Three reasons Oilers will eliminate Canucks in the second round
Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Three reasons Oilers will eliminate Canucks in the second round

The Western Conference second-round playoff series between the Oilers and Canucks begins Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.

Edmonton eliminated the Los Angeles Kings in five games in the first round while Vancouver defeated the Nashville Predators in six games.

Here are the three reasons why the Oilers will win the series:

1. Too much firepower

Both teams had impressive offenses during the regular season, with the Oilers only scoring 15 more goals — 294 to the Canucks' 279. No offense to Vancouver's top scorers, J.T. Miller, defenseman Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser, but come on.

We're talking about Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and neither of them led the team in goals against the Kings. That honor went to Zach Hyman, who had seven goals in the five-game set to lead Edmonton, just as he did during the regular season with 54.

McDavid had 12 points (a goal and 11 assists) and Draisaitl 10 (five goals and five assists). Only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux have higher career playoff points per game averages than the Oilers superstar duo — both at 1.61 — and there are no signs of that production dropping soon.

Of course, there are also Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Evander Kane and defenseman Evan Bouchard.

2. The No. 3 goalie saving the day is a great story, but...

Because of injuries, Vancouver got its last two wins against Nashville behind third goalie Arturs Silovs, who was recalled from the American Hockey League after starter Thatcher Demko was injured in Game 1 against the Predators. Backup Casey DeSmith played the next two games, winning Game 3, but has not been available since.

There's a chance Demko could return during the series, but the Oilers vs. a No. 3 goalie does not seem promising for the Canucks.

3. It is not early in the regular season

Vancouver defeated the Oilers three times during Edmonton's first 11 games of the regular season. 

But that was before a coaching change resulted in Kris Knoblauch being hired as the Oilers' head coach and Hall of Fame defenseman Paul Coffey going behind the bench as an assistant for the defensemen. That change turned Edmonton's season around.

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