Justin Cuthbert breaks down the first-round matchup between the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: OK, let's move to the Pacific Division to wrap things up here. In the 2-3 match-up, we have the Oilers and Kings, the Oilers at favorites at minus 235. The Kings come back at plus 195 if it's the spread.
So again, the Oilers, minus 1.5 at minus 106, so very close to even money, and the Kings at minus 114. This is another one I jumped on early, and the line hasn't moved. So it's still available if you're looking to get involved in this series. I like the Oilers on the spread, minus 1.5 to win the series in six games or less.
This series features a pretty wide talent divide, right? The Kings have been an analytically stellar team all season long. But the problem is with all that run of play that they own and the shift-to-shift dominance that they can have in shot suppression and shot control, they can't take advantage of it because they score and goaltend at a bottom third of the league level. Scoring is even worse.
They have the worst shooting percentage in the NHL. The goaltending, I think, is bottom 10, maybe at bottom 12, around that. They have trouble taking advantage of the advantages they create for themselves because they can't score with regularity, and their goaltending often lets them down.
The Oilers are kind of the opposite. Well, not, I guess, with the goaltending. They have goaltending issues on paper, just not recently. Mike Smith has been absolutely sensational. And the Oilers had a great April because of what he was able to do.
But they are so dangerous from a scoring perspective. If they have equal chances with a team like the Los Angeles Kings with McDavid and Draisaitl and Kane, they're gonna be able to have that reflect on the scoreboard. I think if they establish their advantages in that sense, it should lead to them getting an early lead and finishing this series off before it gets really, really greasy in a seventh game.
If Mike Smith is adequate, I think the Oilers are frontrunners of the series. They avoid having to go seven games. They beat the Kings in five or six, and they move on to, hopefully, the battle of Alberta. So I like the Oilers. I believe it's minus 106 is what I had it at on the spread to win the series over the Kings in six games or less.