Winning four of the next five games is a tough ask for the Edmonton  Oilers. Now behind 2-0 to the Colorado Avalanche in the Western  Conference finals, 

things are looking bleak. But it is important to acknowledge how good the Oilers have been under coach Jay Woodcroft.  

Once Woodcroft took over head coaching duties in February, the Oilers won 26 of the remaining 38 games of the regular season. 

In the first round of the playoffs, Edmonton dispatched a plucky Los  Angeles Kings team, and in the second round, they dismantled the Calgary  Flames, a much-hyped rival from Alberta.  

The grim reaper may be coming to Edmonton, but I think Game 3 is an opportunity to squeeze one more big betting day out of them. 

Colorado coach Jared Bednar looks like a genius. The Avalanche are two  games away from the Stanley Cup Final, and they mostly dominated the  first two contests.  

How did the Avalanche take a four-goal lead in Game 1 and then win  four-zip in Game 2 against the Oilers? It starts in the neutral zone,  where Colorado is layering its defence and not allowing anyone, 

especially Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl, across the blue line without fighting through a couple of bodies.  

The Avalanche are also using the neutral zone to get rush chances, using  stretch and bump passes to put their speedy players in transition  against some of the Oilers’ slower defencemen and F3s.  

In the Avs’ offensive zone, every time the puck gets rimmed around the  boards by Edmonton on the first pass of a breakout, the Avalanche have a  man in position to step up and crunch the outlet to disrupt the zone  exit.