56 games in the books and whole lot of O, Canada! still left to be played.
When these two renew acquaintances in the postseason for the first time since the Jets relocated from Atlanta in 2011, both look to right some ships. Edmonton finished off the last ten games in the season going 7-3-0 while Winnipeg ended 3-7-0. Just based off the last ten games, Edmonton has the better edge going into the first round matchup.
How We Got Here?
It’s clear…Connor McDavid. This team is clearly driven by the success of Connor McDavid, who clinched the Art Ross Trophy with a 105 point (33 goals, 72 assists) and by doing so, had the highest percentage of points per team goals, registering a point on 57.38% of the Oilers’ goals. That stat alone is just insane. However, McDavid’s not the only one who had a great season.
Leon Draisaitl also had a fantastic regular season. Draisaitl, last season’s Hart winner, recorded 84 points (31G, 53A) in 56 games as well. Draisaitl had 17 points in Edmonton’s final eight games.
In order for Edmonton to get past Winnipeg, both McDavid and Draisaitl need to be on their A+ game and click on all cylinders.
The big question mark for the Oilers comes down to one simple thing. Goaltending. Mike Smith has been alright in goal but the question there is do the Oilers have a strong enough presence to make it far in the postseason. If Edmonton wants to get past Winnipeg in the first round, McDavid, Draisaitl, and the rest of the line-up need to have a complete game.
The Jets finished the season with the record of 30-23-3, winning their last two contests to end the season but finished losing seven out of the last ten. If the Jets expect to get past the Oilers, they will need to be able to contend and stop Edmonton’s scoring.
When Patrik Laine was traded in the middle of the season for Pierre-Luc Dubois, it was not as eyeball raising. Dubois has been alright on the ice since the trade. Nikolaj Ehlers has a question mark around him right now, as he is dealing with an injury. Ehlers has been a special player during the season, having a 46 point season (21G, 25A) in 47 games played.
Another gifted player to watch for in the postseason is Mark Scheifele. He had a 63 point season (21G, 42A) in all 56 games played. If you have Scheifele, Ehlers as well as Blake Wheeler all playing their A game, they match-up pretty well against McDavid and Draisaitl but that all comes down to Connor Hellebuyck in net.
The big question mark surrounding Winnipeg is overall play. Had it not been for a bigger collapse late in the season of Montreal, Winnipeg very well could have slipped into the fourth seed in the North Division. For me personally, it does not seem like that the Jets have a lot of confidence in themselves, let alone some of the coaching staff. If Winnipeg wants to get past Edmonton, the entire group needs to get together and play tough games against a highly offensive skilled Oilers squad.
Series Prediction: Edmonton in 6