New school vs old school, speed and youth vs grit and experience.  Two teams built similar in stature but very different on paper. The host Edmonton will have their work cut out for them in this match-up against Chicago. We will get to see two of the best duo’s in the league battle it out.

Chicago Blackhawks 

For the longest time, Chicago was the model franchise in NHL. Winning three Stanley cups between 2010-2015, the Blackhawks dominated the Western conference. After missing the playoffs in the past two years, it seems like father time has caught up with Chicago. The Blackhawks had struggled to keep up with the big boys in the central division.

Once again the Chicago’s legendary duo led by example. Kane finished the season with 33 goals and 51 assists, while Captain Toews recorded 42 assists. The biggest surprise came from 24 year old Czech rookie, Dominik Kubalik. Kubalick finished the season with 30 goals. Playing along side Toews, Kubalik was able to excel this season. It’s this leadership and experience that will be key for them.

Edmonton Oilers

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl dominated the NHL this season. Finishing one and two in the points race, the Oilers duo was unstoppable. Their play helped earn Draisaitl an MVP nomination after scoring a 43 goals and recording 110 points in just 71 games. Even when McDavid was out with injury, Draisaitl was able to keep the ship on course in Edmonton.

While Edmonton’s dynamic duo had an amazing season, the rest of the Oilers didn’t. Only one other player finished the season with 40 or more points. Only Nugent-Hopkins finished the season as a plus and he was only a +1 in goal difference. Many are calling this to be a landslide victory for the Oilers but in reality it won’t be. Their defensive core is very weak and there really is no secondary scoring to help out the big stars. Add in the little to no playoff experience and this match-up looks much closer.

Prediction

My prediction is that this series will go the distance, with Edmonton moving on. There is no doubt that if the Oilers duo can continue their form from the season, Chicago won’t be able to keep up. However I’d like to add that if these playoffs weren’t played in the bubble, I feel like Chicago would have moved on. Edmonton will benefit from no fans. They will benefit because Chicago during the playoffs is a tough place to win and it would have given the Blackhawks a slight edge.