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Edmonton Oilers Defeat Calgary Flames in Five Games

Hockey fans were treated to the first Battle of Alberta playoff series in over 30 years. The hype surrounding this series was like nothing I have ever seen before. It did not disappoint in the slightest as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Calgary Flames in five games to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2006.

We got to see insane offensive explosions, with 45 goals in the five-game series, which kicked off with a 9-6 Flames win in Game One. For the Oilers, we are witnessing playoff performances that are making history. Connor McDavid had 25 points after 11 playoff games, the fourth most all-time. Evander Kane has 12 goals in 12 games. And Leon Draisaitl is the first player in Stanley Cup Playoff history to have five consecutive three-point games. He also became the fourth-fastest player ever to reach 50 career playoff points.

The Story of the Series

The spicy and physical side of this rivalry come out as well. Milan Lucic got five and a game for running Mike Smith.

The Flames were under close scrutiny from the officials and the league for targeting Draisaitl’s ankle. He suffered what is believed to be a high ankle sprain in round one after being taken down and twisting it in a scrum.

And we got some off-ice shenanigans as well. The Flames, after game three, had a common theme in their post-game press conferences.

Matthew Tkachuk and Rasmus Andersson, among others, began spreading a ‘one-player’ narrative about the Oilers. It’s no secret that the Oilers are a bit top-heavy on account of having McDavid on the team. However, when Draisaitl has 17 points in a five-game series, Zach Hyman has six goals, and Kane has five goals, the Flames were not quite beat by one player. This off-ice sub-narrative through the latter half of the series made for some good headlines and social media arguments.

Setting the Tone in Game One

Fans of both teams were treated to an emotional roller coaster best represented by Game One.

To kick off the series, the Flames scored 26 seconds into Game One. Then again 51 seconds into the game. They were up 3-0 six minutes into the first period.

Let me tell you, I was livid at how the team started this game. It is just the thing they had been struggling with all season, and one of the major concerns I had for the Oilers entering this series against an aggressive Flames team with insane shots per game totals.

The Flames ended up taking a 6-2 lead by the halfway point, but then something weird happened. Edmonton caught up and tied it at six shortly after the start of the third period. Calgary won 9-6, but that battle to stay in the game and come back set a tone for the rest of the series.

Here Come the Oilers

Starting with more of the same in Game Two, the Oilers found themselves down 2-0 just over six minutes in. But the tides turned quite quickly after this and Edmonton didn’t look back. With four unanswered goals, the Oilers came back and won 5-3. We saw them dominate and control play far more than in Game One, as well as the continuation of Jacob Markstrom’s troubles, particularly with his glove hand.

This came as a massive surprise to me, given I anticipated that the Flames’ goaltending advantage would be a major factor in why I predicted them winning the series.

In Game Three, the Oilers shut things down and played a complete game, an oddity for the normally up-and-down team. A dominant 12 minutes in the second period saw them score four goals and they ultimately won 4-1. A key takeaway here was that they didn’t give up an early goal. In fact, they scored first.

Game Four was a reversal of fortunes. This time, the Oilers scored first off of a Markstrom giveaway just 21 seconds into the game. Soon after, the Oilers took a 3-0 lead. Since no lead is safe in this series, the Flames came back and tied it. But Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who opened the scoring, got the game-winner at 16:33 of the third. Edmonton won 5-3 to take a 3-1 series lead.

The Finale

Now for the all-important fifth game. I’m sure you can deduce what happened already. The Oilers won 5-4 in overtime at the hands of Mr. One-Man-Team himself, McDavid. This game was an emotional roller coaster flipping back and forth between the two rivals.

Tied 2-2, Edmonton took the lead for the first time in the second period. That didn’t last long as the Flames scored two goals in the next 31 seconds to go up 4-3. That also didn’t last long as the Oilers tied it back 40 seconds later. These were the four quickest goals in Stanley Cup Playoff history.

In what might go down as one of the most controversial calls of the playoffs, Blake Coleman scored what looked to be the go-ahead goal for the Flames late in the third period. But on further review, it was called back for a kicking motion.

You be the judge on this one as it could go either way. Coleman is being pushed and of course, your legs will go flying around in this circumstance. But his foot does swing out awfully far to make contact with that puck.

Because this goal was called back, the game was off to overtime where McDavid made quick work of it, scoring the winner just over five minutes in. PLAY LA BAMBA, BABY!

This was a series for the ages. As a stubborn Oilers fan, it has been an amazing experience to watch this team gel at the right time and get some playoff success. Now, time for the Conference Finals!

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