Spilko's Thursday NHL Playoffs Pick: Oilers vs Flames – Top-seed Calgary fights to stay alive against Edmonton

Edmonton Oilers at Calgary Flames, 9:30 pm EDT (Oilers lead 3-1).
Leon Draisaitl has been a force for the Oilers against the Flames.
Leon Draisaitl has been a force for the Oilers against the Flames.@EdmontonOilers on Twitter

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The Calgary Flames opened as the favorite against the Edmonton Oilers entering the second round of the NHL postseason, but that is certainly not the case anymore. With the Oilers just one win away from moving on to the Western Conference Finals, it’s not clear which team will escape with a Game 5 win on Thursday night.

It is once again time to back a favorable over/under line instead of picking a side.

Game 5: Edmonton Oilers at Calgary Flames (Oilers lead 3-1)

Goals, goals and more goals with a splash of poor goaltending. That’s been the story of the entertaining Battle of Alberta so far and those same storylines should continue heading into a pivotal Game 5.

There’s been absolutely no shortage of offensive firepower through four games. The Oilers have scored at least four goals in each game this series. The Flames have been somewhat extinguished since their nine-goal outburst in Game 1, but have still managed three-plus tallies in all but one game. That came in Game 3 when the Flames were held to one goal on 33 shots.

Shot volume also points to another high-scoring contest in Game 5. Only once has a team been held to under 30 shots in a single game in this series. That came in Game 4 when Edmonton was held to just 26 shots, but Calgary still surrendered five goals in its defeat.

Edmonton’s success has been because of its reliance on its stars, specifically stemming from the brilliance of Connor McDavid. He’s been borderline unstoppable and it would be unwise to believe that Calgary has found any solution to contain him. McDavid has recorded an other-wordly 25 points in 11 postseason games. He’ll surely be in the scoring mix once again in Game 5. Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane have been spectacular as well, recording 22 and 15 points, respectively.

The over/under for Game 5 has once again been set at 6.5. That total has hit three out of four times this series. In an elimination game, it’s easy to imagine the Flames coming out with a massive sense of desperation in front of their home crowd. They’ll be firing shots from just about every angle to expose Edmonton’s Mike Smith in the cage. But once again, can the Flames stop the Oilers’ superstars? I don’t think so.

The goals will come for both sides and it should be another thrilling showdown in another act of one of the NHL’s best rivalries.

The pick: Over 6.5 goals (-125)

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