By Scott Taylor
Series H: Edmonton Oilers (47-26-9, 103 points) vs. San Jose Sharks (46-29-7, 103 points)
Connor McDavid. That’s all you need to know about Edmonton. Sure, they have other great players such as Leon Draisaitl, Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Pat Maroon, but McDavid is the story. The 20-year-old had 30 goals and 100 points and became the youngest player since Sidney Crosby in 2007, to win the NHL scoring crown. He is a superstar in every sense of the word and the main reason Edmonton is now a playoff team after having missed the post-season every year since 2006.
San Jose, meanwhile, is getting long in the tooth, but is still one of the best teams in the NHL. Their leading scorer is defenseman Brent Burns, 32, with 29 goals and 76 points and is the likely winner of the Norris Trophy this season. Their other top scorers — Logan Couture, 28, Patrick Marleau, 37, Joe Pavelski, 32, Joe Thornton, 37, Joel Ward, 36, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, 30, and Mikkel Boedker, 28 — are not youthful. Netminders’ Aaron Dell and Martin Jones both had strong seasons and will need to be good against the Oilers and their young legs.
The Oilers might not have the experience, but they have speed and talent and San Jose will need great goaltending to beat them. After all, the Oilers won the season series 3-1-1 and seem to play very well against the Sharks. In fact, they were 2-0-1 IN San Jose.
Players to Watch:
Edmonton: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Jordan Eberle
San Jose: Brent Burns, Logan Couture and Joe Thornton
Season Series: Oilers lead 3-1-1
Our Choice: Edmonton in six games.