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Oilers Have Sprung a Major Leak
Oilers, Blues seek to stay alive
By Bob Duff
Is it a lack of experience, or is it incompetence? Or could it be merely a matter of extreme bad luck? No, we'll go with the first suggestion.
Two games in succession, the Edmonton Oilers have held multi-goal leads over the Anaheim Ducks. And two games in succession, they have squandered those advantages and lost in overtime, leaving the Oilers down 3-2 in the series and looking to stave off elimination on home ice at Rogers Place. That won't be easily done, because the Ducks are a perfect 4-0 on the road in the playoffs.
You can talk all you want about questionable calls going against the Oilers but you have to address the elephant in the room - no team can allow a three-goal lead to escape their clutches with only 3:16 left on the clock the way the Oilers did in Game 4. That's inexcusable and it's the sort of meltdown that teams don't bounce back from easily, especially young teams with limited postseason experience.
It was the second straight game Anaheim rallied for the win from a multi-goal deficit, overcoming Edmonton's 2-0 first-period advantage in Game 4. The Ducks also roared back to win from a three-goal deficit to beat Calgary in Game three of their opening-round series.
Edmonton have found no answers for Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf in this series. He had a goal and an assist in Game 5, shares the playoff lead in goals with eight and is second in points with 15. Reunited with longtime linemate Corey Perry in Game 4, the move has ignited Perry's game. He posted 1-2-3 numbers in Game 4 and potted the OT winner, his second of these playoffs and third of his Stanley Cup career.
Oilers captain Connor McDavid has goals in three straight games but could use some help. The vaunted 666 Line of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Milan Lucic and Jordan Eberle has been schooled by Getzlaf. That trio is a combined minus-12 in the series.
Since three of the last four games in this set were one-goal decisions, why not play the Oilers in the puckline at -1.5 and get odds of +245?
Pick: The Ducks (+109) and the over (5.5)
Down 3-1 in the series, the Blues needed a hero and found it in Jaden Schwartz. The St. Louis' scoring leader with 4-4-8 numbers, Schwartz tied a franchise record with his third game winner of the playoffs. Dmitrij Jaskin, inserted for the injured Alex Steen, scored his first goal since Dec. 3, and that was his only tally of the regular season. Jaskin finished with eight shots, tied for the second-most by a player in a single playoff game this spring.
Winning at Bridgestone Arena will be a tall order for the Blues. Nashville is 4-0 there in the playoffs, and 9-1-1 in the last 11 games going back to the regular season. The Predators have allowed only five goals in those four home playoff victories.
The total has yet to go over five in any of Nashville's home games and has in fact gone under in both tilts against. St. Louis. So you will definitely want to play the under on this one at -130.
Pick: The Predators (-160) and the under (5)
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