Playoff Preview Western Conference Part 2

Edmonton Oilers and LA Kings; Photo Credit via NHL.com

Let’s get into part two of the playoff preview in the Western Conference. Here are the others in the first-round mashups. The Oilers and the Kings will take on one another, the Oilers leading at 104 points and the Kings at 99. Then between the Avalanche and the Predators, Avalanche came in first in the Central Division while the Predators were a second wild card.

KINGS (3P) VS OILERS (2P)

LA Kings: 44-27-11

Edmonton Oilers: 49-27-6

It is more likely of Edmonton to beat Los Angeles considering the fact that they are given home-ice advantage since they came in second. The Oilers have a better record when playing at home in Rogers Arena, this is no surprise. LA will also have to watch out for the dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. With 123 points, McDavid set a new career best and is a top-five favorite in the Hart Trophy odds.

Impact Players For Kings

  • Anze Kopitar: 19 goals and 48 assists in 81 games
  • Adrian Kempe: 35 goals and 19 assists in 78 games
  • Alex Iafallo: 17 goals and 20 assists in 79 games

Impact Players For Oilers

  • Connor McDavid: 44 goals and 79 assists in 80 games
  • Leon Draisaitl: 55 goals and 55 assists in 80 games
  • Zach Hyman: 27 goals and 27 assists in 76 games
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: 11 goals and 39 assists in 63 games

Goaltenders

The Oilers’ netminder will be Mike Smith. Averaging 2.70 goals per game, Smith has surrendered 1,720 goals overall. Smith has appeared in 627 games and recorded 38,260 minutes of action. He has a career record of 299-263-78. He’s stopped 17,869 of the 19,589 shots he’s faced, giving him a save percentage of .912.

On the other side will be Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. Quick has played in 712 games in goal throughout his pro hockey career. He has a win-loss record of 359-262-78 and has started 702 games. In Quick’s career, opponents have scored 1,673 goals against him, with a goals-against-average of 2.42 per game. Quick has saved 17,489 of 19,162 shot attempts. With 41,517 minutes, he has a save percentage of.913.

My Pick: I’d be going with the Oilers because of their better record and guys on the ice. It will be challenging for the Kings to go against McDavid and Draisaitl with Smith in the net. And although Quick is an impeccable netminder, I’m sure his defense on the ice won’t be able to protect him thoroughly throughout the games.

AVALANCHE (1C) VS PREDATORS (2WC)

Colorado Avalanche: 56-19-7

Nashville Predators: 45-30-7

The Avalanche will take the home-ice advantage with 119 points. Colorado came in first in the Western Conference, while Nashville earned the second wild-card spot. In their last ten playoff appearances, the Avs have failed to advance past the second round. But they may be in favor since the Predators’ record isn’t great this season. Being in bad shape, the Predators dropped five of their last seven games (one being with Arizona). Nashville ended with 97 points in the regular season, one of the lowest scores.

Impact Players For Avalanche

  • Mikko Rantanen: 36 goals and 56 assists in 75 games
  • Nathan MacKinnon: 32 goals and 56 assists in 65 games
  • Nazem Kadri: 28 goals and 59 assists in 71 games
  • Cale Makar: 28 goals and 58 assists in 77 games

Impact Players For Predators

  • Roman Josi: 23 goals and 73 assists in 80 games
  • Matt Duchene: 43 goals and 43 assists in 78 games
  • Filip Forsberg: 42 goals and 42 assists in 69 games

Goaltenders

Starting with the Predators goaltender Juuse Saros, there is the thought of whether he will be in a healthy condition to play. If his lower body injury will not allow him to play then the Predators will have to put David Rittich on the ice and call up Connor Ingram from the minor league. Saros has stopped 20.7 goals more than projected, which puts him in sixth place among NHL starts. But even if Saros is fully health, he’d be no match against the offense of the Avs. Colorado’s netminder, Darcy Kuemper, has enjoyed a breakout season, with a.921 save percentage leading at seventh in the league.

My Pick: Avalanche since they got the healthier team and better offense on ice. Here it’s clear to see that the Avs are the better team.

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