Next stop – Denver

May 27, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) and defenseman Devon Toews (7) celebrate after the Avalanche defeated the Blues in game six and won the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
May 27, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) and defenseman Devon Toews (7) celebrate after the Avalanche defeated the Blues in game six and won the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The D corps are formidable too, just like the forward ranks.

They’re led by breakout youngster Cale Makar, who at the age of 23 broke out big time this season by putting up 28 goals and 86 points in 77 games, second only to Roman Josi in scoring by blueliners. He’s already put up 3-10-13 in 10 games and will be a handful for the Oilers all series long.

His partner is veteran Devon Toews, no slouch himself as he’s put up 13-44-57 in 66 regular season games and 4-4-8 in 10 playoff games so far.

The second pairing is deadline day acquisition Josh Manson, acquired I assume because Samuel Girard is out with an injury long term. He’s put up 2-5-7 in 22 games in the regular season and 1-4-5 in 10 playoff games so far. Girard’s PPG number is 0.42 while Manson’s is 0.32 – there’s a slight dropoff that perhaps the Oilers could exploit.

His partner is the much maligned Jack Johnson, acquired in the offseason from the Rangers. He’s put up 1-8-9 in 74 games. He’s played in three playoff games so far and not produced any offence. He looks to be the one weak spot we might be able to exploit. His counterpart on the Oilers is Duncan Keith, a superior player who has put up better numbers in both the regular season and the playoffs.

Even the Avs bottom pairing is formidable. Covering for the injured Ryan Murray is Bowen Byram, who has put up 5-12-17 in 30 regular season games, and he’s already put up six assists in 10 playoff games for the Avs – and like Evan Bouchard this is his first playoffs too. Wow.

Rounding out the D corps is veteran Erik Johnson, who has put up 8-17-25 in 77 games in the regular season and 1-4-5 in 10 playoff games so far.

I can’t decide who’s out in front on this one because the Oilers don’t have an answer to Cale Makar but on the other hand Samuel Girard is a huge loss for the Avs and Jack Johnson might be a good veteran but he’s not an adequate substitute.

I could make an argument for either team on this one, so let’s just keep it simple and say this one’s a wash too.