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  • Event: (809) BLACKHAWKS at (810) OILERS
    Sport/League: NHL
    Date/Time: August 1, 2020 3PM EDT
    Play: 4% – (810) Edmonton Oilers to win Series -180
    Play Rating: 4%
    Result: Pending

    PLAY: Edmonton Oilers -180 (play good to -220)
    4% play rating

    The Oilers 2019 campaign was a disappointment. The organization didn't make excuses with the young gaggle of skaters and found the cahones to rewind and retool the staff to better fit the player personnel. The addition of GM Ken Holland and coach Dave Tippett last summer resulted in a 37-25-9 record before the earth's orbit was interrupted. So where does Edmonton and their faithful followers go from here? To the front of the line.

    The Universe is beginning to resemble what it did a handful of months back. A time when the National Hockey League was still the law of the land north of the border.  
     
    The accolades and press coverage of the credit due the Oilers player personnel has been lacking. Before the world went dark this Edmonton squad was being carried by the dynamic duo of Leon Draisaitl (110 points) and Connor McDavid (97 points in 64 games)
     
    It wasn't long ago that the front office and the fan base of the Chicago Blackhawks (32-30-8) were the last-place team in the Central Division with little to no chance to compete for the 2020 Stanley Cup. That was then and today's orbit says the do. The Hawks were selling parts and pieces of their foundation at the trade deadline. But seemingly without notice the Hawks went from being a non-contender to a member of Lord Stanley's chase for the Cup. 
     
    Yes, the Hawks are part of the 2020 pro hockey postseason. This thanks to the playoff format expansion to 24 teams.
     
    The jubilation of having a second chance in 2020 will be short-lived. The Blackhawks' line of Patrick Kane (84 points) and Alex Nylander and center Dylan Strome were the shine on what has been a painful season.  And unless Kane is on the ice with the puck touching his stick early and often this Chicago bunch don't have the physical attributes and defensive philosophy to succeed.  
     
    The Oilers first year bench boss Tippett and his staff made positive personnel adjustments in the offseason. They moved Ryan Nugent-Hopkins the line he skated on in 2019 and inserted his skill set to the line of McDavid and Kassian. And regardless of what you are told or how local and national hockey writers list this group... they are the Oilers' top line. 
     
    Why?
     
    Because of who and what McDavid brings to the ice.  
     
    The top line advantage in this matchup goes to Edmonton. Yes the scoring separation of McDavid and Draisaitl vs the contributions of Nugent-Hopkins (61 points) is wide but the chemistry and the depth at the forward position for Edmonton is another Cup advantage for the Oilers. 
     
    Defensively the grit of Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse make the Oilers the better defensive group when comparing the Oilers and Hawks. And unless Chicago's netminder Corey Crawford is 100 percent the goaltending edge is Edmonton's as well.  
     
    We asked 100 dentists in Chicago what toothbrush they favored and four out of five Windy City tooth doctors chose the Tippett brand over that of Jeremy Colliton. And in a nutshell on open ice, five on five, four on four and the advantage of playing in a Canadian bubble gives Edmonton the advantage in every important Prezidential category... including special teams. 
     
    If the Oilers don't win in three they certainly get the job done in four against a team that knows they were gifted a postseason dinner chair with the Lord. 
     
    Lay the wood in this series and like the Oilers move on to the second round.
     
    OILERS -180
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