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Beating the Oilers outside of McDavid

Maybe the best way to do this is focus on everyone but McDavid?

Edmonton Oilers v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

After looking at how the Winnipeg Jets could stop Connor McDavid, it is time to look at if they can stop the rest of the Edmonton Oilers. Good news folks, that is a much easier task once we remove McDavid’s line. It is obvious that McDavid and his line drive the bus for the Oilers and if the Jets can contain them for four games, beating the Oilers will become a possibility.

The rest of the Oilers are a ragtag bunch of mostly okay NHLers who are playing too high in the lineup and younger players who are good, but not great and therefore stoppable. Don’t get me wrong, Jesse Puljujarvi is a good player, but he is not going to beat you like Connor McDavid will and that is all the difference. The Jets might be better off stopping the rest of the Oilers and forcing McDavid to win on his own with Leon Draisaitl.

The Jets biggest advantage over the Oilers is Connor Hellebuyck and all of this goes out the window of Hellebuyck shuts the door. Hockey can be won by star players, but no one can do it better than a goalie. When he is on, Hellebuyck can be close to unbeatable. Issue is he does not always get the help he needs from his defence to fully shut the door and that could prove to be an issue here.

The Jets hopes in the first round sit on Hellebuyck. This isn’t because the Oilers are the best team they could play in the playoffs, but because the Oilers are the team that they match up the worst against. The Jets struggle with McDavid which is normal while they can contain Auston Matthews better for some reason. The Jets don’t get to play Matthews though and have to deal with McDavid. That said, they can do this and the best way for them to beat the Oilers is to cut out any potential secondary scoring there is and force McDavid to do it all on his own. That is a gamble, but it seems like the best way forward for a team that struggles against a single player.

The first round is often the most fun and exciting round in the NHL playoffs. It is often full of close games with many going to overtime. The games are staggered and you have to sit few very few intermission panels. It is a hockey fan’s dream round. The first round can also hold shock eliminations and because of the season McDavid had, eliminating the Oilers in the first round would be a shock to many, but it is definitely doable. The Jets stack up well against them outside of their superstar and probably their coach.