NHL Betting Preview (May 8): Canucks vs. Oilers Game 1 Predictions

Quinn Hughes #43 of the Vancouver Canucks and Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers talk with Referee Kelly Sutherland #11 of their NHL game at Rogers Arena on November 6, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

With the elimination of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets, there are just two Canadian NHL teams remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. At the end of this second-round series, though, there will only be one, as both the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks converge on each other. All eyes across the nation are on this series, which features a pre-season favourite and a team that has cleared many people’s expectations. Let’s take a look at how things shake out heading into Game 1.

Bet on Canucks vs. Oilers GM 1

VAN +118
EDM -128

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The moneyline favourites are the Oilers, coming in between -128 and -140.

Canucks vs. Oilers Best Odds

Canucks Moneyline Odds+120 @ theScore Bet
Oilers Moneyline Odds-128 @ Betano
Puckline oddsOilers -1.5 (+191) @ Pinnacle
Canucks +1.5 (-213) @ Proline+
Series oddsOilers -270, Canucks +220 @ bet365
Total Over 6.5 goals (+115) @ Bet99
Under 6.5 goals (-122) @ Proline+
Time/DateMay 8, 10:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: CBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

Last Matchup

These two teams last played each other three weeks ago, in the final week of the regular season. It was a night that the Canucks needed to solidify their division title, and they showed their care for that with a complete effort. Sam Lafferty opened the scoring late in the first period, and Pius Suter added insurance midway through the second. Evander Kane halved Vancouver’s lead a few minutes later, but Casey DeSmith had no trouble holding back the rest, stopping 32 of 33 to bring home the win. Dakota Joshua added an empty-netter for good measure.

Betting Vancouver Canucks (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS, 2-4 o/u)

The Canucks came into this season expecting to make the playoffs if “everything went right”, in Team President Jim Rutherford’s own words. Well, everything and more went right, as Vancouver exploded out of the gate, and while things slowed down a bit after the All-Star break, they comfortably cleared a playoff spot, beat their preseason total points line by more than 10, and won the Pacific Division.

This set up a favourable matchup in Round 1 against the Nashville Predators, who also cleared most projections with a hard-working, bought-in style of play and some big hot streaks to close out the year. That energy persisted into the series, as the Canucks generated much less offence than they expected to. This was best shown in Game 2, where the Predators held on by blocking 30 shots in a 2-1 victory that tied the series at one. But the Canucks mostly pulled away from there, winning thanks to their power play in Game 3, and coming back from 3-1 with three minutes to go and winning in overtime in Game 4. Nashville responded with a win in Game 5, but Arturs Silovs made himself a hero in Vancouver come Game 6. Silovs, a 23-year-old rookie netminder who took Thatcher Demko’s spot following a Game 1 injury, stopped all 28 shots in the deciding game to make a 1-0 victory possible.

For the Canucks, the Demko injury still lingers over them, as does the struggles of Elias Pettersson, who appears to be somewhere between snakebit and hurt. But they’re welcoming the underdog status, and if they can catch some hot sticks and get a few good starts out of Silovs, they can absolutely make this a series or win it outright.

Betting Edmonton Oilers (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS, 4-1 o/u)

If you could show the Edmonton Oilers of the preseason the position they’d be in right now, they’d probably shrug at you and say “well, that’s about right”. They might even show a little disappointment in not winning their division. If you show the Oilers of November this position, though, they’d be head over heels.

The team’s start to the season couldn’t have possibly gone worse, going 2-9-1 in its first dozen games, eventually leading to a coaching change that brought Kris Knoblauch into the fold not long after. While the underlying results between him and previous coach Jay Woodcroft weren’t overly different, a reset still seemed to do the team some good – not to mention, Stuart Skinner found his game between the pipes. The Oilers surged back into the mix with eight and 16-game winning streaks to round out the first half, and while they haven’t had runs quite as strong as those since, their 20-12-5 record after the losing streak was still more than enough of a cushion.

To kick off these playoffs, the Oilers faced the Los Angeles Kings for the third time in as many years and continued their trend of pushing them aside faster and faster with each season. Save for an overtime loss in Game 2, the Oilers cruised to a five-win victory over their foes, scoring a hefty 22 goals along the way while still showing their defensive capabilities, including a 1-0 win in Game 4. In a lot of ways, this feels like the most robust version of these Oilers yet, and getting through this series would be a real opportunity to show it.

