NHL Playoffs: Round Two, Edmonton Oilers vs Anaheim Ducks
Second Round NHL Playoffs: Anaheim Ducks 4-0 sweep over Calgary Flames set a statement for future playoff matches. With Edmonton’s 4-2 series over San Jose. The two offensive juggernauts will face off in round two of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.
Second Round NHL Playoffs; The playoff history between these two is bleak, the last time Edmonton and Anaheim faced off was in 2005-2006 season in the Conference finals. Edmonton went onto to win that series 4-1. Fast forward eleven years and the two are back again to face off for only the second time in the second round of the playoffs.
Anaheim and Edmonton were neck and neck in the NHL regular season standings, Anaheim finished with 105 points and Edmonton with 103 points. Rightfully so regular season statistics don’t mean much, especially when it comes to playoff hockey, and the second round. From this point on it’s anyone’s game no matter where you finished in the regular season. Look at Nashville and St. Louis. Although Edmonton had more goals for in the regular season by a margin, with a roster filled with offensive power Anaheim has to be confident heading into round two. In just four playoff games Anaheim had five players tally 4 plus points, lead by Ryan Getzlaf with 3 goals, 2 assists. The scoring was not predominantly held to Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell has 5 points, Shea Theodore, plus Nate Thompson, Kevin Bieksa has four points. Along with Patrick Eaves and Corey Perry with three. Edmonton again another team that has been offensively powered all season and for a portion of the playoffs, despite getting blanked against San Jose in game four, Edmonton’s offense was still productive. Given the fact, Edmonton played former Stanley Cup contenders their road was perceived to be a bit tougher. Led by captain Connor McDavid with 2 goals and 2 assists some unlikely heroes came to play for Edmonton, like Oscar Klefbom and Zack Kassian. Along with Leon Draisaitl waiting to break open and Patrick Maroon. The two offenses are fairly balanced, not one can get the upper hand in this situation.
Anaheim played without Cam Fowler for the entire first round and Sami Vatanen for three games as well. Being the backbone of that defense Anaheim managed to sweep Calgary. Anaheim held opponents to 29.6 shots against during the regular season and 197 goals against, only two teams were better in that category.
Despite letting up nine goals over four playoff games, Anaheim’s defensive line up was a bit shaken. Although Oscar Klefbom and Andrej Sereka have managed to produce for Edmonton thus far. Shea Theodore and Kevin Bieksa stepped up and filled to void quite well for the Ducks. The fact Anaheim was able to get production from two defensemen who are not expected to produce like that was something special. Now if Cam Fowler is able to return this series it will just settle the debate a tad easier, and that is why Anaheim gets the upper hand in this situation.
I’ve touched on this earlier in one of my previous articles about Edmonton. As I spoke about Cam Talbot and his playoff experience doubts, Talbot answered the bell against San Jose. Knocking off
former Stanley Cup contenders in your first legitimate playoff run is not too shabby. Despite getting shelled in game four letting in seven goals, Talbot turned the page and helped Edmonton to their first playoff victory in eleven some odd years. Not taking away credit from John Gibson, but the 23-year-old was yanked one game this series and has been to the playoffs a previous three times and has not shown much success. Talbot saw astronomical minutes this season and continues to be the backbone of this young Edmonton team, with Talbot playing well in net, Anaheim will not have an easy time with this team. Due to Talbot’s success over the past two years and Gibson’s playoff woes, Edmonton gets the upper hand in this situation.
Series Prediction: The games have yet to be announced, but I’m taking Edmonton in seven.
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