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THE BATTLE OF ALBERTA: THE HOTTEST RIVALRY IN HOCKEY TODAY

MAY 16, 2022  (11H33)      JON
The NHL's most intense rivalry will surely be must-watch every game. The high-flying Oilers struggled against a resilient Kings team but pulled out the Game 7 win thanks to the heroics of Connor McDavid. On the other hand, Darryl Sutter's Flames surprisingly battled through seven games with the Dallas Stars who, on the back of Jake Oettinger, frustrated the superior Calgary squad. After an insane seven-game stretch from the young netminder, the Stars simply couldn't withstand the Flames' attack & eventually buckled. Now, the Battle of Alberta is underway.

Here's a tale of the tape:


This ought to be good. Two teams who could not be more different but are still evenly matched will square off in Round 2. The Oilers' composition really isn't built for playoff hockey, but somehow they get it done. 'Some' meaning Connor, and 'how' meaning McDavid. If 97 continues playing like a man possessed, the Oilers might win the Cup, no joke. That said, what a joke the guy is. He dismantled the Kings, and if it wasn't for him there would be no Battle of Alberta this year:


However, the LA Kings & the Calgary Flames are two very different beasts. The Flames defend better than the Kings (LA's calling card) & attack 5x better. 40 year-old Mike Smith will need to look more like 31 year-old Mike Smith if the Oilers wish to compete, as the Flames dominate play as well as anyone. On top of that, the Oilers will need to score in bunches, which is way easier said than done against the stingy Flames. Calgary's defensive numbers were the best in the NHL this season, so will the old adage of 'defense wins championships' hold up?

The Flames have every advantage one could desire in a playoff matchup; goaltending & defense are decidedly in Calgary's favor, and offense is a coin flip in any given match. Obviously, the Oilers have the advantage of having the single-most dangerous player in the world on their team. But with a banged up Leon Draisaitl, the Oilers absolutely need Evander Kane, Zach Hyman, and the rest of their forward group to ramp up production. Otherwise, Calgary will set the Oil aflame.

Here is a little primer to get you jazzed up about this all-time rivalry.

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