Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames: 2022 NHL Second Round Playoff Series Preview

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames: 2022 NHL Second Round Playoff Series Preview

Hockey

Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames: 2022 NHL Second Round Playoff Series Preview

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Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Rundown

The Flames finished in first place in the Pacific Division with 111 points. A resurgent season from Johnny Gaudreau and a Vezina-worthy performance from Jacob Markstrom helped Calgary win the division. The Flames took on the Dallas Stars in the first round eliminating them in seven games. Gaudreau scored the overtime as the Flames won 3-2 and outshot Dallas 67-28.

Johnny Hockey led Calgary with eight points (2-6-8) in round one. Matthew Tkachuk and Elia Lindholm also topped the Flames scoring list with six and five points each. Markstrom carried over his regular season success into the first round notching a 1.53 goal against average and .943 save percentage.

The Oilers 104 points earned them second in the Pacific Division. Edmonton was led offensively all season by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. That carried over into the team’s first round matchup with Los Angeles. McDavid tallied 14 points (4-10-14) and Draisaitl put up nine points (5-4-9).

Edmonton also saw major production from mid-season acquisition Evander Kane. The winger scored seven goals and had nine total points (7-2-9) in the first round. The Oilers are going to have to get more depth scoring and better goaltending from Mike Smith if they are going to push past the Flames.

The Matchup

This is the Battle of Alberta! It is one of the most ferocious rivalries in sports and usually does not disappoint. The teams spilt the four games they played this season. Edmonton won the first two matchups on October 16, 2021, and January 22, 2022, by scores of 5-2 and 5-3. Calgary won the final two matchups, both in March, by scores of 3-1 and 9-5.

The Battle of Alberta has seen five playoff editions. The Oilers won the first four series in 1983, ’84, ’88 and ’91. The Flames won the other series in 1986 in a game seven. This playoff matchup has been long anticipated and is long overdue.

Players to Watch

Calgary’s player to watch is Matthew Tkachuk. The 24-year-old tallied 104 points this season including eight points (3-5-8) in four games against Edmonton this season. In Flames wins, Tkachuk had 59 points in 41 games and was a plus 31. In losses, the winger only tallied 20 points in 32 games and was a minus 10.

Edmonton’s player to watch is Leon Draisaitl. The forward notched 110 points this season including 11 points in four games against the Flames. Draisaitl was visibly absent for periods of time in the first round in which the Oilers struggled as a team. Edmonton needs the 26-year-old to make his presence known to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

Prediction

This series is going to be an absolute bloodbath. It all comes down to if Calgary can contain Edmonton’s star and if Edmonton can solve Jacob Markstrom. I think the Flames are the overall better team and win the series in six games.

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