What needs to happen for a playoff Battle of Alberta this year?

(Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports)

Hockey is a game full of traditions and sentimentality, and that also bleeds into its rivalries. At this point, it’s only sentimentality that supports the notion that the Battle of Alberta is top rivalry for either the Calgary Flames or the Edmonton Oilers.

For their part, the Flames seem to have more bees in their bonnets for games against the Vancouver Canucks (and for good reason). Since the last time the Flames played meaningful spring hockey against Edmonton in 1991, they’ve played Vancouver three times in the playoffs and had a memorable line brawl with them in January 2014. But don’t look now, but there’s a decent chance that the Flames and the Oilers could meet in the postseason for the first time since 1991.

What has to happen for the Flames and Oilers to finally face off?

A Brief History

The Flames and Oilers have met five times in the playoffs:

  • 1983 Smythe Division Finals: Edmonton beats Calgary 4-1
  • 1984 Smythe Division Finals: Edmonton beats Calgary 4-3
  • 1986 Smythe Division Finals: Calgary beats Edmonton 4-3
  • 1988 Smythe Division Finals: Edmonton beats Calgary 4-0
  • 1991 Smythe Division Semi-Finals: Edmonton beats Calgary 4-3

If you’re a Flames fan, sentimentality may be the primary reason you want to see a playoff Battle of Alberta… because the outcomes have rarely been good for the Flames. (Thanks, Steve Smith!)

    Scenario 1: Edmonton finishes 2nd in Pacific, Calgary finishes 3rd

    In this scenario, the Oilers are required to keep doing what they’re doing and figure out a way to finish ahead of Anaheim in second place in the Pacific. It seems doable considering that the two clubs have had roughly the same amount of points for the last while.

    The tougher challenge is given to Calgary: they need to stay hot and figure out a way to catch up to Edmonton and Anaheim, bumping the Ducks down to the wildcard spots. It’s not impossible, but it involves the Flames bridging a two-point gap between them and Anaheim. It’s doable, but the Flames have been bad against the Ducks lately.

    SCS odds: 59% chance the Oilers finish 2nd, 23% chance Flames finish 3rd

    Scenario 2: Edmonton finishes 1st in Pacific, Calgary finishes in first wildcard

    While Scenario 1 puts the onus on the Flames to get hotter and catch up with someone, this scenario relies upon the Oilers to put the rubber to the road and catch up with San Jose (currently three points up). Meanwhile, the Flames merely need to out-pace Nashville/St. Louis and Los Angeles for the first wildcard spot.

    SCS odds: 11% chance the Oilers finish 1st, 29% chance Flames finish first wildcard

    Scenario 3: Edmonton finishes 2nd in Pacific and wins in first round, Calgary finishes in first wildcard and wins in first round

    This scenario is arguably the least likely. The Oilers and Flames both basically stay put and then win in the first round. Considering the teams they may face in the opening round – Edmonton would play Anaheim, Calgary would play San Jose – it seems somewhat unlikely that both Canadian teams would unseat their California counterparts.

    Sum It Up

    Based on the most likely outcomes, a first round Battle of Alberta is a possibility but it’s not quite a likelihood right now. Edmonton’s most likely first round opponents are Anaheim (56.2%) and Calgary (23.3%). Calgary’s most likely first round opponents are San Jose (27.9%), Edmonton (23.4%) and Minnesota (22.3%).

    It’s possible, but both teams have some work to do over the next month to make it a reality.

      • McDavid's Comet

        Just putting it out there…… where in this finely written article is the scenario where Calgary finishes ahead Edmonton, at the end of the season?

        Some Flames fans are having a hard time grasping the concept but, this article speaks for it’s self: Oilers are playoff bound.

    • theJason

      Go check out the post “http://oilersnation.com/2017/3/2/pacific-seeding-home-ice-on-the-line” on oilersnation for further reading on this. I’d love to see this match up and hope it happens!

    • Derzie

      Best case scenario is the Flames make it, Oil don’t. For that reason I want no part of this matchup. I can’t think of a worse worst case scenario than losing a round to the Oilers. Don’t want that option on the table. Keep BOA a historical event.

    • dontcryWOLF88

      …yeah, thats not even something worth it for me either.

      I dont troll so no benefit to the win for me other than maybe slighty happier than another team. If we lose though, yup, get ready for troll parade. Those guys make it ugly to be a fan and kills my interest in participating here big time

      • Parallex

        Yeah, no kidding. Win or lose the troll army one click to the left would make this place insufferable. Seriously, they almost make me ashamed to be a sports fan. Need less of that not more.

