The North Division playoffs are starting later than every other division, but it’s finally time, as the Edmonton Oilers (35-19-2) host the Winnipeg Jets (30-23-3) Wednesday night at the Rogers Place. The NHL decided to delay the start of the North Division playoffs until the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks closed out the regular season, for reasons that are still unknown (read as: “Because the NHL said so).
In this Oilers vs Jets series preview, I’ll break down all you need to know before Edmonton and Winnipeg take the ice, along with a winning pick for who will advance in the 2021 NHL Playoffs.
Oilers vs Jets Series Schedule
GAME ONE: Wednesday, May 19, 9:00 P.M.
GAME TWO: Friday, May 21, 9:00 P.M.
GAME THREE: Sunday, May 23, TBD
GAME FOUR: Monday, May 24, TBD
GAME FIVE*: Wednesday, May 26, TBD
GAME SIX*: Friday, May 28, TBD
GAME SEVEN*: Sunday, May 30, TBD
* = if needed, all times Eastern
Oilers vs Jets Regular Season Results
January 24: Oilers 4, Jets 2
January 26: Jets 6, Oilers 4
February 15: Jets 6, Oilers 5
February 17: Oilers 3, Jets 2
March 18: Oilers 2, Jets 1
March 20: Oilers 4, Jets 2
April 17: Oilers 3, Jets 0
April 26: Oilers 6, Jets 1
April 28: Oilers 3, Juets 1
Mikko Koskinen: 13-13-0, 3.17 GAA, .899 save percentage
Mike Smith: 21-6-2, 2.31 GAA, .923 save percentage, three shutouts
Laurent Brossoit: 6-6-0, 2.42 GAA, .918 save percentage, one shutout
Connor Hellebuyck: 24-17-3, 2.58 GAA, .916 save percentage, four shutouts
Oskar Klefbom – shoulder, expected return: September 2021 (hasn’t played this season)
Kris Russell – lower body, expected return: May 21
Kailer Yamamoto – undisclosed, expected return: May 19
Nathan Beaulieu – shoulder, expected return: September 2021
Andrew Copp – undisclosed, expected return: May 19
Pierre-Luc Dubois – undisclosed, expected return: May 19
Nikolaj Ehlers – upper body, expected return: May 19
Tucker Poolman – undisclosed, expected return: May 19
Paul Stastny – undisclosed, expected return: May 19
Special Teams Stats
Power Play: 27.6% (48/174), first in NHL, four shorthanded goals against
Penalty Kill: 82.5% (127/154), ninth in NHL, two shorthanded goals
Power Play: 23.0% (37/161), seventh in NHL, three shorthanded goals against
Penalty Kill: 80.5% (120/145), 13th in NHL, three shorthanded goals
Oilers vs Jets Storylines
Connor McDavid’s incredible season ended with a bang. The best player in the league right now, McDavid put up 33 goals and 72 assists in 56 games. Read that again – 105 points in 56 games.
McDavid became just the ninth player in NHL history to score 100+ points in 53 games, and he had the highest point per game season (1.875) since Adam Oates (1.885) for the 1992-93 Boston Bruins. He had more assists than the closest non-Oiler had total points (Brad Marchand of the Bruins with 69).
Winnipeg struggled down the stretch, and a big part of the reason for that was the absence of Nikolaj Ehlers. Ehlers last played on April 24, and the Jets went 3-6-0 without him in the lineup. That losing skid (which saw a pair of losses against the Oilers) may have taken Winnipeg out of position for home ice in this series.
No goaltender started more games this season than Connor Hellebuyck (45). Since the 2016-17 regular season, Hellebuyck has more regular season starts (280) than any other goalie. Including playoffs, he’s up to 307, two ahead of Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Jets have not advanced past the first round of the playoffs since the 2017-18 playoffs. This year sees Edmonton’s third playoff appearance since their loss in Game 7 of the 2005-06 Stanley Cup Finals, all three coming since McDavid was drafted. Whichever team loses this series will face serious organizational questions moving forward.
Both these teams have serious concerns about their abilities defensively. They give up more than 2.7 goals per game and more than 30 shots per game. In six of their nine matchups, they’ve hit the over total. We should expect a ton of goals in this series, and from a betting standpoint, taking the over will definitely be a safe bet.
While I think Winnipeg manages to keep things close, I don’t think they’ll be able to get by McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and the dominant Oilers offense. They may take a game or two at home, but unless something happens to McDavid, I don’t see a way Winnipeg advances.
SERIES PREDICTION: Edmonton Oilers in six games.
Click on the series for other betting previews: