80% of NHL analysts pick Dallas Stars over Edmonton Oilers

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Eighty per cent of NHL analysts and writers are picking the Dallas Stars over the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL’s Western Conference finals.

Here are the highlights:

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At NHL.com, 12 out of 15 analysts and writers picked the Stars over the Oilers.

At ESPN 19 out of 24 experts, including P.K. Subban, picked the Stars to win.

At the Fourth Period, 13 out of 14 analysts and writers picked the Stars.

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NHL network hockey Analyst Mike Kelly’s model had the Oilers with a slight edge, a 54 per cent chance of winning.

At Spittin’ Chiclets, three (Brian McConagle, Paul Bissonnette and Mike Grinnell) picked the Stars, two picked the Oilers (Ryan Whitney and Matt Murley).

At USA Today, the hockey writers were split, Jace Evans picking the Oilers and Mike Brehm the Stars

Mike Brehm: “(Dallas) play a strong defensive game, which helps them thrive on the road. They just need to be better on the penalty kill.”

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Jace Evans: “I have no real reason to pick Edmonton. The Stars’ goaltending is significantly better. Their defense is better. Their forward depth is better. So why am I picking the Oilers? Because the Oilers have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, two of the best players of their generation in their prime.”

At Dobber Hockey, 13 out of 16 analysts picked the Stars over the Oilers.

“The Stars were the most popular pick among our writers for the Stanley Cup before the playoffs started, so it should be no surprise that they are the choice in the Western Conference Final. As well, they will be the more well-rested team in this series with home-ice advantage.”

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At the Athletic, they give the Stars an 87 per cent chance of beating the Oilers.

The Athletic’s Sean Gentille: “I’d say this seems lopsided, but I’ve also watched Stuart Skinner over the past couple weeks, so … maybe it’s not lopsided.”

The Athletic’s Shayna Goldman: “If the Oilers’ power play can dominate, maybe we’ll have a series.:

The Athletic’s Jesser Granger: “The Stars are the deeper team, and controlled even-strength play against both the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche. Considering Edmonton has an expected goal share below 50 percent at five-on-five (against weaker teams in the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings), that is likely to be the case in this series.”

Adam Proteau of the Hockey News picked the Stars in six.

“Dallas is a team brilliantly constructed by GM Jim Nill, and they’ve got a slew of veterans and youngsters – Joe Pavelski, Roope Hintz, Jason Robertson, Wyatt Johnston, Miro Heiskanen and numerous others – who can be difference-makers against any opponent… The Stars’ defense is better than the Oilers’, and their forwards are at least as good as Edmonton’s. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are the best skaters in the series, but Dallas also has its share of terrific individuals. Their performance against Vegas and Colorado demonstrated how well-balanced the team is, and Edmonton will have its hands full against them in the West final.”

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At CBS sports, the two writers Chris Bengel and Austin Nivison both picked Dallas.

Chris Bengel: “On top of getting supreme production in the crease, Dallas has been a lethal goal-scoring team throughout the season. After all, this is a team that finished third in the NHL in goals-per-game (3.59), and tallied at least four goals in three of their six games against the Avalanche in their previous series. The Stars have an abundance of goal scorers with eight players netting at least 20 goals during the regular season.”

Austin Nivison: “The biggest difference between these two teams is in the crease. The Stars have a bona fide No. 1 goaltender in Jake Oettinger, and the Oilers had to split minutes in their previous series between Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard. Oettinger has a .918 save percentage in the playoffs. Skinner and Pickard have combined for a .888 save percentage.”

And, of course, we know that commentators in Dallas are supremely confident of a Stars win, they see the Stars making the Oilers their pastsies, their hand puppets, totally dominating them, drinking their milkshakes.

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My take

1. As I said earlier, a lot will have to go right for Edmonton to win this series. I see it going seven games. If it goes that far, it means the two teams are relatively close and anything can happen. As an Oilers fan, I’ll pick the Oil in seven. If I was betting cold cash, though, I’d bet on the Stars, as I’m not interested in letting any betting house drink my milkshake.

2. And, again, as I said earlier, it’s worth noting that after Kris Knoblauch took over the Oilers in November, Edmonton had 97 points in 69 games, Dallas had 94 points in 69 games. Edmonton’s goal differential was +72. Dallas was +55.

At the Cult of Hockey

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