        Hard Pass. Would rather take down the Wild (Revenge for the 21 slash salute to Johnny) and Ducks (Crack the Honda Curse). At least then we’d get to enjoy the playoffs in peace free of low class trolls.

    • deantheraven

      I’d the like Ducks Oiler platter with the Shark Soup as a starter,please. And a basket of goals, with butter.

      The Flames have had less trouble with the Sharks lately,and if goaltending stays solid and more scorers are scoring, I like the Flames chances of squeaking into Round Two. The Ducks-Oilers winner is gonna have bruises. Round Two = BOA, or Drive- By in Anaheim.
      Either way, it’s all gravy.

    • Backburner

      The two teams I don’t want the Flames to play is the Oilers, and Ducks.

      The Flames had no success against the Oilers this season, and we seem to be cursed in the Duck pond.

      • Eggs Bennett

        Flames will be fine against EDM. 4 losses during the worst streaks of the season in terms of goaltending, PDO, defense, specialty teams, you name it. They lost to EVERYONE during those stretches. Just happens that the NHL was smart enough to lump all BOA games into such small chunks of the season…

    • McRaj

      For all of you sitting here saying that us Oilers fans are trolls. Maybe go take a look at how many of you pathetic flames fans come and troll over on Oilers Nation. We are the most diehard fans, sell out after sell out for 10 years of crap.

      We are making the playoffs, and we have a guy named Connor McDavid. Face it, we were bottom feeders for a long time but now it’s our time.

      You flames fans give canucks fans a run for their money of trash talking and annoyance.

      • Rexx

        Not to disturb you from drinking the bridge water, Troll, but usually “it’s our time” is used by a team who has built up the accolades during the regular season and prior post-seasons to prove they are a true contender for the Stanley Cup.

        The Oilers are simply in year 2 of their rebuild that began the minute they selected Connor McDavid. I do not envy your fan base for kicking a dead horse for 10 years; selling out during this time proves more idiocy than being “diehard fans”.

        Moral of the post, now is not your time.
        You’re starting to do things right for once – don’t get it twisted.

        Crawl back into the sewer now.

      • Rexx

        Not to disturb you from drinking the bridge water, Troll, but usually “it’s our time” is used by a team who has built up the accolades during the regular season and prior post-seasons to prove they are a true contender for the Stanley Cup.

        The Oilers are simply in year 2 of their rebuild that began the minute they selected Connor McDavid. I do not envy your fan base for kicking a dead horse for 10 years; selling out during this time proves more idiocy than being “diehard fans”.

        Moral of the post, now is not your time.
        You’re starting to do things right for once – don’t get it twisted.

        Crawl back into the sewer now.

        • The Doctor

          Definitely the most bitter. No Stanley Cup ever, and still obsessed with the alleged injustice of some goal that Joel Otto scored at some point during the previous century.

      • Gfountyyc

        I’m a flames fan that lives in yeg. Sell outs? I used to get lower bowl seats for 40 dollars because they couldn’t give tickets away a few years ago.
        You might be a big fan, but your market only is when your winning.

        Living in Edmonton all I hear on the radio and around the water cool is about playoffs and how good the oil are? It makes me dislike them more. What have they even accomplished in the past 10 years?

        I like it when both teams are competitive, but before you oil trolls start spouting off about how good you are first acknowledge your decade long winning percentage of 35%

      • McDavid's Comet

        It’s not unreasonable for them to be “pounding their chests” it is a Flames site after all, what do you expect?

        A whole lot of the same is going at ON too.

    • Danomitee

      Second round, although unlikely would be awesome. That feeling would be more jubilant for both sides as we’d already both have won a round. A first round matchup would be flowing with so much hatred I don’t think the losing fans would ever get over it.

      • 3 Little Birds

        As an Oilers fan, I was behind you guys 100%.

        The level of bandwagon/uneducated/belligerence that Canuck fans displayed , was like a steering wheel in my pants. It drove me nuts.

        I’m sure I celebrated just as hard at that series win as you did.

        My wish this year is to meet you in the second round. Huge mental recharge for the province and 3 weeks of playoff hockey top to bottom, with one Alberta team off to the third round.

        Oh, and I want us to win.

    • smatic10

      Yea, I’ll pass on facing the Soilers. Would never, ever hear the end of it if we lost to them. If you stop McDavid, you beat the Oilers, simple as that. Problem is that’s ridiculously hard to do.

