(2P) Greasers with (1P) Flames
Western Conference Second Round, Game 1
9:30 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS
The battle for Alberta will resume when the Edmonton Oilers visit the Calgary Flames in Game 1 of the Western Conference second round at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.
Edmonton and Calgary each advanced in seven games in the first round, the Oilers against the Los Angeles Kings and the Flames against the Dallas Stars. The two teams meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1991, with the Oilers winning four of five playoff series against the Flames.
“We’ve got to find a way to win and it doesn’t matter who we’re up against,” Oilers captain said Connor McDavid mentioned. “It’s fun that there’s an Alberta battle going on and it’s Edmonton-Calgary, and that hasn’t happened in a long time, and being part of the premiere in a while is exciting. But ultimately , it’s a playoff series and we’ve got to mind our business.”
The Flames and Oilers split four games in the regular season, but the Calgary forward Johnny Gaudreau said he didn’t care much about it.
“It’s a clean slate,” Gaudreau said. “We could have beaten them four times, they could have beaten us four times, we’re both here and both go 0-0 in the series.”
[RELATED: Complete Flames vs. Oilers series coverage]
Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl did not skate on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Coach Jay Woodcroft said any player who didn’t skate on Wednesday is available for Game 1. The Flames defenseman Christophe Tanev practiced Tuesday and Wednesday; Coach Darryl Sutter said Tanev “felt great” after missing Game 7 of the first round with an undisclosed injury, but did not say whether he would play in Game 1.
Teams that win Game 1 are 503-232 (68.4%) winning a best-of-7 series, including 4-4 in the first round.
Here are 3 keys to Game 1:
1. Bring Game 7 Energy to Game 1
Calgary is on a roll after a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over the Dallas Stars in Game 7 of the first round. and seeks to keep that exuberance in this series and channel it properly.
“I think you have to convey the excitement, the energy and the emotion,” Flames said. Milan Lucic“but also you have to reset because you’re playing a different opponent with different players, a different system, in this case almost everything different from the last opponent.
“But you have to convey the energy and the emotion. That’s how you can start.”
2. Draisaitl Effect
Draisaitl’s current health is unknown, but he finished the first round well. Draisaitl recorded 23:38 of ice time (second in Edmonton after 27:23 for McDavid), won 9 of 19 faceoffs and got the secondary pass on the defenseman Cody CeciSaturday’s game-winning goal in a 2-0 win over the Kings in Game 7.
“He’s a horse,” Oilers forward Zack Kassian mentioned. “He’s one of the leaders on our team. Plays long minutes, plays in almost every situation, he takes faceoffs. He plays in every situation and you lean heavily on those guys during the playoffs and everyone has their bumps and bruises throughout the series and we expect even more from this series.
“The further you go the more difficult it becomes, we are prepared for it. But Leon has a lot of respect in this dressing room from all his team-mates and coaches.”
3. Temper emotions
With what this series means for the province, you can bet the intensity will be high and each team channeling that will be important. Specifically, Calgary would like to avoid Edmonton’s power play, tied with the Colorado Avalanche for best in the NHL in the playoffs at 36.8% and third in the league in the regular season at 26. 0%, behind the Toronto Maple Leafs (27.3%) and St. Louis Blues (27.0%).
“For us, being smart defensively against their best players, you can’t give them those line rushes,” Gaudreau said. “And stay out of the box, of course. It’s a big deal for us.
“I can’t give their guys the chance to play on the power play. You’ve seen how dangerous they’ve been throughout the year and their last streak too. If we play 5v5, I think everything will be fine.
Oilers projected roster
Leon Draisaitl — Connor McDavid — Kailer Yamamoto
Josh Archibald — Ryan Nugent Hopkins — Derek Ryan
Jesse Puljujarvi — Ryan McLeod –Zack Kassian
Evander Kane — Zach Hyman
Nurse Darnell — Cody Ceci
Duncan Keith — Evan Bouchard
Brett Kulak — Tyson Barrie
Striped: Philip Broberg, Devin Shore, Derick Brassard, Warren Foegele
Projected programming of flames
Johnny Gaudreau — Elias Lindholm — Matthew Tkachuk
André Mangiapane — Mikael Backlund — Tyler Toffoli
Dillon Dube — Jarnkrok Street — Blake Coleman
Milan Lucic — Trevor Lewis
Noah Hanifin — Rasmus Andersson
Oliver Kylington – Christophe Tanev
Nikita Zadorov — Erik Gudbranson
Striped: Adam Ruzicka, Brett Ritchie, Ryan Carpenter, Connor Mackey
The Oilers and Flames each held an optional morning practice on Wednesday. … Each team could dress 11 attackers and seven defenders. … Centers could go through Kane and Hyman.