Game 2 of the Battle of Alberta is set to begin at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary tonight. Puck drop is scheduled for just after 8:30 p.m. (these late games are going to be the death of me). The Oilers look to rebound from the 9-6 shellacking they took in Game 1 Wednesday. Lord knows they don’t want to find themselves down 2-0 in the series… 🏒 🥅
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Follow along with the action with Postmedia Edmonton Digital Editor Trevor Robb and a team of Postmedia journalists as the Edmonton Oilers take on the Calgary Flames in Game Two of the Battle of Alberta second round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Drop a comment into the feed and say hello!
Oilers even series with comeback win against Flames
By Jim Matheson
Admittedly, it wasn’t one of those bold go-where-no-man-has-gone-before pre-game prognostications, but the Edmonton Oilers sage Evander Kane offered up a salient take on Game 2 in the Battle of Alberta after practice.
“If we can keep them under nine goals tonight, I really like our chances to win,” said Kane, caught between a guffaw and a smile, as he met the media.
Well, after dropping a 9-6 laugher to the Calgary Flames in Game 1 Wednesday, which tied the NHL record for most goals ever in a playoff game, the Oilers got the first part of the equation right Friday, and mostly importantly the second.
“Anytime you lose, you want a response, right?” said Oilers forward Zach Hyman, who provided the exclamation point on a stirring 5-3 victory with a shorthanded breakaway, then goalie Mike Smith set up Leon Draisaitl two and-a-half minutes later for the back-breaker off the post and in, in the final 10 minutes.
Coupling the Hyman and Draisaitl heroics — he didn’t look like he had a sprained ankle on his breakaway — they got another all-world performance from Connor McDavid in the same wide-open game as the first but with considerably more pace.
Oilers chip away, tie the game 3-3
The Edmonton Oilers got goals form Connor McDavid and Evan Bouchard to send the game tied 3-3 heading into the second intermission at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.
Duncan Keith picked up assists on both second period goals to give him a three-point night (1G, 2A) so far. The Oilers have had two goals disallowed tonight after McDavid collided with goaltender Jacob Markstrom in the crease.
After getting outshot 11-5 to start the period, the Oilers have since come back to lead the period in shots 13-12. The Oilers have gone 1-for-6 on the powerplay, and will start the third period on the PP after Flames forward Blake Coleman drove to the net and completely ran over Oilers goaltender Mike Smith.
Flames take early 2-1 lead after first period
The Calgary Flames scored two goals early but the Oilers responded with one of their own to make it a 2-1 game after the first period at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Flames defenceman Michael Stone opened the scoring three minutes into the game after the Oilers’ Zach Hyman broke his stick on the play to give Calgary the early 1-0 lead. Three minutes later, Brett Ritchie was left all alone in front of the Oilers goal and he tucks it home past goaltender Mike Smith to make it 2-0 for the Flames.
If you’re feeling a sense of deja vu here you wouldn’t be mistaken, but the Oilers eventually began to pour it on late in the period, including what looked like a potential goal that was called off after an early whistle from the referee.
The Oilers outshot the Flames 13-12 in the first period and lead 15-12 in the hitting department as well. The Oilers will start the second period on the powerplay after Flames defenceman Nikita Zadorov was called for hooking Evander Kane.
Oilers fans flock to Rogers Place for Game 2
‘They’re going to come back hard’: Oilers fans optimistic ahead of Game 2 of the Battle of Alberta
By Kellen Taniguchi
The sea of orange took over the Ice District once again on Friday night as the Edmonton Oilers geared up for Game 2 of the Battle of Alberta in Calgary.
Fans gathered in Ford Hall and at the Ford Tailgate Party in the Ice District Plaza ahead of puck drop all still optimistic after the Oilers dropped Game 1 on Wednesday.
Kim Coopsammy, Genalyn Fisher and Laurie Fisher were some of the first people lined up at security waiting to get into the Rogers Place watch party.
“They’re going to come back hard. Calgary better watch out, they’re going to come back really hard with vengeance,” said Coopsammy.
Fisher yelled out “down with (Matthew) Tkachuk” after talking about his chirps toward Evander Kane during Wednesday’s game.
The trio said they were excited to enjoy the game with 18,000 “rabid” fans.
“I think it’s the excitement of it and being with people who also share the same passion, which is the Edmonton Oilers, obviously,” said Fisher. “I’ve been cheering for them for such a very long time that I’m never going to give up on them.”
