The Edmonton Oilers have a mountain to climb if they want to get back into their Western Conference final series against the Colorado Avalanche, and it all starts with winning Game 4 at home on Monday.
Colorado leads the series 3-0, putting the Avalanche on the verge of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
Edmonton taking series one game at a time
FanDuel Sportsbook rates Colorado as the -134 favorite to win on Monday and close out the series, with Edmonton a +112 pick to win Game 4.
Even if Edmonton can find its first win in the series, it has a long way to go before even threatening to get past Colorado. Bettors can get +2400 on the Oilers to win four straight and overcome their three-game deficit.
The team is all on the same page when it comes to how they approach Game 4 and the rest of the series.
“What I would say is that we’re here to win a game and that message has been drilled into our team since Feb. 11,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft told reporters. “We’re here to win one hockey game and take care of that day’s business and when you do that, outcomes take care of themselves.”
Edmonton forward Zach Hyman says the pressure is off his team given the status of the series.
“All the pressure flips to Colorado; they’re expected to win now, being up 3-0,” Hyman told reporters. “So for us, it’s just about getting one and then go from there. We’re a team that’s faced adversity; we’ve talked about it all year long. We’re a confident group still. If there’s ever a team that could do it, I believe that this is the team.”
Evander Kane out for Game 4
The Oilers will have to do it without star forward Evander Kane. The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Kane for one game after he boarded Avalanche center Nazem Kadri early in the first period of Game 3. Referees punished Kane with a major penalty on the play.
“I was just coming in on the backcheck,” Kane said of the play. “I was just trying to get a bump on him, that’s really all I did. Unfortunately, he went into the boards awkwardly and hurt his hands. But that was unfortunate.”
For Colorado, the Western Conference final has been business as usual. The Avalanche are now 6-0 on the road in the playoffs, a mark that can go to 7-0 on Monday. Colorado hasn’t been bad at home, either – it has only lost two games in total this postseason. But the road performance has stood out throughout the playoffs.
“I don’t know the secret,” Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon said, via ESPN.com. “I don’t know if we’re a little slower or what, but I just feel everyone’s kind of in a good spot. We have five guys connected, offensively and defensively.”