On Monday, the Edmonton Oilers will be the final Canadian team to begin their quest for the Stanley Cup. How do their chances stack up compared to the other Canadian contenders? So far, I’ve predicted the Jets to lose in six to the Avalanche, and the Maple Leafs defeating the Bruins in 7. In their fifth straight NHL Playoffs appearance, the Oilers will attempt to defeat the LA Kings for the third consecutive year.

This is the most familiar matchup of this year’s NHL Playoffs. The Oilers beat the Kings in seven in 2022 and then took one less game to eliminate them in 2023. The Kings are a stingy team that is difficult to play against, but they lack the star power of the Oilers. Will the third time be the charm for the Kings? Let’s break it down.


The goaltending matchup in this series is very intriguing. The Oilers will need Stuart Skinner to build on a solid regular season and improve his ugly playoff statistics. If Skinner can be reliable in the Oilers’ net, they shouldn’t have a problem winning this series. If he struggles, however, we could see the Oilers playoff run end early. Despite his steady play in the regular season, Edmonton fans will not want to see their team relying on journeyman Calvin Pickard this postseason.

For the Kings, it will be Cam Talbot looking to take down his former team. Talbot’s numbers this season are a bit better than Skinner’s, and his playoff numbers are surprisingly impressive. It must be noted that Talbot’s numbers have benefitted this season from playing behind a team that utilized a 1-3-1 trap for most of the season. If the Oilers can get ahead early in games and force the Kings to abandon the trap, they can make life more difficult for Talbot. Overall, Talbot’s playoff experience gives the Kings a slight edge in the goaltending department.


Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Defensively, Edmonton is essentially unchanged from last year’s playoffs. Mattias Ekholm has been a huge addition, and his defensive prowess is much needed on the Oilers’ blue line. There are defensive concerns with the rest of the Oilers’ top four. Evan Bouchard is elite offensively but sometimes struggles in the defensive end. Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci can be inconsistent defensively too. Nurse is a huge x-factor for the Oilers blue line. The highest-paid Oilers’ defenceman needs to be at his best for them to realize their goals this postseason.

Conversely, the Kings are more reliable but less dynamic on their blue line. Drew Doughty’s 50 points doubled LA’s second-highest-scoring defenceman, Matt Roy. Roy, Vladislav Gavrikov and Andreas Englund give the Kings plenty of size defensively. The Kings’ biggest concern will be having enough speed to keep up with Connor McDavid and company.


Photo by Dave Sandford

Connor McDavid and his fellow forwards give Edmonton the biggest advantage for their third straight series against the Kings. The Oilers forward core is dynamic, and experienced. Beyond McDavid and Draisatl, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are x-factors for the Oilers. Hyman surpassed 50 goals for the first time in his career, and the type of goals he likes to score translates perfectly to the postseason. The Oilers also strengthened their bottom six mid-season, adding pugilist Corey Perry and veteran Adam Henrique. The Oilers have been close to getting to the Stanley Cup in previous years, and their forward core is equipped to will them there this year.

The Kings can’t match the Oilers firepower up front, but their depth is formidable. Anze Kopitar and Philip Danault give the Kings two excellent two-way centers. Pierre-Luc Dubios will need to improve upon an uninspired regular season and make his presence felt to give the Kings a shot at an upset. Their wingers have scoring ability too, highlighted by Adrian Kempe, Kevin Fiala, Trevor Moore and a now-healthy Viktor Arvidsson. If Quinton Byfield can contribute too, the Kings have a real chance to take down the Oilers.


As with the previous two years, this should be an extremely tight series. LA is a strong, deep team that won’t go down without a fight. Ultimately, Connor McDavid, Leon Draistatl and their reinforcements will be too much, completing the hat trick of series victories over LA.

Edmonton in 7.