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The second series of the third round begins on Thursday, with Dallas facing Edmonton. The HabsWorld staff shared their predictions on who will advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Western Conference

Edmonton Oilers vs Dallas Stars

Oren Weizman predicts: Oilers in 7 games
Norm Szcyrek predicts: Stars in 6 games
Kevin Leveille predicts: Stars in 6 games
Brian La Rose predicts: Stars in 6 games

(Oren) NHL fans love a good meme, and it’s hard to argue that the Edmonton Oilers and their phenomenal forwards have produced enough content to entertain us for series to come. But what about the Stars? Is this really going to be a series where the forwards cancel each other out, leaving it up to the likes of Ekholm, Nurse, and Desharnais to challenge the Stars’ Heiskanen, Harley, and Lindell?

It’s hard not to give the advantage to the Oilers, right?

I still think this series will go down to the wire, but the Oilers will definitely be a tough hill to climb.

(Norm) There is so much to like about Edmonton. They are the last Canadian team remaining in the playoffs, and they boast the most talented offensive forward in the league in Connor McDavid, the second-highest point producer in the playoffs with 21, The top six forwards include Leon Draisaitl who leads the NHL in playoff scoring with 24 points and Zach Hyman with 13 points. On the blueline, Evan Bouchard has been phenomenal with 20 points in 12 games.

However, Dallas plays a more team-oriented style of play, with solid depth up front and on the backend without big names. They do have players that produced this offseason, Jason Robertson has 12 points, and Wyatt Johnston leads his team with seven goals. Defenceman Miro Heiskanen leads his squad with 13 points.

In goal, this is a complete mismatch. Jake Oettinger is light years ahead of either Stuart Skinner or Cal Pickard; Edmonton’s goalies have been shaky at times, to say the least. To me, it feels like Dallas has the better overall team, one that has the ability to shut down Edmonton’s superstars while taking advantage of their weaker goaltending.

(Kevin) Watching the Oilers-Canucks seven-game series, I felt like the Oilers winning was more about the Canucks not playing their game until it was too late than it was about the Oilers being good enough to beat the Canucks. Edmonton switched to an all-out pressure tactic in all three zones and Vancouver never really adapted well to the strategy in the later games of the series. The holes on the Oilers remain, and they simply won’t get away with it versus an excellent Dallas team that has found their stride as they have already beaten two excellent clubs and now can come in with a bit of rest.

I think the Oilers might ride their game-seven win into getting this series’ first game, and they might ride their stars to another win. Overall, Dallas has better goaltending, defenders, and depth. The only chance the Oilers have is to continue to ride McDavid-Draisaitl at 30 minutes per night and hope they run out of steam. I feel like I’m being generous with Edmonton by calling this one Dallas in 6 games.

(Brian) Dallas is the most well-rounded team in the league and has shown that they can shut down top-end talent better than most.  That isn’t to say that Edmonton’s top players can’t get hot for a period or two which can be the difference-maker for a game or two.

However, I don’t trust Edmonton’s goaltending one bit.  Dallas has a deep offensive group that can keep the pressure up and the Oilers’ goaltending has shown a penchant for cracking.  It’s also worth noting that the Stars are simply elite away from home and switch to a trapping style that teams struggle with.  This might be the easiest matchup the Stars have faced so far although Edmonton’s top duo will make it a competitive series.