    • The Doctor

      Awesome result in Montreal tonight! Byron scores with nine seconds left in regulation to make it a regulation win by Les Habs over Nashville. I guess Byron still has a soft spot for us Flames fans . . . 🙂

    • country mac

      stop geaudreau and stop the flames,

      wait that seems pretty easy this year.

      how is bennett doing in the minors, great to redraft 2014 and take him 19th overall/

      • The Real Slim Brodie

        An oiler fan once threw and apple core at my head as I sat back in my lunch room after i won a battle of wits with him . He ran away after that and taunted me as I chased him around the shop. When he stopped he said now that’s karma..right at that moment and with no better timing an ice ball fell on his head. Think about that and hope to see you in the playoffs. Oilers fans never change

    • country mac

      Players better than Bennett from 2014 that flames couldnt draft

      Draisaitl, Ekblad, Reinhart

      Players better than Bennett flames could and should have drafted

      pastrnak, ehlers, fabbri, larkin, arvidson, nylander, point, dvorak, perlinnin, labanc, schmaltz

      • The Sultan

        Opinions are nice, but like certain undersireable parts of the human body, we all have one and they all stink. Especially Oilers fans.

        I could make a list of who the Oil should’ve drafted instead of Hall, RNH, Yakupov, but I don’t want to waste my time. This is precisely the reason why I hate the Oilers and wish them nothing but bad luck. For every decent fan with some minor level of intelligence, there’s about a hundred dim-witted ones acting like they won the Cup already.

        Here’s a newsflash: Johnny Gaudreau is part of the Flames, a very important part, but if he goes down or gets cold (like, um, you know, throughout this season) we’d still be fine. McDavid or Talbot go down, and that’s all she wrote.

        I know you guys have suffered long and hard for 11 years.


        I want you all to suffer for about 100 more.

        I want you to come close and then come crashing down, missing the playoffs and finishing 9th. I hope you sign Draisaitl to a massive contract and then he regresses considering he’s a center that’s been playing with McDavid. A pylon could put up points playing with McDavid. That’s what half your team is anyways.

        I don’t care about the BoA. Not anymore. As far as I’m concerned there’s only one real NHL team in Alberta and that’s the Flames.

        The Oilers are kind of just there. And they deserve nothing.

        • McDavid's Comet

          Holy Moly Sultan, angry much?

          I bet you can tell us all whom the Oilers should drafted in 2010, -11-, -12. They already occurred, and now ample time has passed for you to give obvious choices of who they should have drafted. That’s like me saying Calgary should have drafted Nylander instead of Bennett.

          Hall and Hopkins weren’t bad draft picks, they just weren’t the best out of their class. Can’t win them all, however the Oilers got at least one first pick right and we’re happy for that

          Did you read the article? The main theme of it was: Oilers are in the playoffs and they are unanimously finishing ahead of Calgary. Why does this bother you so much?

          If there is a BoA in the playoffs this year, it will be epic…… no matter the team that moves on.

          Don’t get mad, get even.

          • The Sultan

            I wouldn’t be counting my chickens before they hatch. The Oilers have 76 points. The Flames, 72. They have each played the same number of games, 64. Neither team holds games in hand over the other.

            Calgary has won five straight, Edmonton is 2-3. Both teams play the remainder of their games at home.

            McDavid is a generational player. Draisaitl is good, playing with McDavid; Maroon, having a career year. However, the Flames are heating up at the right time; Bennett is finding his game, Ferland is, Monahan is, and believe it or not, Gaudreau is.

            I would consider this to be McDavid’s best year, obviously, because he hasn’t been injured. Gaudreau, on the other hand, has missed time this season, and has suffered scoring droughts. All in all, I would say this a down year for Johnny Hockey.

            Talbot, is having a career year. I don’t know if that’s because the Oilers finally found some guys that know how to play defense, but he’s putting up good numbers while playing the most number of games for a starter. He’s going to tire out if, and that’s a big if, the Oilers make the playoffs.

            Elliot is having a down year. He was supposed to be our number 1 but has put up some of the worst numbers of his career. Johnson had a hot streak but has since come back down to earth. Despite that, they are rounding into form at the right time and the Brian Elliot we’ve seen over the last little while is the Brian Elliot we thought we were getting when we started the season.

            And despite all that, there are only 4 points separating the two clubs. Ducks, Blues, Kings, Preds, Flames, don’t go walking off into the sunset yet because there is still a lot of hockey to be played, and plenty of time for the Oilers to collapse.

            • McDavid's Comet

              WOW, everything I just read in this post is based on a FIVE game sample size…… five games, that’s it?

              Look, Oiler fans are just ecstatic that they are making playoffs, nevemind challenging for first in the pacific. We don’t care if we end up in a wildcard spot as-a-matter-of-fact.

              You move on to the “your guys are good but our guys are hot!” argument; I’m not denying Calgary is hot, but for how long? McDavid is in his SECOND season, and he is leading the league. That means more points than EVERYONE including Crosby, not any easy feat no matter the player. Of course it’s McDavid’s best year, it’s only his second in the league.

