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2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round Three Open Thread- May 31, 2022

The Western Confernce Finals get under way tonight in Denver as the Avalanche host the Edmonton Oilers.

Edmonton Oilers v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

COLORADO AVALANCHE vs EDMONTON OILERS- 5PM PDT

While much of the headlines will be devoted to the showdown between Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl of the Oilers and Nathan MacKinnon of the Avalanche, it’s the supporting cast that will be the difference makers in this series. That means guys like Zach Hyman, Evander Kane and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will need to show up the way they did in the series against Calgary.

For the Avs, they’ll need that second line of Artturi Lehkonen, Nazem Kadri, and Mikko Rantanen to continue producing. They’ll also need Cale Makar to do what he does best, and this is definitely a weapon that the Oilers don’t possess: a defenceman who has the ability to change games the way Makar can.

These teams met three times in the regular season, and while the Avalance took two of the three meetings, the Oilers were the only one to win in regulation time. They’re meeting for the first time since 1998, and neither team has made it this far in the post season in over 15 years.