Edmonton returns to the playoffs after a two-year absence, but has a lot of work to do to overturn its fragile 1-3-0 record in four previous meetings with Chicago ahead of Saturday afternoon’s game at Rogers Place. .
The Oilers closed the shortened regular season schedule with losses in three of their last four games. However, with the long hiatus of the season allowing the team to recover from a rash of injuries sustained by key staff, including captain Connor McDavid, the Oilers have emerged as strong -175 favorites at venues. betting line to take out the 12th-seeded Blackhawks, and sit down like a +400 bet to sweep the streak.
The Blackhawks open their first playoff series in three years with +130 game opener underdogs. Chicago has posted a poor 32-38-8 record this season, but ended its schedule with wins in five of its last seven games.
Later on Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens start the first game of their best five-game series with the Pittsburgh Penguins with +145 underdogs, while the Calgary Flames face the Winnipeg Jets with -120 chalk.
Two-time losing eight in a row, the Canadiens struggled in the final four weeks of the season, posting wins in just four of their last 14 games. Montreal also came out flat in this week’s exhibition clash with Toronto, failing to convert on six power play chances while giving up a pair of shorthanded goals in a 4-2 loss.
After being bitten by the injury virus that contributed to a sad 3-8-0 stretch run, the Penguins hit the ice for Game 1 as a -165 favorites on the NHL odds. Pittsburgh has a lot to prove after being swept aside by the New York Islanders in the first round of last season’s playoffs and is listed as a strong -235 bet on NHL playoff prizes.
The Flames will be looking for redemption after following last year’s failed playoffs with a back-to-back performance this season. However, Calgary has been limited to one goal in four of its last six meetings with the Jets, which have a +110 chance to give the Flames another playoff disappointment.
Elsewhere on Saturday, the Carolina Hurricanes are -130 favorites in their Game 1 with the New York Rangers, while the New York Islanders face the Florida Panthers as a -120 favorites.