As Game 3 ends, the Battle of Alberta, a series including the Calgary Flames vs Edmonton Oilers matchup, has reached the halfway point. Fans and players have been waiting for the Battle of Alberta since 1991 and it has been nothing short of what was expected. Lots of scoring by two of the better teams in the National Hockey League and lots of scrums from the territorial enemies. From playoff hat tricks to game misconducts and there is still a lot of hockey left in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Edmonton Oilers are currently up in the series 2-1.
Calgary Flames vs Edmonton Oilers Series Halfway Point
Offensive Production During the Series
For the Flames
One of the highlights of this series has been an abundance of goals scored between the two teams. For the Calgary Flames, not facing Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger, has allowed Calgary to get back to their high scoring roots. In the seven-game series against Dallas, the Flames scored a total of 15 goals. In three games against the Oilers, the Flames have put up 13 goals, scoring nine in Game 1. The Flames’ top line consisted of, Elias Lindholm, Johnny Gaudreau, and Matthew Tkachuk. This line scored 7 goals and 19 points during the first round of the playoffs. So far, through three games of the second round, they have recorded four goals and 12 points.
Matthew Tkachuk’s Reappearance
Tkachuk only scored one goal in the previous series but came out hot with a hat-trick in Game 1. During the first round, Tkachuk found himself in multiple scrums with Dallas Stars defenceman, John Klingberg. One could make the argument that Klingberg had gotten into the head of Tkachuk, which stunted his offensive production. It appears as though Tkachuk has re-focused and that has been reflected in production throughout the second round. On the other hand, the other two-thirds of the Flames’ top line have been less than productive this series. Lindholm and Gaudreau have a combined one goal and four points through the first three games.
Unlikely Heroes For Calgary
Two players that have stepped up their offensive production this series are Blake Coleman and Brett Ritchie. Coleman only recorded one assist during the first series. But has scored two goals and tallied four points against Edmonton. Both of Coleman’s goals were scored in the first game that ended in a 9-6 win for the Flames. Ritchie did not record a single point in the four games played in the first series but has now scored two goals for the Flames. Since the Flames aren’t facing the wall that was the Stars’ goaltender, they have been able to get back to their game. However, they are going to need their top line to start putting puts in the net if they want to combat the offence from the Oilers.
For the Oilers:
When it comes to offensive production in Edmonton, all eyes are usually on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and rightfully so. McDavid, the Oilers captain, has scored two goals and recorded nine points in the three games of this series. McDavid is the first person in the NHL history to record nine multi-point games in the opening 10 games of the playoffs. In those 10 games, the captain has scored six goals and put up a whopping 23 points. These stats alone are putting McDavid right in the middle of the Conn Smythe award talks.
Draisaitl has already recorded more points in three games than he did in the seven games of the first round. Against the Los Angeles Kings, Draisaitl scored five goals and recorded nine points. Against the Flames, he has scored two goals and recorded 10 points. In Game 3, he broke a new NHL record with four assists in one playoff period. McDavid and Draisaitl have been pretty unstoppable for the Flames’ defence.
Unlikely Heroes For Edmonton
Evander Kane had a very productive first series by scoring seven goals in seven games. And he hasn’t shown signs of slowing down during the second round. Kane recorded his second career playoff hat-trick, scoring three goals in just six minutes of play during the second period of Game 3. This is the seventh fastest hat-trick in NHL playoff history. Another Oilers player to step up is left-wing, Zach Hyman. Last series, Hyman scored two goals and recorded four points. In the first three games against the Flames, Hyman scored four goals. Combined, the Oilers have already scored 15 goals in the first three games.
Coming off a hot streak against the Dallas Stars, Jacob Markstrom is now facing a much better offensive team. Markstrom only allowed 14 goals in the seven games series against Dallas. He has now allowed 15 goals in three games against Edmonton. He finished the first round with a goals-against-average of 1.53 and a save percentage of .943%. Against the Oilers’ offence in three games, Markstrom has a goals-against-average of 5.74 and a save percentage of .853%. The Flames’ defence needs to help their goaltender out if they want to be successful in the rest of the series.
Oilers goaltender, Mike Smith, who has been notorious for having streaky play, has really stepped up for the Oilers this series. Despite being pulled in Game 1, after allowing three goals on ten shots, he has bounced back for Games 2 and 3. In these two games, he has stopped 69 of 73 shots. Smith currently sits at a goals-against-average of 3.45 for this series and a save percentage of .916%. He has only allowed seven goals in three games. Mikko Koskinen, who was put in after Smith was pulled, stopped 32 of the 37 shots faced in the only loss to the Oilers. Koskinen also made an appearance in Game 3 after Milan Lucic levelled Smith, forcing him to exit the game temporarily.
Lucic received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct after hitting the goaltender and naturally, a scrum ensued. It is possible the NHL Department of Safety could take a look at this hit on Smith and issue a fine or suspension. That would be a huge hit to the physical game of the Flames. It can be assumed that the remaining games in this series will be chippy and filled with physicality. These two teams meet again for Game 4 on Tuesday night.