The NHL’s Western Conference Final starts Tuesday night with the Edmonton Oilers visiting the Colorado Avalanche (630 CHED Face-off Show 4 p.m., game at 6 p.m.).
The series features two of the NHL’s marquee players. The Oilers’ Connor McDavid was selected first overall in 2015 and has 26 points in 12 playoff games. Nathan MacKinnon of the Avalanche was taken first overall in 2013 and has 13 points in this post-season.
“There’s a lot of star power in this series,” acknowledged Oilers winger Zach Hyman, noting that he expects other players to have their moments to shine.
“Oftentimes, it comes down to depth scoring. I think everybody has to be ready for their moment because you don’t know when it’s going to be. I think both sides have a lot of players that can make an impact.”
The Avs also boast one of the most dynamic defencemen in the NHL. Cale Makar is an elite skater who often powers the Colorado offence from the back end. Oilers defenceman Tyson Barrie was with the Avs when Makar made his NHL debut in the 2019 playoffs.
“I got on the ice with him the first time and I was like, ‘I might be out of here,'” chuckled Barrie. “He was super impressive right from the get go. He was a great kid. I’m not surprised how dominant he’s been.”
The Avalanche swept their first round series against Nashville before knocking off St. Louis in six games. They’re the top seed in the West after having gone 56-19-7 in the regular season.
“Their record in the regular season speaks for itself,” said Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft. “They’re fast. They can hurt you if you turn pucks over. They have good special teams.”
The Oilers are in the West Final for the first time since 2006. The Avs last played in the series in 2002.