Behind the Mask

Hrudey playoff predictions

It's David vs Goliath in this first round matchup but I'm not so sure the Calgary Flames will have big enough stones to knock off the President Trophy champions.

Calgary Flames (8) - (33-33-4-12 - 82 pts) vs Edmonton Oilers (1) - (57-19-1-5 - 120 pts)

Season Series: 6-0-1-1 Edmonton

Well Calgary gets the unenviable task of facing the President trophy champion Edmonton Oilers. The Flames for their part did what they had to do. Considering Chicago, Colorado, and Los Angeles together couldn't beat enough eggs to make an omelet and faded terribly down the stretch shouldn't damper what Calgary has done this season. It was a dogfight for a while and that shows perseverance. Calgary is led by Nicklas Backstrom. He appeared in 81 games and tallied 22 goals to go along with 33 assists. Backstrom centers the first line with wingers Jayden Schwartz (15-29-44) and Jordan Eberle (24-17-41). A solid line and with Ryan Strome (15-32-47) centering veterans Logan Couture (20-18-38) and Charlie Coyle (14-17-31) on the second line, the Flames will be counting on Couture to help steady the nerves on some of the younger players. What I really like is the blueline of this team. Cale Makar, Adam Fox, and Jakob Chychrun are young and exciting offensive defensemen. Holding the reins on these young studs are veterans Zdeno Chara, Marco Scandella, and Chris Tanev. There shouldn't be any problems on defense. Of course the weight of this team rests on the shoulders of goaltender Petr Mrazek. He appeared in all 82 games posting a 33-37-11-1 record with one shutout. He had a 2.37 GAA with a. 905%. It'll have to be a great team game if there's any hope of getting out of the first round. Special teams could be a key but their 29th ranked pp won't cut it. The pk was respectable finishing 9th overall. Head coach Barry Trotz will have his work cut for him but I'm sure he'll be a game planning fool and will have his team ready to play.

The consensus pick to win it all this year, the Edmonton Oilers look primed and ready for a long playoff run. What do you do in order to add and improve your team? You move all the picks you can! EDM 19 Rnd 2, FLA 19 Rnd 2, EDM 20 Rnd 1, Robin Lehner, Jonas Brodin, EDM 19 Rnd 1, EDM 20 Rnd4BOS Extension, EDM 19 Rnd 3, FLA 19 Rnd 3, EDM 19 Rnd 4, BOS 19 Rnd 6, EDM 20 Rnd 2, EDM 20 Rnd 3, EDM 20 Rnd 5, EDM 20 Rnd 7, EDM 19 Rnd 5, BOS 19 Rnd 5. In return the Oilers got back Jamie Benn, ANH Extension, Connor Hellebuyck, Ben Chiarot, Vladislav Namestnikov. Think it was worth it? The Oilers aren't complaining. Yes they had a formidable lineup before all this but adding these players completedthemasterpiece. Adding Connor Hellebuyck to this group was exceptional. The Vezina nominee posted a 40-22-7 record with 9 shutouts! He sported a 2.04 GAA to go along a 916%. Could you imagine if he played with Edmonton the entire season? Needless to say it will take a monumental effort by Calgary to beat him. In front of him however there's a few guys you'll have to get by before you get to Mr. Hellebuyck. Leading the way offensively is the incredible Connor McDavid. He led the league in scoring with 45-72-117!! He also had a an incredible +/- 63. Artemi Panarin and Nikita Kucherov maybe honored to play with McDavid but they're no slouches themselves. Panarin finished with 41 goals (four less than McDavid) and 105 points, only 12 back of McSavior. Kucherov added to the carnage with 28 goals to go along with 48 assists for 76 points. I'd be excused if I didn't mention the seasons Mitch Marner and Elias Petersson had with the Oilers. Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom anchor this stout defense and it will be interesting to see how Mr.Loconte handles Oscar's absence next season. For now it appears it's Edmonton's Cup to win or lose. I believe there will be tougher series ahead for Edmonton but not this one.

Prediction: Edmonton in 4

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Stepping up your game, awesome job. Thank you Hrudey!


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