photographs

But in genuine Oilers’ manner, they dropped Video game 1 to the Los Angeles Kings many thanks to shoddy goaltending from Smith. In a activity that was a lot more wide open than anticipated and noticed every team file 35+ shots on target and combine for 35 substantial-hazard scoring chances, it was a gaffe by Smith late in the contest that sealed Edmonton’s fate.

Outside the house of Smith’s error and a slow get started in the very first interval, Edmonton performed a pretty first rate sport and, in concept, really should be the benefactors if the groups continue on to trade scoring possibilities at a high clip. Los Angeles does a decent career driving play at 5-on-5 and having pucks to the web, but the Kings underperformed by about 25 objectives as opposed to their anticipated targets for the duration of the common period. Los Angeles just doesn’t come shut to acquiring the finishing expertise that Edmonton does.

The Oilers will be dealing with playoff demons and a ton of tension on Wednesday evening, but bettors should really belief that the group we saw for the whole 2nd half is good more than enough to arrive back again and acquire this series. 

Now, we just need to have to hope that great Mike Smith reveals up.

The Bet: Edmonton Oilers to acquire the collection -115

By Zigong