By: Josh Cohen, GZ Sports Report ContributorFollow @JoshCohenSports
This second round matchup gives us the matchup of Connor McDavid and the Oilers against Ryan Kesler and his Ducks. The well rested Ducks are coming off of their sweep of the Calgary Flames in Round 1 and the Oilers knocked off the 2016 Stanley Cup runner-ups, the San Jose Sharks, in 6 games. The matchup of McDavid and Kesler alone makes this series worth the watch. I expect this to be a physical and close series throughout, but expect to see a lot of goal scoring with these two high powered offenses.
Regular Season Record: 46-23-13 (3rd in West)
Last Playoff Round: Beat Calgary in 4 Games
Regular Season Record: 47-26-9 (4th in West)
Last Playoff Round: Beat San Jose in 6 Games
Regular Season Matchups:
Nov 15- Ducks win 4-1
Dec 3- Oilers win 3-2
Jan 25- Oilers win 4-0
Mar 22- Ducks win 4-3
April 1- Oilers win 3-2
Players to Watch:
Anaheim – Ryan Kesler
A Selke trophy finalist, Kesler brings a defensive edge to the Ducks against McDavid and the Oilers’ offense. Kesler will be the Ducks’ key to slowing down McDavid and throwing him off his game. If Kesler can take McDavid out of the picture, Anaheim will have a much easier road to the Western Conference Final.
Edmonton – Connor McDavid
In his Sophomore season, Connor McDavid has quickly become one of the league’s top offensive players. His speed and athleticism have led him to his first 100 point season this year with 30 goals and 70 assists over 82 games. His offensive presence will be key in this series as the Oilers look to beat the Ducks with speed.
The Oilers’ inexperience in the playoffs will be their downfall against Anaheim and the Ducks’ home ice advantage will be key in them getting off to a fast start in Anaheim. I am predicting that the Ducks win the series in 5 games, winning games 1 and 2 at home, dropping game 3, and taking games 4 and 5 to end the series back on home ice.