Colorado Avalanche vs. Edmonton Oilers (Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals)

Hoping to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the NHL Western Conference Final, the Edmonton Oilers will need to have their best performance of the season tonight at Rogers Place. The Colorado Avalanche took a stranglehold on the series with a come-from-behind 4-2 victory in Game 3 on Saturday.

Mike Smith is slated to start for the Oilers in what could be his last game with the franchise. Pavel Francouz is starting his third consecutive game for Colorado after Darcy Keumper suffered an upper-body injury in Colorado’s 8-6 Game 1 victory. Francouz has stopped 51 of 53 shots in the last two games.

Despite being the visiting team, Colorado is the money line favorite at (-135).

Colorado Looking to Close the Series

Although they didn’t win the President’s Trophy (the Avs finished three points behind the Florida Panthers in the regular season), Colorado was thought by many to be the best team in the league this year. They’re proving it in the playoffs.

The Avalanche have lost only twice through 13 games in the playoffs and have won the last three games with its backup goaltender. The team is firing on all fronts right now and have even been able to win without major contributions from its top players – Valeri Nichushkin scored two goals and JT Compher tallied the game-winner in Game 3.

Colorado will be without Nazem Kadri, however. The skilled agitator was sent into the boards following a questionable hit from Evander Kane in Game 3. Kadri had a career-best 87 points in the regular season and had 14 points through 13 games in the playoffs.

The Avalanche’s two losses during these playoffs have been at home, meaning the team is undefeated on the road. Their dominant victory in Game 3 is another sign that the team is ready to take the next step and compete for the Stanley Cup following disappointing exits in the prior two postseasons.

Edmonton Needs its Stars to Step up

It’s hard to ask much more of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but that’s exactly what the Oilers need tonight, especially with Kane suspended.

McDavid and Draisaitl are first and second in playoff scoring with 30 and 28 points, respectively. McDavid, in particular, has been playing out of his mind and perhaps even better than he’s ever played. Nonetheless, they’ve both been overshadowed by Colorado’s star players – Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar – as well as the team’s depth.

McDavid scored less than a minute into Game 3, but was held off the scoresheet for the remainder of the game while the Avs made their comeback. Draisaitl was held without a point and only has two assists in the series.

Colorado vs. Edmonton Betting Prediction

Given what we’ve watched through the first three games of the series, it’s hard to imagine the Oilers beating Colorado and extending the series. The Avalanche are perfect on the road in the playoffs, so it’s going to take an all-time performance from both McDavid and Draisaitl to win tonight.

While more hockey is always welcome, it’s hard to imagine this series going five games. Take the Avalanche money line at (-135).

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