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Thursday, February 16, 2017

NHL : Oilers-Blackhawks at the United Center

Two of the better teams in the Western Conference will meet this Saturday (7 PM ET, WGN) when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Edmonton Oilers. The Blackhawks sit comfortably in second place in the Central Division, while the Oilers are in good shape for an automatic playoff berth in the Pacific – their first playoffs in over a decade.

The Hawks are no strangers to the postseason. They’ve won three Stanley Cups since Joel Quenneville took over as head coach in 2008; this year’s team is third on the Cup futures market at +700, featuring the 1-2 goaltending punch of Corey Crawford (.918 save percentage) and Scott Darling (.927 SV%). However, Chicago could be overvalued in this spot, with mediocre results in the Corsi and Fenwick advanced stats.

Edmonton is a Top-10 team in both those categories. The Oilers (+2000) have been playing in relative anonymity ever since losing Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final to the Carolina Hurricanes, but their collection of high draft picks is finally paying off. The first overall pick in 2015, center Connor McDavid, is already an All-Star. But even with his help, there’s a chance that goalie Cam Talbot (.920 SV%) could burn out after starting nearly every game.

NHL : Oilers-Blackhawks

Live odds and lines

NHL Odds: Oilers, Hawks in Wild West Showdown

Fans at the United Center will be treated to a potential Western Conference playoff preview this Saturday when the upstart Edmonton Oilers visit the Chicago Blackhawks. The puck drops at 7 PM ET on WGN.

The Hawks have won three Stanley Cups since Edmonton last made the playoffs in 2006. However, the Oilers have one of the NHL’s brightest young talents in Connor McDavid, the first overall pick in the 2015 draft. They also have superior advanced stats, according to Corsi and Fenwick. Chicago sits in the middle of the pack in both categories.

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