NHL Canadian Teams Report
Connor McDavid Vs Sidney Crosby Part Deux
The Oilers and Penguins opened the 2017-18 NHL season as basically co-favorites to win the Stanley Cup, and while Pittsburgh has been solid out of the gates, the same can't be said for Edmonton. The Oilers are 3-6-1 SU entering Wednesday's home game (Nov 1) with the Penguins, as Edmonton has really looked like a one-man show with McDavid so far.
Getting him suitable help - whether it's already in the dressing room or not - is clearly starting to become the biggest concern for Edmonton brass at this point.
Not only are the Oilers looking to turn things around, they'd love that a win over the Penguins could be the catalyst in that regard. Edmonton was in Pittsburgh a week ago and fell 2-1 in OT, and with all the hype this return match will get on Wednesday night, you know bettors will have plenty of opinions and action on this contest. Depending on the price when it comes out, Edmonton as a home dog will look awfully tempting.
Edmonton's Special Teams Need To Start Being Special
While there are a plethora of reasons behind Edmonton's early season struggles, you really don't have to look much further than their abysmal special teams play. With Las Vegas now in the NHL there are 31 teams in the league and Edmonton ranks 30th on the power play, and 30th in penalty killing. Being 2nd last in the league in both of those categories will lose you a lot of games in today's NHL, and while unproductive play by role players may make more headlines, these special teams numbers suggest the guys Edmonton is counting on this year aren't getting it done.
The Oilers should be able to turn both of these special teams numbers around rather quickly, but it's a month into the year and it won't be a quick fix anymore. McDavid is only one guy - albeit a great "one guy" - but if others like Milan Lucic, Patrick Maroon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom, and Adam Larsson don't start playing better, we could see a dramatic roster shake-up in Edmonton by the time the holiday season arrives.
Toronto Trying To Get Back On Track Out West
The Leafs opened up a four-game road trip against Western Conference teams with a 3-2 loss in San Jose on Monday Oct 30th, and have now lost four of their last five. Everyone knows the Leafs can score, but keeping the puck out of their own net has been a major problem for Toronto in their losses. Things improved a bit for at least the first 40 minutes in San Jose, but Toronto has to find a way to tighten things up, especially against these big, physical teams out west.
Toronto's road trip continues with Anaheim on Nov 1st, Los Angeles on Nov 2, and the St Louis Blues on Nov 4th. Three games in four nights is going to be tough to turn things around, especially against three very physical teams that can impose their will on a young Toronto team and negate much of the Leafs speed. Again, depending on the price offered on these games, fading Toronto and expecting their struggles to continue may not be a bad approach to take as a bettor.
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