The Battle of Alberta is officially back in business!
The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Calgary Flames by a score of 8-3 on Saturday night to take sole possession of 2nd in the Pacific division. The Oilers were led by a 2-goal performance by Connor McDavid and fistful of fights. It was a game that you didn’t wanna miss and included everything from a penalty shot to a goalie fight.
Sound unrealistic? Well let me walk you through just how this happened...
Even if you weren't at the game you could feel the buzz of the arena through the TV screen. Both teams were ready to go and you could tell that this was gonna be an exciting one. The Oilers were out for revenge while the Flames looked to sweep the season series. To add the cherry on top, the winner of this edition of the Battle of Alberta would take sole possession of 2nd place in the Pacific Division. The puck was dropped and the game was on.
The Oilers didn’t waste anytime getting on the scoreboard. Some good forechecking by Edmonton’s second line would result in a pinching Oscar Klefbom finding Kailer Yamamoto right in front of the net. The Man Named Yams would wait out Rittich and deposit his 5th goal of the season to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead less than 30 seconds into this one.
Edmonton wasn’t finished there. The following shift saw the McDavid line get their turn. Josh Archibald rushed up the ice and take the puck on his back-hand to make a beautiful cross-ice pass to Zack Kassian. Kassian would one-time the puck and beat Rittich high glove-side. Less than 2 minutes into the games and the Oilers got a 2-0 lead.
From here the Calgary Flames would try to change the winds of momentum. Johnny Gaudreau would come VERY close to getting the Flames on the board after picking up the puck on a Mike Smith turnover. Smith would rush out from behind the net and make a diving desperation save with his stick absolutely ROBBING Gaudreau of a goal. It could have been his best save of the season so far.
The Flames would eventually find the back of the net, however, as Johnny Gaudreau feather a pass over to, rookie, Buddy Robinson who would beat out Caleb Jones and fire the puck over the blocker of Mike Smith. With 7 minutes left on the board it was a 2-1 game.
The Flames would come close a few more times and even have a chance on the power play, but failed to find the equalizer. The Oilers would get their first chance on the power-play later on in the period and make it count. After a dismal first minute with the man-advantage the Oilers would finally set up and Connor McDavid would find some room in the middle of the ice to shoot a laser of a shot past Rittich. At the end of 20, the Oilers held a 3-1 lead.
This one....was WILD.
The period started off with Darnell Nurse going to the box, giving the Flames an early period power-play. Edmonton would kill it off and, as Darnell Nurse heads back to the bench, Connor McDavid goes off on a 2-on-1 with Leon Draisaitl. McDavid would hold onto the puck and opt to fire one past Rittich to extend Edmonton’s lead to 4-1. That would cause the end of Rittich’s night (or would it).
The Flames would then mount a comeback as the period wore on. Matthew Tkachuk would get one after getting a feed from Mangiapane to cut the lead to 4-2. It was then Elias Lindholm who would make things interesting a few minutes later, bouncing the puck off of Mike Smith and making it a 1-goal game. 4-3 Oilers.
Talbot was fantastic early on in his relief session, making a critical stop on a Nugent-Hopkins breakaway, but it wouldn’t be long until the Oilers figured him out. A fantastic takeaway from Leon Draisaitl at the offensive blue-line resulted in a great shot on goal in which the rebound would bounce right to Yamamoto who found Nugent-Hopkins who found the back of the net. 5-3 Oilers.
Caleb Jones would join the fun shortly after as he would unleash a slap-shot from the point that would fly right past Cam Talbot to restore Edmonton’s 3 goal lead. 6-3 Oilers.
and then chaos ensued.....let’s take a little diversion for a second.
Shortly after the Caleb Jones goal the Oilers 4th line would be deployed. A shot on goal would land behind Cam Talbot and Sam Gagner would make a diving effort to poke it into the net, much to the dismay of Talbot. This would spark a firestorm.
Talbot would start landing punches on Gagner and everyone on the ice started to crowd around the Calgary net. Giordano and Gagner would drop the gloves while Ethan Bear fought Matthew Tkachuk.
Cam Talbot would eventually find himself throwing hands with a few players behind the net while Mike Smith waited patiently at centre ice, challenging Talbot. As Bear and Tkachuk raged on with a spirited fight, Talbot saw Smith and gladly accepted the invitation.
You heard that right, we got ourselves a GOALIE FIGHT.
Smith and Talbot would battle it out at center ice with haymakers being thrown by both men. It was Smith who would get the better hand of Talbot and both men were ejected. Moving Koskinen and Rittich into the game for the third period. Edmonton would get a power play at the end of it. The period ended early it was such a mess. I love it.
The third would technically run 20:24 due to the fact that the 2nd period brawl started with only 24 seconds left on the board. Edmonton started the period with the power-play but failed to score on it.
Sam Gagner would pour some more salt on the wound as he would let loose a slap-shot from the circle that beat Rittich. 7-3 Oilers and we officially entered blowout status. Things would once again boil over late in the game as Matthew Tkachuk would throw punches at Gaeten Haas after dragging him down on a breakaway. Tkachuk would get 10 minute misconduct and Haas would get a penalty shot, a pretty good trade-off for the Oilers. Haas would slide the puck through Rittich’s 5-hole to give Edmonton a 8-3 lead.
That’s would do it! The Oilers beatdown the Flames by a score of 8-3.
- The Battle of Alberta is officially back in business! This was by far the most entertaining game of the season for the Edmonton Oilers. Not only does it see Edmonton put up 8 goals but it also included a goalie fight! These are the types of games you live to see!
- It goes without saying that that line of Draisaitl-RNH-Yamamoto is absolutely money. Each player compliments each other so well and they will play a critical role down the stretch. Yamamoto in particular has been outstanding.
- Mike Smith had a pretty good game today, before he was ejected. He stood tall and made a few very important saves in the second period to keep the Oilers ahead. I also liked what I saw from Koskinen in the third period, he made a few 10-bell saves early on.
- I was apart of the group that detested Jujhar Khaira being in the lineup over Tyler Benson. I though Benson had waited long enough for his debut and Khaira has played bad enough where I saw that the swap was necessary. I kind of retract that now...having Benson in this atmosphere could have ended poorly...that being said I think he should be in the lineup come Tuesday.
- Sam Gagner is a good hockey player and should be a consistent fixture in the bottom 6....THERE I SAID IT!
- Ethan Bear stepping up and fighting Matthew Tkachuk was very surprising. It seemed like a mismatch for sure but Bear put a good fight in what was a spirited tilt.
- This post-game is nearing the 2000 word mark...I gotta wrap this thing up. The Oilers improve to 28-18-6 on the season which is good enough for 62pts and 2nd in the Pacific Division! They’re back in action on Tuesday as they face, yet another Pacific division rival, the Arizona Coyotes!
Go Oilers Go!