Edmonton Oilers @ Anaheim Ducks – Honda Center at 03:30

My latest hockey Handicap Betting preview turns it’s attention to the Western Conference playoff picture as Anaheim host Edmonton with the series all square at 2 wins apiece. The Ducks showed their resilience in the last encounter by overturning a 2-goal deficit in the second period and grabbing the OT winner to prevent the Oilers from having control of the series.

Edmonton making noise

Despite the defeat yesterday, there is a sense of widespread optimism in Central Alberta. It has been a long time coming following many years of mediocrity that eventually saw them becoming the laughing stock of the NHL. The reason for this tag was because they had the first overall picks in the draft four times between 2010-15.

Their most recent first overall pick, Connor McDavid is arguably the franchise’s most important in their 38 years in the NHL. The 20-year old is already the captain the of the franchise and won his first hardware at senior level with the Art Ross (most points in the regular season). Not to mention that this is only his sophomore year following his injury-riddled rookie campaign. The 2015 U20 World Junior champion with Canada has truly been worth the hype and the Oilers are reaping the rewards. It’s not only the McDavid show in Edmonton. He has a strong stellar cast in Leon Draisaitl, Milan Lucic and Adam Larsson to name a few.

How far can the Ducks go?

With their OT victory over Edmonton you could argue that the onus is on Anaheim to win the series. The Southern California outfit have had mixed postseason results in recent years. Last season’s first round exit to Nashville cost head coach Bruce Boudreau his job. In the preceding year they made it to the conference finals and were defeated by Chicago in 7, in spite of leading the series 3-2.

Captain Ryan Getzlaf put in a dominant display yesterday as he registered 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists). In doing so he surpassed Teemu Selanne’s record for the Ducks of 35 postseason goals, with 36 for the franchise. Getzlaf along with Corey Perry are the sole survivors of Anaheim’s solitary Stanley Cup 10 years ago. The head coach from that campaign Randy Carlyle returned this year and has produced some impressive results in the process. Can the trio lead Anaheim to an unexpected second?

Prediction

As noted earlier, from the two teams you would probably say that Anaheim have the momentum heading into this match, nevertheless Edmonton won both of their games at The Pond so far this series and the Ducks returned the favour at Rogers Place. The value on Anaheim to win in regulation on home ice is very reasonable at 2.24 (-0.5 on the AH market). I wouldn’t be surprised if this series went to 7. Only two points separated them in the regular season.

Handicap Betting Recommendation: Anaheim Ducks –0.5 at 2.24 (excluding OT)

Prices correct at time of writing

By @The_Drewse

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