Notes from the rink
By Jim Matheson
The Edmonton Oilers went through a spirited pre-game practice Friday in Calgary with lots of laughing and playful one-on-stuff rather than an it’s-all-business-guys skate after their embarrassing 9-6 loss in Game 1.
We’ll find out about midnight today if they’re still in a good mood.
“If we don’t give up nine goals I really like our chances,” deadpanned Evander Kane.
With the 8:50 p.m. face-off because of ESPN, the NHL’s U.S. carrier wants that time, this one could start on a Friday and end on a Saturday—two days to decide Game 2.
The morning skate was actually an afternoon skate, starting at High Noon.
“Yeah, that’s different, eh?” said Oiler coach Jay Woodcroft.
Predictably, Leon Draisaitl, who is a game participant but not a practice skater since he sprained his ankle in Game 6 in round one against Los Angeles, was absent from the afternoon skate. Devin Shore was the place-holder on left-wing with Connor McDavid and Kane. On defence, Tyson Barrie didn’t skate. He’s under the weather.
Draisaitl, who’s about 60 percent of his usual powerful self but still had three points in Game 1 and played over 20 minutes, will play because he’s soldiered through the bad ankle every game since LA’s Mikey Anderson hauled him down. Barrie? Who knows how ill he is. Kris Russell, who only played 5:20 in Game 1, and farmhand Philip Broberg, who got three minutes in his first and only playoff game against LA were out as No. 6 and No. 7 D at the pre-game skate. Broberg actually got third-pairing work with Brett Kulak, over Russell.
Of note: Darnell Nurse, playing through a core-muscle problem which he got late in regular-season in a collision with Colorado’s J.T. Compher, which KO’d him for the last four league games, was out there. But, his minutes are down about four minutes from his regular-season 25; he only played 18:08 in Game 1. He’s labouring. He’s not as physical in his end as usual, and his skating, where he pulls away from people, hasn’t been evident throughout the playoffs.
“He’s healthy and available,” said Woodcroft, who had Kulak with Cody Ceci at times in Game 1. “We moved a lot of pieces around the chess board,” said the head coach, dismissing the sitting of Nurse for Kulak.
Off the pre-game skate, it’s hard to know what the lines are. Jesse Puljujarvi, who was the 11thforward in Game 1, with Zach Kassian as No. 10, was in a white top six jersey skating with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman and Kailer Yamamoto, who has been in the top six, was wearing grey which signifies bottom six.
“I thought Jesse had some things he can build on off Game 1, some rushes up the ice, and he had some opportunities around the net,” said Woodcroft.
Woodcroft has proven to be a master of misdirection from morning skates to what lines he uses in games. “You’re not asking questions off a morning (afternoon?) skate are you?” Woodcroft, joked to a question about who is playing where.
Watch the pre-game press conference
He again had the team’s top prospect forward Dylan Holloway out for the pre-game skate, as he did for Game 1. Admittedly it would really be thinking outside the box to play him, but former coach/GM Glen Sather did it after an Oiler first-game loss in the ’85 Cup final in Philly, putting an untried Esa Tikkanen in for the first time to shake things up.
“I’m open-minded and flexible about our lineup,” said Woodcroft.
Winger Warren Foegele, who played all 82 league games, the only Oiler to do so, appeared to be on a regular-line with Ryan McLeod and Yamamoto. He has sat for three games, and they could use his aggressive fore-check. Kane was the most physical of the Oiler forwards in Game 1, mixing it up with Milan Lucic after the ex Oiler hit McDavid hard and clean along the boards. No fight, but lots of words. When asked how the Oilers could counteract the Flames targeting McDavid, who had a goal and three assists in Game 1, Kane shrugged.
“We’re going after their top guys,” he said. So, Johnny Gaudreau, who finished second in league scoring with 115 points?.
As for Lucic? “We welcome him on the ice whenever he is,” said Kane.
‘He’s a true warrior’: Tkachuk sends greetings to Oilers superfan Ben Stelter
Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk had a special message for a certain young man in Edmonton who — it’s safe to say — is not his biggest fan.
Ben Stelter has captured the hearts of people across Canada with his Edmonton Oilers fan videos. The five-year-old is battling brain cancer.
The Oilers have appreciated his videos and have invited him to many of their games and practices. He even stood with team captain Connor McDavid and the rest of the team for the anthems on March 24.
One of Stelter’s recent videos had him firing a Nerf gun at a picture of Tkachuk.
On Thursday, Tkachuk sent a message to Ben via Twitter.
