Edmonton Oilers

Oilers Sunday Census: Which division rival would you like to see the Edmonton Oilers face in the first round of playoffs?

After going on a hot streak before the All-Star break, and winning eight out of ten games in regulation with one special-time loser point, the club quickly climbed the regular season standings. Since then the club has struggled winning only two of their last six games in regulation, the silver line is that they lost three of those games in a shootout granting them three more loser points.

There were rumblings that the club could challenge for first place in the division before the All-Star break, but to get back in that conversation, the Oilers needs to get back to their winning ways. If they can turn things around and finish the regular season first in the division, they will be versing a wild card team in the playoffs, but is that really an advantage? After all, playoff hockey is a much different game than the regular season and wild card teams have won the Stanley Cup before.

This spurs the question, which division rival would you like to see the Oilers face in the first round of the playoffs?

We asked, you answered. Let’s take a look!

Want to take part in Sunday Census polls? We send them out every week on our Twitter at @oilrigEDM. Follow along or send in ideas for the next poll!

Fans don’t want to see another round against the Kings

The Los Angeles Kings have performed quite well as of late, winning six of their last eight games in regulation and potting another point in an overtime loss against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Kings are currently sitting on a record of 31–18–7, good for 67 points, and second in the Pacific Division.

When looking back at last season’s first-round matchup, it was no easy feat for the Oilers to overcome the Kings as they gave Edmonton all they could handle during the seven-game series. The Kings’ gritty play style resulted in two key players having to play through injuries for the rest of the playoffs: Leon Draisaitl suffered a high ankle sprain after Michael Anderson slew foot him to the ice during a scrum, and Darnell Nurse suffered a torn hip flexor.

8.4% of voters would like to face the Kings in the first round. With such a low percentage of votes, most fans would not like to play them again this postseason considering how close the last series was.

Playing against the Kraken would be historical

The Seattle Kraken have been one of the biggest surprises this season. Most fans would not have guessed they would have a record of 31–18–6, third in the Pacific Division, given how poorly the club performed last season, finishing last in the division with a record of 27–49–6.

The Kraken look like a completely different team when comparing their play on the ice to last season, as they have finally found the scoring depth they so desperately needed all last year. Ex-Oiler Jordan Eberle, has seen a resurgence leading the team with 42 points. Kraken rookie, Matthew Beniers has been having a great season with 38 points, and defenceman Vince Dunn is contributing offence from the backend contributing 40 points.

Gathering the majority of votes, almost half of voters would prefer to play the Kraken in the first round of the playoffs. This is probably associated with the fact that they have never played in the playoffs in their short time as an NHL franchise, compiled with the fact they finish so low in the standings last season.

Are fans scared of playing the Knights in the first-round of playoffs?

The Vegas Golden Knights are playing great hockey as of late, winning all four of their last games since the All-Star break. They are currently sitting first in the Pacific Division standings with a record of 33–18–4.

Although the team has been playing well lately, they struggled before the All-Star break, winning only one game in regulation over an eight-game stretch. This could be attributed to the injury issues the club is dealing with. Mark Stone, the Golden Knights’ captain, had 38 points in 42 games before he suffered a back injury during a game against the Florida Panthers and will now be out for the rest of the season due to back surgery. The Knights’ starting goaltender, Logan Thompson, suffered a lower-body injury in a game against the Minnesota Wild and will be out week to week.

With the lowest percentage of poll votes at 6.4%, the Golden Knights are the Oilers’ least-voted team to play in the first round. This is not surprising as the Knights have made it to the playoffs four times since the franchise started in 2018. During this six-year period, the club hasten seven playoff series and made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Their depth and talent would make them a scary first-round opponent.

Voters want another Battle of Alberta playoff series

The Calgary Flames have certainly underachieved so far this season. They are currently sitting at a 25–19–11 record with 61 points, placing them fifth in the Pacific Division.

The team has undergone significant changes since last season, acquiring Nazem Kadri, Jonathan Huberdeau, and MacKenzie Weegar during the offseason after losing Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets and trading Matthew Tkachuk. So far the new additions have struggled with Huberdeau only having 36 points in 52 games after having an 85-point season in Florida last year.

As of late, there have been rumblings of a divide between Darryl Sutter and his players; Allan Walsh, Huberdeau’s agent, speaking out on Twitter about the negativity in the locker room and how it could be affecting the motivation and emotion on the ice.

With over one-third of poll voting, it’s clear to see that fans would like to see another Battle of Alberta playoff series. This high number of votes could also be attributed to the fact that the Oilers were able to defeat the Flames in five games without much pushback.

That’s a wrap

Which team would you like to see the Oilers play in the first round of the playoffs? Let us know in the comments!

Thank you to everyone who took part in the poll, stay tuned for next week’s Sunday Census!

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

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