Projected Canucks vs. Oilers Lines

Today’s Edmonton Oilers LinesToday’s Vancouver Canucks Lines
Mattias Janmark – Connor McDavid – Zach Hyman
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Leon Draisaitl – Evander Kane
Dylan Holloway – Ryan McLeod – Corey Perry
Warren Foegele – Derek Ryan – Connor Brown

Mattias Ekholm – Evan Bouchard
Darnell Nurse – Cody Ceci
Brett Kulak – Vincent Desharnais

Starting In Goal
Stuart Skinner
PO: 4-0-1, 2.59 GAA, 0.910 SV%
Season: 36-16-5, 2.62 GAA, 0.905 SV%
Pius Suter – JT Miller – Brock Boeser
Nils Hoglander – Elias Pettersson – Ilya Mikheyev
Dakota Joshua – Elias Lindholm – Conor Garland
Phil Di Giuseppe – Teddy Blueger – Sam Lafferty

Quinn Hughes – Filip Hronek
Carson Soucy – Tyler Myers
Nikita Zadorov – Ian Cole

Starting In Goal
Arturs Silovs
PO: 2-1-0, 1.70 GAA, 0.938 SV%
RS: 3-0-1, 2.47 GAA, 0.881 SV%

For the time being, we can expect Edmonton to bring in a lineup similar to their Game 5 roster, and Vancouver to bring in one similar to Game 6. Hey, why mess with a winning formula?

Connor McDavid to score a goal


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Canucks vs. Oilers Injury Concerns

The main injury of concern comes on Vancouver’s end, with Thatcher Demko still recovering from his injury suffered in Game 1 against the Predators. The most recent update we have is that Demko will miss at least the first four games of this series. That’s potentially a huge boost in Edmonton’s favour.

Edmonton’s lone reported injury appears to be a lower-body injury for Adam Henrique, though to this point, he’s only missed practices. We’ll see if he draws in tonight.

  • These two teams have split their matchup evenly over their past 10 games, going 5-5 against each other dating back to October 2021. The Canucks have a more significant puckline edge, sitting at 8-2 in those games. I guess it pays to be the underdog!
  • The Oilers are 5-5 in their last 10 games, 3-7 against the puckline, with six overs on the total goals line. Most of their losses come from a slow end to the regular season.
  • The Canucks are 6-4 in their last 10 games, with a matching record against the puckline. They’ve cleared the total goals line four times across those 10 games.
  • The leading scorer on the Oilers over their last 10 games is – you guessed it, Connor McDavid, with two goals and a dozen assists. Zach Hyman leads the team in goals with eight, and the shots on goal leader is a bit surprising – it’s not McDavid, Hyman, or Leon Draisaitl, but Warren Foegele.
  • Vancouver’s top scorers over their last 10 games are Quinn Hughes and JT Miller, with nine points apiece. Hughes leads the team in assists with nine. Brock Boeser and Dakota Joshua co-lead the team with four goals over that stretch.
  • The Oilers also have a highly productive blue liner at their disposal, to counter Hughes’ success. Evan Bouchard has two goals and 10 assists in his last 10 games.

Canucks vs. Oilers Predictions

  • The fact that most of the books are riding game total lines of 6 or 6.5 – typically more reserved for the regular season – shows that they’re expecting a pretty open game here. I’m not as convinced. Game ones typically involve a lot of feeling out, and the Canucks in particular have tightened up of late to support their backups, be it Silovs or DeSmith. I’d consider the under here, especially if you can find value under 6.5 (the best right now: Proline+ at -125)
  • With points in all five games so far, it’s hard not to be tempted by leaning into Connor McDavid. Of course, the books are all very aware of that and even an over of 1.5 points is still only maxing out its value at -145 on DraftKings. If you want to go a slightly different path, he’s picked up power play points in all five games so far as well. Your best value on him getting one Wednesday is -165 at theScore Bet, or if you don’t like him to factor in on the man advantage, the best value on the under is +130 at bet99.
  • While Warren Foegele does lead the Oilers in shots over their last 10 games, much of those are loaded into the first six of that split. In his last four, he’s taken five total shots and he went shotless in Game 5. His ice time is declining as well. With his line still set at 1.5, he might be a shrewd under at +150 on bet365.

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