Oilers fans gearing up for Game 2
Oilers Mega 50/50 surpasses $2.9 million
The Mega 50/50 raffle has surpassed the $2.9-million mark Friday as the Oilers gear up to face the Flames in Calgary for Game 2 tonight.
The 50/50 will run until May 24, with half the proceeds going towards the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF).
Battle of Alberta: Meet the fans on either side of the NHL’s greatest rivalry
Tyler Dawson, National Post
Kyle Boudreau is a little on the superstitious side when it comes to the Calgary Flames.
“My number one good luck charm is I have a necklace that I can change out what player I wear around my neck, like hockey cards,” Boudreau said.
The Flames are facing off against the Edmonton Oilers in round two of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Game one was on Wednesday evening, and the Flames won with an astonishing 9-6 victory. Game two is Friday night.
It’s the first time the two teams have been matched up in the post-season since 1991 — a legendary series that Theo Fleury, who played for the Flames at the time, said was “probably one of the greatest seven-game series ever played in the history of professional hockey.”
“It was an incredibly intense series. It was almost barbaric, at points,” Fleury told the Calgary Herald in 2006.
Now, the two teams — two of the most infamous rivals in the National Hockey League — are facing off again.
Terry Jones: Battle of Alberta drawing plenty of betting action
The smart money is on Calgary.
The big money is on Calgary.
But the most bets are on Edmonton.
And the most interest is on Calgary-Edmonton.
I suspect most Stanley Cup playoff TV viewers are already well beyond weary with the overwhelming volume of sports betting entities advertising their existence in this initial year of legal single game and proposition sports betting in Canada.
But think about this as the first Stanley Cup Battle of Alberta gets set to move north for Games 3 and 4.
Lets say you have zero interest in betting a dime. The betting business is still proving to be an intriguing study.
Consider this Edmonton-Calgary series.
It has offered no lack of storylines, but heading into Game 2 Friday in Calgary the betting business has offered an entirely new perspective to view the Oilers and Flames and even compared to Edmonton and Calgary.
Oilers’ Darnell Nurse named finalist for King Clancy Trophy
Edmonton Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse was named as a finalist for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy on Friday.
Nurse is joined by Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf and New Jersey Devils defenceman P.K. Subban.
The award is given annually to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.
No choice for Mike Smith but to bounce back in Game 2
By Jim Matheson
Goalies need selective memory or amnesia after bad nights, so those two goals Mike Smith gave up to Elias Lindholm and Andrew Mangiapane in the first 51 seconds in Game 1 on Wednesday — the two fastest ever by players from the same team in NHL playoff history — won’t be a continuous loop in his brain before Game 2.
Smith, who will be starting his ninth straight Edmonton Oilers playoff game, will be better Friday night after embarrassing 9-6 loss because he has no choice.
The Vezina trophy finalist Jacob Markstrom in the Calgary Flames net can’t be as bad as he was in Game 1 where pucks were leaking through him all night.
Smith, who became the oldest goalie with a Stanley Cup shutout when he blanked Los Angeles 2-0 last Saturday, got the hook after three goals in 10 shots over the first 6:05 in Calgary.
Smith is 40 years old. Maybe this is all catching up to him? Smith, of course, shook off the weariness theory at his age.
“No. It’s the playoffs. You want to play your best hockey of the year and I’ve said that numerous times. This is about as good as I’ve felt all season long. It’s a long series, stuff happens. It’s about staying the course and not letting games like that affect you mentally and physically. It’s getting the job done when you get the opportunity,” he said.
Defence needs to be a lot better in Game 2
By Jim Matheson
Craig MacTavish’s favourite coaching line after a bad game was, “like they say in pool, it’s not what you make, it’s what you leave … same goes for hockey with the chances you give the other team.”
So meet the Edmonton Oilers, who scored six but gave up nine in Game 1 in Calgary, coming back from 6-2 down to tie it at six early in the third, but failed to realize the game was on again and a modicum of defence was now required.
Did the Oilers think they might actually pull this out?
“Yeah, for about 30 seconds, right? They scored a shift or two shifts later so we didn’t really have much time to think on it,” said Zach Hyman, who catalogued the list of poor items in the Oilers play that were lacking.
“Just a bunch of things to be honest. Defensive awareness, being physical, being hard to play against, gave up way too many Grade-A chances,” said Hyman. “Before we could blink, we’re down 2-0, that can’t happen in a playoff game, especially in Round 2.”
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