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  • Event: (9) Chicago Blackhawks at (10) Edmonton Oilers
    Sport/League: NHL
    Date/Time: August 1, 2020 3PM EDT
    Play: 5% – Edmonton Oilers -160
    Play Rating: 5%
    Result: Loss

    PLAY: Edmonton Oilers -160 (play good to -195)
    5% play rating

    The NHL has set up an interesting format for this year's playoffs. While 16 teams will participate in a best-of-five play-in bracket, the top four teams in each conference—based on points percentage—will participate in a round-robin series of play to determine playoff seeding.

    Rogers Place in Edmonton will not be filled to capacity with the fan base sporting the team's navy blue, orange and white. The used to be best Kane and company take on the new breed of the NHL. Edmonton and Chicago square off in a best-of-five Western Conference postseason qualification series. Under the parameters of the NHL restart amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, like the other North American sports companies spectators will not be allowed in the Oilers' home arena as Edmonton serves as the hub city for games in the West.
    The faster and younger Oilers under the guidance of head coach Dave Tippett are essentially selling out to capture an all important Game #1. "You have to make sure your team is ready to play in Game 1, and you have to make sure your goaltender is ready to play in Game 1."
    Edmonton boasts a solid goaltending tandem in Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith. Koskinen's postseason experience has come via the Russia's Kontinental Hockey League (50-24 with a 1.64 gaa and a .938 save percentage. Toss in two championships as well.   
    Chicago will position Corey Crawford in net. Crawford's form and stamina are in question. He missed the first 12 days of summer training camp to COVID-19.  And the fact that Chicago has yet to announce the starting goaltender is more ill for Chicago than Edmonton. 
    Edmonton forwards Leon Draisaitl (110) and captain Connor McDavid (97) and while there will be no fans in attendance do not think for a minute that this still isn't home ice for the Oilers. Duncan Keith and the Blackhawks' defense are in for a long Saturday afternoon and eventually three game series. This if the Oilers sweep, which is a strong possibility. 
    Expect to see Draisaitl and McDavid on the same line and as well skating separately too. 
    Again, no fans don't take that home arena feel away from the Oilers, in particular McDavid and Draisalitl. Kane and Toews won't lay down or surrender. Not during Game 1. But an Edmonton victory by margin creates much less excitement for an older and been-there Blackhawks squad. 
    McDavid and Draisaitl offer a plethora of evidence as to why this team is a threat to be in the West Finals.