Chris Peters makes four picks for Game 2 of the Western Conference finals between the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers.
Avalanche to beat Oilers
Well, we know the Oilers really aren’t fond of Game 1. They’ve lost all three in this postseason, but clearly it hasn’t stopped them from getting this far. Once again Edmonton is playing from behind and really can’t afford to let this series to get to 2-0. That said, this Colorado Avalanche team is who we thought they were – a speedy, offensive juggernaut that will outscore you if they have to.
The Avs letting Edmonton back into that game has to be a concern for head coach Jared Bednar, as does the fact that starting goalie Darcy Kuemper may not be available to play. He left Game 1 with an upper-body injury and his status remains unclear. Backup Pavel Francouz is capable, but is a bit of a downgrade from Kuemper. That will be something worth watching very closely as I think Kuemper’s ability to play could loom large in this game, at least from a total goals perspective.
This game has the potential to be explosive, though Edmonton goalie Mike Smith will come into the game with something to prove. Just as he did in all three of his other Game 1 starts, he followed up a clunker with a brilliant performance. I just think he’s facing a team that is already difficult to slow down and got enough of a scare in Game 1, they won’t let that happen again.
Colorado knows they have to tighten up and play better in their own zone, while Edmonton at least knows they’re never really out of a game. They have enough offensive talent to come back if they need to. They just can’t keep putting themselves in a position to chase the game against Colorado because that just won’t go well for them.
The Avalanche are the league’s best team, didn’t have their best in Game 1 and still won. I think they’ll grab another one on home ice before shifting over to Edmonton.
Over 7 total goals
Well, we all saw the last game, right? While I think the likelihood of this being a goal parade is much lower at this point, there’s plenty of reason to keep thinking “over” in this series. You’ve got two of the most offensively-gifted teams in the league, boasting four of the 10 best players in the NHL today.
Meanwhile, Mike Smith is coming off of just being pulled and even though I expect him to be way better, I also expect the Avalanche to play even tougher in this game and continue to pepper him with shots and challenge him with their speed.
Lastly, we don’t yet know the status of Darcy Kuemper, which is worth watching as mentioned above. Pavel Fracouz is very capable of taking the team and getting them a win, but he had some tough moments late in the game against Edmonton and I think it’s going to be tough for him to get into a rhythm. I believe the Oilers will challenge him early and often and expect both teams to be off to the races in Game 2.
Zach Hyman anytime goal scorer
Hyman is on some kind of heater. He has at least one goal in each of his last six games, is logging massive minutes in all situations for Edmonton and seems to be one of his teammates’ favorite targets to find with a pass. He’s been pretty much automatic of late, looking especially strong at the net-front.
Hyman has scored nine total goals so far in these playoffs and no one has seemingly been able to take him away from his parking spot near the opposition net. It’s really hard for a secondary scorer to keep up a pace like he has, but beyond scoring a ton of goals, Hyman has been a shots-on-goal machine. He has four or more shots on goal in eight of his 13 playoff appearances this year, including 21 over his last four games alone. He’s going to have opportunities.
Evander Kane and Gabriel Landeskog to both score 1+ points
I thought I’d take a look at the values being offered for some of the player specials and found this one. It’s two key players for their respective teams, it’s two players that had two points each in Game 1 and they’re giving pretty good value right now.
Kane has scored in three of his last four games and has points in five of his last six. He has logged 19 or more minutes of ice time in five of his last six games as well. So he’s getting ample opportunity to get out there and produce.
Landeskog has points in five of his last seven games and has been held off the score sheet in four of 11 contests so far this season. Like Kane, he logs big minutes, upwards of 21 per game. I like this as a lower-risk value play.