This one is a pretty easy pick for me. I just can’t see the Blackhawks being able to do much in this series. They’re too young and inexperienced, despite having some storied veterans still hanging around to make things interesting.
The Oilers have had a strong season and are the No.5 seed. They narrowly missed making the cut of the top-four teams for the round robin play, coming up three points shy of the Golden Knights.
Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are studs that most teams have a hard time containing. With the best power play in the NHL and the second-best penalty kill, I see the Oilers making some noise in the playoffs.
For the last team into the 24-team format, the No.12 seeded Blackhawks have uncertainty with their goaltending at the moment. Corey Crawford has missed all of training camp after being deemed “unfit to play or participate”, but he’s making a comeback per the Chicago Tribune.
Better late than never, but the Blackhawks are still weak in this important area of the ice. Especially considering the offensive juggernaut they’re up against with Edmonton
The Blackhawks will need their stars, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat to have a big series if they have any hope of advancing. They’re a storied team that has won the Stanley Cup multiple times.
Chicago might steal one game in this thanks to their veteran stars that have a history of making noise in the playoffs, but it ends there.
The Oilers, led by two of the very best in the NHL, are just too big of a hurdle for them to clear in this qualifying round. But it’s going to be fun and entertaining to watch two storied franchises battle it out.