Saturday’s Battle of Alberta is hugely important for both sides
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 year ago
Folks, Saturday night features the second of four editions of the Battle of Alberta between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers. For a bunch of reasons, the game carries big, big importance for both sides.
Here’s what is at stake for both clubs.
Friends, the Flames have games in hand on the entire Pacific Division. That ranges from one game (on Edmonton) to eight games (on Anaheim). By points, the Flames are fifth in the Pacific Division, three points back of Los Angeles for the last divisional playoff spot. By points percentage, they’re second (behind only Vegas). Right now, the Flames are focusing on the chase and locking in on one number: their points total.
The Flames enter Saturday’s game four points up on Edmonton with a game in hand. A win can put them six points up with a game in hand and give them a bit of breathing room. Moreover, the Flames have won just once in their past five games and just three times in their last 11 games. The Flames are feeling better about their game lately, but try mentioning the playoffs in front of Darryl Sutter and see how that goes for you.
A Calgary win gives the Flames some breathing room, momentum, and likely allows them to focus on reeling in the four teams in the standings ahead of them rather than being overly concerned about being reeled in themselves by the likes of Vancouver and Edmonton.
Things aren’t going particularly well up north. Despite the presence of amazing players in the form of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the Oilers have struggled of late, posting a 2-11-2 record over their past 15 outings. They just lost 6-0 at home against the visiting Florida Panthers, an outfit the Flames beat 5-1 two nights prior at the Saddledome.
If the Oilers aren’t impressive against the Flames, on national TV, somebody’s probably get fired. Maybe multiple somebodies. Heck, someone might still be getting fired either way, but they might get a stay of execution with a win. The Oilers desperately need to right the ship, and desperately need positive momentum of any type.
Edmonton has arguably the two best players in the NHL. They’re also seven points out of a divisional playoff spot. They have games in hand, but they also have oodles of teams to leap-frog and look like a fragile group with zero confidence in themselves lately. They desperately need some positives, and a win over Calgary would be a big positive.
The late game on Hockey Night in Canada should be a fascinating 60-plus minutes of hockey.
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