The opening round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs was a thriller. Five series went all the way to Game 7. Two of those Game 7's went to overtime.
It will be tough to top that, right? Well, maybe not.
Now we're onto the second round, which features four superb matchups: Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning; Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers; Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues; Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames -- Best of Seven
After Game 7 wins by both the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames (who won in overtime), we get to enjoy the "Battle of Alberta. This will happen in the playoffs for the first time in 31 years. The Flames will enjoy the home-ice advantage. They finished first in the regular season standings. But there's also some concern among Flames' faithful -- which Calgary team will show up in the second round? Will it be the dominant team that got better as the season progressed, or will it be the team that got shut down offensively in Round 1 and almost lost to the Dallas Stars?
A Closer Look at the Flames
The Flames finished the 2021-22 regular season sixth in the league in points (111). They also scored the sixth-most goals (291). They allowed the third-fewest goals against (206). Calgary also won their division. Moreoever, the team had the 10th ranked power play (22.9 percent), third-ranked penalty kills (83.2 percent), recorded the third-most shots per game (35.5), and allowed the fifth-fewest shots against per game (29). Those are all Stanley Cup worthy numbers.
Then came the Dallas Stars in the first round, which might as well have been a roadblock. The series was way too close for comfort for the favourites, and was low scoring every game. In fact, the Flames finished Round One with the second-fewest goals scored per game (2.14). On the plus side, Calgary also the fewest goals allowed per game (2.00). The Stars’ goaltender Jake Oettinger had an incredible series, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Flames’ offence could not break through at any point. The Flames were held to one goal in the first two games of that series and only scored more than three goals in a game once in seven games, only due to an empty net.
A Closer Look at the Oilers
Edmonton has a similar story. This explosive team was heavily favoured to advance versus the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, but was inconsistent late in games, surrendering too many critical breakaways and goals with the game on the line.
The Oilers were able to advance past the Kings in their first-round series by simply showing they were the better team. But that's likely not the case now, against Calgary. We should also note Edmonton has to stage a furious comeback by winning the final two games. After Adrian Kemp put the upset-minded Kings ahead 3-2 in the series with his OT winner in Game 5, the Oilers took Game 6 by a score of 4-2. Then, goalie Mike Smith blanked Los Angeles in Game 7, with Edmonton pulling out a 2-0 win.
Credit all-star Connor McDavid who was sensational in the series. He recorded 14 points alone in the first round and leads all skaters in that category during the playoffs, so far -- as well as most assists with 10. Evander Kane's seven goals in the series also places him in a tie with Kirill Kaprizov for the second-most in the postseason, to date.
On the bad side for them, the Oilers will be facing a better defensive team in the Flames with another strong goaltender in net. Jacob Markstrom's 1.63 GAA is tied for the lowest among goaltenders, adding a .940 SV pct. If the Oilers intend to move on to the conference finals, they are going to need Mike Smith to step up again.
The Battle of Alberta – Schedule
Series Odds Favour the Flames
Here's a look at all four Round Two series and the odds on each team to advance. Note that Calgary is getting decisive support, at 1.52 to beat the Oilers in the series. The price on Edmonton comes back at 2.60.
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This matchup favours the Flames in every single category, except when it comes to explosiveness (Edmonton has proven they can stick with any team and make a defence look really bad). Calgary is simply the better team even though it’s the Oilers who have the best player on the ice. After getting a serious scare in the first round, Calgary will shows why it's considered a top-tier Stanley Cup contender.
Edmonton and McDavid will push Calgary, at times in this series, but the well-rounded Flames should get the job done.
Prediction: Flames advance in six.
Oilers to win series vs. Flames($50 max. bet)WAS 2.60 NOW 3.00
Flames to win series vs. Oilers($50 max. bet)WAS 1.52 NOW 2.00
Oilers and Flames series to go the distance (7 Games)($50 max. bet)WAS 3.10 NOW 4.00
Connor McDavid anytime goal scorer($50 max. bet)
WAS 2.40 NOW 3.00
Matthew Tkachuk anytime goal scorer
($50 max. bet)
WAS 2.30 NOW 3.00
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