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Perfect Oilers Look to Keep Rolling

Visiting Flyers Seeking to Hand Edmonton First Loss

The Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton certainly don’t lack individual talent but postseason success has escaped both of these proud franchises.

Edmonton is one of four undefeated teams after Monday’s games while Philadelphia is 2-1-1 through its first four games.

Philadelphia Flyers Edmonton Oilers
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

Both teams would be well advised to limit their trips to the penalty box. The Oilers lead the NHL by scoring on 47.1 percent of its power-play opportunities. The Flyers aren’t far behind as Philadelphia has converted 36.4 percent of the time.

It is no wonder that the NHL odds list the total at 6½.

Wednesday’s game is at 10 p.m. ET on TNT.

Philadelphia Flyers at Edmonton Oilers

Defensive Reinforcements Paying Dividends

Few teams were as disappointing during the 2020-21 NHL season as the Philadelphia Flyers.

Philadelphia had scoring threats on multiple lines, established defensemen and a talented young goalie. However, when the regular season ended, no team allowed more goals than the Flyers and only the New Jersey Devils had worse numbers killing off penalties. The defensive deficiencies kept Philadelphia out of the playoffs and led to some changes.

The Flyers added veteran forwards Cam Atkinson and Derick Brassard and acquired Rasmus Ristolainen, Keith Yandle and Ryan Ellis. Atkinson and Brassard are two of the team’s top scorers. The jury is still out on the defensive side of things but Philadelphia seems to be more committed to protecting goalie Carter Hart than it was a season ago.

The scores and odds listed the Flyers at +1800 to win the Stanley Cup, which ranks 11th in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia is hoping the roster tinkering will prove that prediction wrong.

The Flyers are hoping to have Ellis back for the Edmonton game. His return of Ellis would be a huge lift against the high-flying Oilers.

“We’re playing against a team that hasn’t lost a game yet,” coach Alain Vigneault told reporters. “The Great One (NHL all-time leading scorer Wayne Gretzky) said the other day on TV said that he thinks their power play now is better than the one that they had when they won those Cups back then. That says a lot about their (special) teams and says a lot about their team.”

Oilers Looking to Become Complete Team

There’s no question that the Edmonton Oilers can score goals. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have been the top two scorers in the NHL during both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. Sure enough, they are off to sizzling starts again.

For all the Oilers’ goal-scoring prowess, team success has been slow in following. Jesse Puljujarvi already has eight points in five games after managing just 25 in 55 games a season ago. Offseason acquisition Zach Hyman already has five goals.

“You get told early, if you want to score goals then go to the net. It’s the place to be,” Hyman told the media. “Early on my career, even before I got to the NHL, it was ‘Go to the net if you want to score goals.’ It’s the best way for me to score.”.

On the back end, defenseman Darnell Nurse continues to improve. He has more help with the emergence of Evan Bouchard and the additions of veterans Duncan Keith and Cody Ceci.

Edmonton won its first five games and is ready to prove that its group of high draft picks has learned the hard lessons. The Oilers want to not only make the playoffs but make some noise.

On to the Pick

With all the goal scorers on the ice, those who bet online might want to take a chance on the over even with a high number of 6½.

The Flyers already own a win over a talented Boston Bruins team and would like to take down the undefeated Oilers. The jury is still out whether the Flyers have fixed all of their defensive issues. A game like this will answer some of the questions but it is hard to go against McDavid.

Pick: Edmonton Oilers -190

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