After rallying from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Vancouver Canucks in their season opener, the Edmonton Oilers turn their attention to a home game against the defending Pacific Division champion Calgary Flames on Saturday night in the Battle of Alberta.
It’s a rematch of a 2022 Western Conference second-round playoff series that Edmonton won, 4-1, to advance to the conference final. The Oilers then lost to eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado.
Edmonton won the final four games of that second-round playoff series, outscoring the Flames 19-11. It was the first Battle of Alberta playoff series in 31 years.
Calgary comes off a 5-3 victory over the visiting Avalanche on Thursday. It was Darryl Sutter’s 700th coaching victory, making him the 11th coach in NHL history to reach that milestone.
“It means a lot,” said Sutter, who coached the Los Angeles Kings to Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and 2014. “It means I coached four good teams.”
Calgary won the Pacific Division regular-season title last season with 111 points, seven points ahead of Edmonton.
The Flames held Colorado to just three first-period shots on goal and built a 5-1 third-period lead. The win snapped a 12-year drought (0-10-2) dating back to 2009 in home openers for Calgary.
“I think I saw a random stat that it’s been a while since the Flames won a (home) opener,” said defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, who had two assists. “I’m happy that we can get that off our backs and we can just carry on another 81 games here.”
Edmonton fell behind Vancouver 3-0 in the first 21 minutes before scoring five consecutive goals, including a hat trick by Connor McDavid, to pull out a 5-3 win Wednesday. McDavid finished with four points while Leon Draisaitl added a goal and two assists for the Oilers, who also got outstanding goaltending from Jack Campbell (33 saves) to keep them in the game.
The Oilers finished 3-for-4 on the power play and killed seven of eight penalties while also scoring a short-handed goal by Darnell Nurse late in the second to tie it 3-3.
“You’ve got to give a little credit to Vancouver, too,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said about his team’s slow start. “They’re a good hockey team and they started the way they wanted to start. Not every period is going to go our way, but can we be better? Yeah, we can be better.
“I think we’d be living in a fool’s paradise if we thought the winning recipe going forward is going to be fall behind by three goals and take eight penalties and try and win games. I don’t think that’s a recipe conducive to sustainable success. We’ve addressed the things that can be cleaned up. … We will be ready come Saturday night.”
“Obviously not our finest game,” center Derek Ryan added. “Not how we drew it up, but it feels good to come out with a win even though you don’t play your best. That’s what good teams do. They find a way to win.”
–Field Level Media