              Elliot and Johnson were supposed to battle it out for #1 spot and nobody won. You bring up the “IF Talbot gets hurt” or “Tires out” scenarios: are you telling me based on your 5 game sample that Elliot is now an iron curtain? He’s barely a starter, if he plays too many games he loses it, essentially, he tires out; never mind getting hurt. If Elliot gets hurt then Calgary is really screwed. Don’t worry about Talbot, worry about Elliot. You said “we finally found some defence or something”; you haven’t noticed?

              You can spin-doctor your points-of-view any way you like. I haven’t heard or read any professional hockey analyst say at anytime the Oilers are not making the playoffs furthermore, I haven’t heard or read any professional hockey analyst say that the Flames will finish ahead of Edmonton.

              There will be no collapse, this article supports that. If you hold that train-of-thought you will be severely disappointed at the end of the season.

            • dontcryWOLF88

              Ill take Johnson as the Flames backup over Brossoit any day. I also dont think its fair to elliot to point to the early part of his season. Yup, he wasnt great, neither was the team in general. However, the rest of his career and last part of this season suggest hes the real deal. Thats a very large sample size, vs a very small sample size. Elliot is just getting back to form!

              Like I said before, though, predicitions are a rough game.

            • McDavid's Comet

              Brossoit has a too small sample size to say anything about him, and that’s the problem. Don’t really know what you got with him. I would be more comfortable with Johnson as backup over Brossoit. Elliot & Johnson have been shakey all yr. and Elliot is like a “box of chocolates”: you never know what you are going to get.

            • dontcryWOLF88

              That’s really not the reputation or career elliot has had though. He has proven reliable so many times.

              Other important factor here is he was getting hung out to dry by the defence in lots of games. Wide open guys getting wide open nets to shoot at. That makes his save percentage look worse than just his play. Though, I think he also didn’t play well. That with struggling offense was a blast to watch :/

              Looking much better now though! Nobody can deny that.

            • SSB1963

              Brossoit is still an unknown quantity. Although base on junior numbers I like our chances. That said it is a big step from junior to the NHL. Only time will tell.

    • dontcryWOLF88

      There are annoying fans from ANY CITY. This is hockey we are tlaking about. People get very passionate, and thats cool. The issue I have is when people take it over the line from the ‘all in good fun’ fan rivalry into personal attacks.

      Ive perused the ON threads a few times. Commeted once about some factual things. Mostly just read. And yeah, ive seen some names from here over there doing the same thing people complain about oilers fans doing here.

      I dont advocate either side of that, yet the trolls always seem to say that because someone did it on their site then they have warrant to do the same. We are talking about maybe a dozen people on either side. I really dont think, aside from this small group of people, that anybody doesnt see it as childish annoying crap.

      To be fair, there are also some respectful oilers fans who come over here to have conversations that that generally doesnt cause any issues. The distinction seems pretty clear to me. No easy answers to solving this, which is why I just dont want to have to deal with the issue at all.(like if the flames and oilers had a series together). I see it getting ugly really fast and most fans would probably just check out from both sites.

    • dontcryWOLF88

      The oilers have a good team this year. So do the flames.

      I think they will both make the playoffs.

      If the flames hadnt got off to such a terrible start, for which there are many reasons, then I think its fair to say the flames could be ahead of the oilers right now. As it stands, oilers only have 4 loser points over the flames right now. Thats hardly a big advantage.

      However, these are human beings, so only time will tell what is going to happen. We can look at numbers and project odds based on these things. Reality is, both teams could lose every game from here on out. One, or the other might choke up. Or, they both kill the last stretch. There really is no point in trying to forecast these things. Im never a big fan of projecting future success, or failure, off nominally different records.

    • The Real Slim Brodie

      Can’t we all just get along and focus on getting l.a out of the playoffs. Can’t believe I went to bed happy with a t.o 2 goal lead and woke up to see they gifted la 2 points. I’d love the entertain value of a battle of alberta in the playoffs. Go flames go

    • DoubleDIon

      We won’t lose to the Oilers if we meet them. They’re a one line team. No depth. We have two scoring lines rolling now and Larsson and Klefbom can’t play against both of them. Backlund can slow down McDavid enough and the Oilers are still the Oilers after that one pairing and one line. Bring them on. Easiest opponent we could face in the west.

    • Glass

      I think the Oilers will remain in 2nd due to having a pretty good schedule to finish out the season. Based on tonight Calgary could be tied with Anaheim. If it does happen, I’ll be so stoked.