Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 5:00 PM EST.
Winnipeg +150 over EDMONTON
9:10 PM EST. OT Included. Here's the narrative coming out of the Alberta capital prior to Game 2 and rather than paraphrase, we'll let the world's greatest hockey player take the mic, "I actually didn't mind our game. I thought we did a lot of good things. I thought we had the puck a lot of the night and played in their zone. We put a lot of pucks through; we just didn't find a way to get one. That's the way it goes. They get a tip. We don't. That's playoff hockey." Those words, of course, are from Connor McDavid, and if they soothe the fragile masses in Oil Country, that's lovely. Sure, the Oilers out everything'd the Jets in Game 1. On the surface and underneath the hood, it is nothing but Oilers, Oilers, Oilers, but as we've seen in these playoffs, for the most part, goals are hard to come by, beer league goalies excluded. That's where the Oilers are pooched.
Connor Hellebuyck was the MVP for the Jets in Game 1. However, he is not the only one who deserves some praise. The Jets deserve credit as a whole and that's from coach Paul Maurice down. They did not try to play the Oilers game. Going stride for stride with #97 is a fool's errand. Instead, Winnipeg threw the kitchen sink at McDavid and Draisaitl and it paid off. "McJesus" was a -2 and had just two shots on net, his expected goals for was just 0.23, which was fourth best on the team. Big Leon was fifth (0.20). No offense to the line of Kailer Yamamoto, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jesse Puljujarvi, who potted the Oilers' only goal, but the Jets will let you boys take your shots all night as long as #97 and #29 don't get theirs.
So where does that leave us for Game 2? Well, despite what the networks would like you to believe, this edition of the Oilers are not reminiscent of the dynasty Oilers of the 80s, even if there is a fair-haired youngin' scoring in bunches. Do not let the old highlights influence you. We've said it time and again this season; this Edmonton team does not run deep. Winnipeg does. Even without the uber underrated Nik Ehlers and Pierre-Luc Dubois, the Jets can still roll out three of the best lines in hockey. The "third" line of Mathieu Perrault, Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton is one of the best two way lines in the league. You need to shut down a top center? No problem. You need a goal? They got that, too. As for tonight, the Oilers were already juggling lines in practices on Thursday. Do they stick with those combos tonight? Who knows, but those are not decisions you should have to make after just one game. The Jets appear to have a battle plan and we suspect they'll stick with it. Xs and Os aside, the Oilers are spotting a bigger price tonight than they were in Game 1 and that's not right. Let’s just stick with all the value and see where the chips land.
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Winnipeg +150 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.00)