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Final Season Standings with Futures Market
|Seed||Team||Record||Points||To Win West|
R1 / R2
|To Win Cup|
R1 / R2
|C1||Colorado Avalanche||56-19-7||119||+270 / -120||+320 / +210|
|C3||St. Louis Blues||49-22-11||109||+1000 / +800||+2000 / +1700|
|P1||Calgary Flames||50-21-11||111||+270 / +250||+700 / +600|
|P2||Edmonton Oilers||48-27-6||102||+750 / +650||+1600 / +1400|
Series Previews & Predictions
C1 Colorado Avalanche vs. C3 St. Louis Blues
Series Odds: Avalanche -400
Game 1: 9:30pm EST – Tuesday, 5/17
– G Darcy Kuemper (COL) was poked in the eye in Game 3 after a stick went through the protective bars on his mask. He sat out Game 4 as the swelling was still going down but luckily avoided any serious injury, has full vision back, and will be fine this round.
– D Torey Krug & D Marco Scandella (STL) are both dealing with lower-body injuries with very vague information about whether or not they’ll play this series. “I would say Krug maybe is a possibility, and Scandella is possible for sure,” said head coach Craig Berube.
Regular Season Meetings (Colorado 2-1)
October 16 – St. Louis W 5-3 on the road
October 28 – Colorado W 4-3 on the road
April 26 – Colorado W 5-3 at home
Series Outlook: Just like in Round 1 as -420 series favorites over the Nashville Predators, the Colorado Avalanche are yet again -400 favorites. That’s bookmakers saying don’t even bother showing up to the St. Louis Blues. Colorado hasn’t played since Monday, May 9th because they made quick work of the Predators, sweeping them in dominant fashion by a +12 goal differential. It was tough timing for the Preds though who lost their All-Star goalie Juuse Saros to injury with a week left in the regular season. Avs goalie Darcy Kuemper was forced to leave Game 3 with an eye injury and sat out the clinching Game 4, but is expected to be back in net without any vision problems. Offensively the Avs were as advertised, with 3+ goals scored by 4 different skaters, MacKinnon, Makar, Landeskog, and Toews. Cale Makar might be the best player left in the playoffs, he had 10 point through those 4 games, the best P/GP among all players in Round 1.
The Blues battled the Minnesota Wild in Round 1 in a very evenly matched series, but the Wild were -140 series favorites with the home-ice advantage. The Blues quickly stole that from them in a statement 4-0 shutout victory on the road in Game 1. Ville Husso played incredible, stopping all 37 shots he faced but was replaced by Jordan Binnington after a pair of blowout losses in Games 2 & 3. For a quick pat on our backs, we did mention in our Round 1 Western Conference series preview “It’ll be interesting to see how quickly Craig Berube turns to Binnington if things go wrong early for Husso.” Answer: 6 periods. In the ’18-’19 season, Binnington set an NHL record for most playoffs wins by a rookie goaltender in a single postseason, having won all 16 games needed to win the Stanley Cup. He hasn’t lost yet, carrying the Blues to 3-straight wins down 2-1 to close out the series in 6 games at home. St. Louis was led by Vladimir Tarasenko who had a hat-trick in the 3rd period alone in Game 5 leading his team to victory.
Colorado averaged 3.76 goals per game during the regular season (4th in the NHL). The Avs offense is extremely dangerous with 7+ legitimate scoring threats that many teams would welcome to their 1st line. Leading that group is Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon who finished with 36 and 32 goals, respectively. For the Blues it’s Tarasenko who led his team in goals (34) and was 2nd in assists (48) despite missing a handful of games. Colorado won the regular season series 2-1 but there’s nothing much to look at there as 2 of those games came within the first 2 weeks of the season in October. If anything Blues fans can take a positive spin on the late season loss to Colorado on April 26th. They were 12-1-2 in April before that loss, and captain Ryan O’Reilly quickly admitted they didn’t play well and weren’t focused, but after going down 3-0, they were still able to battle back to a 4-3 deficit late in the 3rd period. The Blues are an experienced been-there-before team who will absolutely go down swinging without being intimidated by the Stanley Cup favorites in Colorado.
P1 Calgary Flames vs. WC1 Dallas Stars
Series Odds: Flames -194
Game 1: 10:30pm EST – Wednesday, 5/18
C Leon Draisaitl (EDM) is dealing with a high-ankle sprain, an injury that would keep players from any other sport out of the lineup for weeks, but Draisaitl was a game-time decision for Game 7, tested it in warmups, and played. Imagine testing a high-ankle sprain? How available and effective he can be this round, and whether he injures it further if he battles through it, is something to watch closely.
Regular Season Meetings (Tied 2-2)
October 16 – Edmonton W 5-2 at home
January 22 – Edmonton W 5-3 at home
March 7 – Calgary W 3-1 at home
March 26 – Calgary W 9-5 at home
Series Outlook: If you’re a pure hockey fan, this is the matchup of Round 2, it’s the Battle of Alberta we all wanted although I’m sure Flames and Oilers fans would’ve preferred to see the Kings or Stars. Bookmakers aren’t projecting this one to be as close as it appears on paper though, giving Calgary a huge series edge as -194 favorites. Not only do they have home-ice, but Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl is battling a high-ankle sprain so it’s completely unknown how effective and available he can be this series. Normally it’s easy to say ‘next man up’ in hockey, but the Oilers are extremely top heavy, relying on Connor McDavid and Draisaitl all season long to produce 30% of the teams points. The regular season matchups between these Canadian rivals certainly favors Calgary despite the series split as the Flames won twice in March although both at home. I expect the saying “it’s not a series until the home team loses” to apply the most in this matchup. The Scotiabank Saddledome (Calgary) & Rogers Place (Edmonton) will be absolutely buzzing all series long.
In Round 1, both teams were shockingly taken to the brink of elimination by a pair of inferior opponents. If Kings and Stars fans are still with us, we mean no offense, but the Oilers were -230 series favorites vs. the Kings and the Flames were -300 vs. the Stars — no one was calling for Game 7 in either. Both teams rode their goalies throughout, Jacob Markstrom (CGY) and Mike Smith (EDM). Markstrom led Round 1 with a 1.53 GAA (182 saves on 192 shots). Smith faced the 3rd most shots (244) stopping 93.8% of them (5th best). The Oilers faced elimination twice, going down 3-2 in the series, but responded with a pair of close wins, the first on the road in Game 6 followed up by Mike Smith’s 2-0 shutout in Game 7 where McDavid had a ridiculous 27:23 of ice time, rolling every other shift. He leads the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs with 14 points (4G/10A). The Flames also went down in their series with the Stars, but were able to tie it back up at 2-2 and take a series lead in Game 5. Their fans had to sweat it out big time though as they failed to close out the series on the road in Game 6, relying on an OT victory in Game 7 as the only second they held the lead in the game. That was the lowest scoring series of the playoffs, led by Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk.
The record for most 40+ goal scores on a team in a single season is 4, and Calgary came just 5 goals shy of the mark with Andrew Mangiapane finishing with 35. Calgary’s 40 goal scorers include Elias Lindholm, Tkachuk, and Gaudreau to round out an offense that averaged 3.55 goals per game in the regular season (6th in the NHL) — but just 2.14 in Round 1. They’re as well rounded as it gets though with Jacob Markstrom in net, finishing the year in elite Top 5 league company in Sv% (.922) and GAA (2.22). For the Oilers, McDavid led the NHL in points (123) with Draisaitl right behind him at 110; together accounting for 30% of scoring as mentioned earlier.