Flames-Oilers deliver fantastic theater in Game 1 of the Western Second Round

CALGARY — There are a few possible explanations for the chaos that framed the Calgary Flames’ 9-6 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.

One could be temporary insanity from the long wait for a Battle of Alberta playoff game, the first in 31 years.

“It was 9-6, so, I mean, it’s not an ordinary game,” the Flames forward said. blake coleman, who scored two goals. “Maybe it’s the buildup of 30 years or whatever it was for this rivalry. A lot of excitement, a lot of jumping. But if our team is going to be successful, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

The Flames’ ability to overcome adversity after blowing a big lead could be another.

“We played probably the worst 20 or 30 minutes of hockey, 15 or 20 minutes of hockey that we have all year, definitely in the playoffs, and it’s still a tied game (6-6 at the start of the third period),” the forward said. of Flames. Matthew Tkachuk, who had a hat-trick. “It wasn’t the end of the world. (You still have) to go out. You can’t just turn around and let them win. It was great to get that seventh goal from [Rasmus Andersson] And we go from there.”

Video: [email protected], Gm1: Oilers, Flames combine for 15 goals

The tone for Game 1 was quickly set. Calgary forwards Elijah Lindholm Y Andres Mangiapane he had the Flames ahead 2–0 at 51 seconds, an NHL record for two fastest goals to start a playoff game.

“We weren’t ready, and it’s hard to catch up all night,” the Oilers forward said. Leon Draisaitlwho added three points (one goal, two assists).

But when Edmonton miraculously caught up, their failure to protect the puck after tying the game proved costly.

“We talked after the second that whichever team got to their defense first would win,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. “We got to 6-6 (in Kailer YamamotoThe goal from 1:28 into the third period0, then gave up some pucks and ended up in the back of our net. As I keep saying, we scored six goals against the Calgary Flames in their building; that should be enough to win a game.”

The goal was also a factor; Mike Smith he was retired by Woodcroft after allowing three goals on 10 shots in 6:05. mikko koskinen took the loss, allowing five goals on 37 shots. Jacob Markstrom he allowed six goals on 28 shots, but more importantly, he saved the last eight shots he faced. The Flames scored the last three goals of the game.

“[Markstrom] it gives us a lot of confidence,” Tkachuk said. “He said before the third, ‘You guys keep doing your thing, I’ll shut the door on you,’ and that’s exactly what he did. He has been our MVP all year. It’s up to us almost every goal that has been scored before, whether it’s a turnover or a mental error.

“He’s been our MVP throughout. We have a lot of confidence in him and the way he was able to shut the door and calm things down in the third really helped us get that win.”

Perhaps the most sensible explanation for a crazy Game 1 was offered by Flames coach Darryl Sutter.

“Weird game,” Sutter said. “We scored on our first two shots and there were probably six different games.”

[RELATED: Complete Flames vs. Oilers series coverage]

Calgary’s record start got the crowd excited. The Flames kept pouring and the Oilers just couldn’t handle that pressure in the first half of the game. The shots on goal in the 29th minute were 34-12 and the score 6-2.

It was absurd to think that the second half of the game could be like the first and, unsurprisingly, Edmonton came to life. Connor McDavid He kept pushing and finished with four points (one goal, three assists), and the building went momentarily silent when Yamamoto buried his rebound to tie it 6-6 early in the third period.

But it didn’t last; Andersson answered 1:29 later and the Flames rallied to win. They led Game 1 by 58:05 despite the chaotic scoreline.

It’s also good to remember that this was not unexpected, even though the Calgary and Dallas Stars combined for 29 goals in their seven-game first-round series. The Flames and Oilers are more than halfway from 29 heading into Game 2 on Friday (10:30 pm ET; ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

But remember that in their final meeting of the regular season on March 26, the Flames scored nine evenly-strength goals and turned a close game into a 9-5 rout.

So while lessons are learned from every game in the NHL, why couldn’t it happen again?

We’ll have to tune in on Friday and find out.

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