Storylines heading into Saturday’s first Battle of Alberta of 2022-23
Photo credit:© Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
7 months ago
On Saturday night, we are going to see the first instalment of the 2022-23 Battle of Alberta. There truly is nothing better than watching the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers play on a Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada.
Here are some of the things to keep an eye on.
Nazem Kadri vs Evander Kane
There is no love lost between these two players. Not only are they both incredibly competitive and intense, but they have a history. Last season in the playoffs Kane laid a dangerous hit on Kadri into the boards in Edmonton. Kadri left the series and missed time with a broken thumb.
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Kadri had surgery on his injured thumb and missed three games of the Stanley Cup Final. He returned in game four and got the last laugh as he went on to score the overtime winner in dramatic fashion while Evander Kane was watching on his couch.
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You have to wonder if Kadri or one of his teammates are going to look for retribution on the Oilers star forward? Could Kadri get some revenge with a hit of his own? Could Milan Lucic or Brett Ritchie step up in a fight with Kane?
I think we could all agree that a Kadri/Kane feud would be a great thing for the Battle of Alberta. We need some new sparks with Matthew Tkachuk and Zach Kassian no longer part of the rivalry.
Can Jacob Markstrom bounce back?
We all know what happened in last year. Jacob Markstrom was excellent throughout the regular season and first round against the Dallas Stars. Some would argue he was the Flames most important player in their first round series win over Dallas.
But for some reason, he had a difficult time against the Edmonton Oilers.
(Jacob Markstrom’s stats against the Edmonton Oilers in the 2021-22 season courtesy of NHL.com)
One thing you have to keep in mind was Markstrom did not have a lot of help in front of him in the playoff series against the Oilers. The team in front of him did not have an answer for the insane play of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Tonight’s Battle of Alberta is going to be a great opportunity for Markstrom to exercise some of his Oiler demons. It would be a massive confidence boost if he is able to go to Rogers place and put on a strong performance in front of a raucous Oilers crowd. Markstrom is only going to have three opportunities to get his game together against the Oilers which makes tonight even more important.
Will we see more insane goal scoring numbers?
The 2021-22 edition of the Battle of Alberta felt like a throw back to the ’80s with the amount of goals that were scored. Between their nine regular season and playoff games, the Flames and Oilers combined to score 78 goals, which is good for almost nine goals a game. In those games the Oilers outscored the Flames 41-37.
We will see this trend continue this season? For the sake of the fans, I certainly hope so. There is a realistic chance we see similar goal totals because of the talent both teams have on their respective rosters. Some of the best offensive players in the NHL are going to be featured in these games. The Battle of Alberta will feature five of the top 30 point scorers in the NHL from last season in Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri and Elias Lindholm.
What are you most looking forward to seeing in this seasons Battle of Alberta? Put your thoughts in the comments section!
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