On Saturday night, the Calgary Flames kick off the home half of their 2020-21 schedule when they host the Vancouver Canucks. It’s likely to be an emotional, hard-hitting game, well in keeping with the tension in their meetings over the past few decades.
The ferocity of their recent games begs the question: are the Canucks or the Edmonton Oilers the Flames biggest rival?
Why it’s the Canucks
First and foremost, the Flames have faced the Canucks more than any other team – regular season or playoffs. The Flames also have had tons of success against Vancouver: they have more regular season wins against them than any other team and one of their best points percentages.
Additionally, their playoff meetings with the Canucks have been important to each franchise. Vancouver’s 1984 trip to the Stanley Cup Final was preceded with a Flames series, as were the Flames’ 1989 and 2004 runs. The two teams also clashed in classic series in 1994 and 2015, both of which represented big steps for each franchise. Simply put: playoff series between these teams have been epic.
If nothing else, though, their rivalry has been defined by mutual respect. Here’s a representative clip:
Why it’s the Oilers
Playoff clashes between the Flames and Canucks are epic. Regular season clashes have been fairly routine, and usually lack the venom of a Battle of Alberta. Maybe it’s because they haven’t met in the playoffs since 1990, but regular season Battles of Alberta are insane.
If the Canucks and Flames bring the best out of each other, the Oilers and Flames have the ability to bring out the worst, too. Here’s a representative clip of recent years:
Who are the Flames’ biggest rivals these days, the Canucks or Oilers? Sound off in the comments!