FlamesNation Mailbag: on the eve of the Battle of Alberta

Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
2 years ago
After three freakin’ decades, friends, it’s almost here. The Calgary Flames will play the Edmonton Oilers in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. (And it only took a multi-year pandemic and how many years of playoff disappointment for both teams for us to get here…) To commemorate this occasion, we will do what we do every week: the mailbag!
Let’s dive in!
Honestly, Matthew Tkachuk and/or Milan Lucic and/or Nikita Zadorov against the Oilers heavies (like Evander Kane and Zack Kassian) is going to be a storyline to watch in this series.
The Flames were effective when they were using their bodies while checking and forechecking. When they got into a lot of scrums and post-whistle shenanigans is when they got into penalty trouble, and their overall game suffered. Can the Flames engage with the Oilers between the whistles and stay out of the box? And with a team that’ll probably begin the series without Chris Tanev, can Zadorov play the body without causing too many hassles for himself and his teammates?
I’ll say this: I think we’ll see at least four fights during the series, but probably zero goalie fights.
The event centre committee is meeting on May 25, the day between Games 4 and 5, and Mayor Gondek mentioned on Monday in her media availability that the committee will have an update on how things are going. They had literally no updates in the first meeting, primarily because there were a bunch of administrative hurdles they hadn’t fully finished clearing yet. That there’s going to be an update next week suggests that (a) the hurdles have been cleared and (b) some progress has been made.
Cautious optimism, friends.
We’ll go into this in more detail on Wednesday morning in our series preview, so let’s rapid fire these ones:
  • The Flames and Oilers were 2-2-0 against each other in the regular season. Between the four games, the Flames out-scored Edmonton 17-16 overall and 14-7 at five-on-five. So… stay out of the penalty box, Flames.
  • Based on the regular season, the forward comparison may be a wash – though with Edmonton having a slight advantage due to having a Connor McDavid. And a Leon Draisaitl. And a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Oilers have some flat-out amazing forwards, but the Flames arguably have more depth: there’s less of a drop-off between the first and fourth lines for Calgary than Edmonton.
  • The Flames have a defensive advantage. They have a slew of blueliners that can move the puck and prevent goals, while Edmonton’s group is a bit uneven at times.
  • The Flames have the advantage in net, at least based on the regular season and first round, as Jacob Markstrom is a Vezina Trophy finalist and Mike Smith was, well, not.
  • We’re expecting a Chris Tanev update of some kind at Tuesday’s practice, but probably not a terribly detailed one.
Enjoy the series, everybody!

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