by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
The Edmonton Oilers will renew an old playoff rivalry on Saturday when they hit the ice for Game 1 of their Western Conference qualifying series with the Chicago Blackhawks as strong -155 favorites on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Edmonton enjoyed a major resurgence this season after finishing outside the playoff picture in each of the past two years, and will be looking to claim a third straight opening-round series win when they return to action in Saturday afternoon’s game at Rogers Place.
Blackhawks vs Oilers | OddsShark Matchup Report
Winners of just 35 games last season, the Oilers opened the current campaign on a tear, posting victories in seven of their first eight contests. While the team subsequently battled both injuries and inconsistency, they maintained steady form after New Year’s Day, posting wins in 16 of their final 28 contests.
The Oilers will be looking to reverse a 1-3-0 run in their four most recent meetings with Chicago. Helping their cause will be the return to health of James Neal, Kris Russell, and Oscar Klefbom during the lengthy three-month layoff. As well, Oilers captain Connor McDavid was sidelined by an upper body injury and a subsequent illness back in early February.
Edmonton will also get a chance to atone for their loss in four games to the Blackhawks when these teams last met in the playoffs, in the 1992 Western Conference Final. But while that series victory clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Final for Chicago, the current edition of the Blackhawks are faced with a steep challenge to go deep this time around.
Pegged as +135 underdogs at online betting sites for Saturday’s Game 1 matchup, the Blackhawks claimed the 12th seed in the Western Conference despite closing out the regular season with a middling 32-30-8 record, putting them in last place in the Central Division.
While that represents a step in the right direction for Chicago after finishing well out of contention in each of the past two seasons, the Blackhawks could be hard pressed to keep pace with the high-flying Oilers in postseason action. The Blackhawks surrendered an NHL-worst 35.1 shots on goal per game this season, and while the return of goalie Corey Crawford helps, value can be found in the -115 odds of the total going OVER 6.0 in Saturday’s contest.