NHL Betting: Oilers vs. Flames Series Preview
First Postseason Battle of Alberta since 1991, Ready to Roll
It’s hard to believe that more than 30 have passed since the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames met in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Before betting your hard-earned money, be sure to check out our Oilers vs. Flames series preview.
The last meeting came in 1991 with the Oilers winning in seven games. The teams have met four times in the postseason from 1983-88 with the Oilers winning three times. Unfortunately for longtime Edmonton fans, the one enduring image in the playoff history between the Alberta-based rivals is rookie defenseman Steve Smith banking a pass from behind his net off Oilers goalie Grant Fuhr for the winning goal in the decisive game during the 1986 series.
Edmonton, led by all-time great Wayne Gretzky, was favored in those 1980s series, but this time Pacific Division champion Calgary will be the popular pick to advance.
When it comes to the Oilers vs Flames series preview, if you are looking for tight-checking 2-1 games, this may not be the series for you as five of the 17 players to record at least 40 goals during the regular season are set to play in this series.
Calgary winning in five games carries the top NHL playoffs odds (+375) heading into the series while the Flames (-190) are solid favorites to win the series.
Oilers vs Flames Series Information
- Matchup: Oilers (49-27-6 in the regular season), Flames (50-21-11)
- Location: Scotiabank Saddledome (for Games 1, 2, 5 and 7), Rogers Place (for Games 3, 4 and 6).
- Day/Time: Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. ET (for Game 1)
- Television: First four games will be on ESPN.
How They Got Here
Edmonton made a coaching change even though Dave Tippett had the Oilers five games over .500 at the time of his dismissal. Edmonton went 26-9-3 under Jay Woodcroft to finish second in the Pacific Division. Edmonton had the third-best points percentage in the NHL since making the move. One of the teams ahead of them are the Calgary Flames.
Edmonton, known for its high-flying offense, advanced to the second round with a shutout in Game 7 against the Los Angeles Kings.
After missing the playoffs a season ago, the Calgary Flames had a major bounce-back season in winning the franchise’s third division title in the last 27 seasons.
Calgary was pushed to the limit by the Dallas Stars in a series with just 29 goals in seven games. The final one was scored by Johnny Gaudreau in overtime in Game 7 as Calgary won its first seven-game playoff series since 2004.
Tale of the Tape
Calgary leads the playoffs with a goals-against average of 2.00 while Edmonton is fourth at 2.43. Both teams have been getting it done in the penalty-killing department. Keep those numbers in mind when pondering the Oilers vs Flames series preview.
The Flames killed off 92 percent of the Dallas power plays in Round 1 while Edmonton wasn’t far behind at 87.5 percent.
The major difference so far in the playoffs comes on the power play. Edmonton trails only Colorado by scoring on 37 percent of their man-advantage opportunities. Calgary converted on just 8 percent of its chances. When it comes to Calgary Flames betting tips, if the special teams don’t improve, the favored Flames might have some issues.
Calgary averaged 41 shots on goal in the opening round of the playoffs, easily the top mark in the league.
Plenty of Eyes on Oilers Star Leon Draisaitl
One of the last names that Edmonton fans want to see on an injury report heading into a playoff series with rival Calgary is Leon Draisaitl.
Draisaitl is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Draisaitl, who was second in the NHL with 55 goals during the regular season – didn’t look like he was 100 percent late in the series against the Kings, however, he did play 22:38 in Game 7 and had an assist.
Draisaitl has been durable during his time with the Oilers. Other than the 2019-20 season when he missed 11 contests, he has missed just six games in five seasons.
It is the overstatement of the century to suggest that Edmonton would have major issues dealing with Calgary if Draisaitl is forced to miss time in this series. As good as Draisaitl has been while scoring more than 100 points three times, he has shown the ability to raise the level of his game in the postseason. He averages more points per game (1.29) in the playoffs than in the regular season (1.10).
Flames to Lean on its Big Three
The concept of a “Big Three” has been all the rage in the NBA over the years, but the Calgary Flames have a “Big Three” of its own.
Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm each scored at least 40 goals during the regular season. It shouldn’t be surprising that they were also the top three scorers in the series against Dallas.
Gaudreau had points in six of the seven games. He had two goals and four assists in the four wins. Tkachuk had a goal and an assist in the Game 7 victory while Lindholm had wins in each of the four wins by Calgary in the last round.
They were the top three forwards in ice time during the series and will be leaned on heavily in this series. All three of them have seen their points per game fall in the postseason so this will be a test for them to carry over their regular-season success into the playoffs.
Oilers vs Flames Head-to-Head
The Oilers own a 19-12 advantage in the postseason against the Flames but that track record means very little in this series considering that some of the key players on both sides weren’t even born the last time there was a Battle of Alberta in the Stanley Cup Playoffs!
More recently, Calgary won the last two meetings by a combined score of 12-6. Edmonton won the first two games against Calgary this season.
The home team has won seven of the last eight games in the series
Three of the last four meetings between the Oilers had at least seven goals scored, which is of interest since the total for Game 1 is only six goals.
Tkachuk and Gaudreau combined for four goals and 12 assists in the four regular-season games against the Oilers. Goalie Jacob Markstrom struggled with a goals-against average of 3.54.
Draisaitl had 11 points versus the Flames during the regular season and Connor McDavid added seven.
Oilers vs Flames Betting Analysis
This is the time of the year when great players become hockey legends. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid has done just about everything with one major exception, he hasn’t led Edmonton past the second round of the playoffs. McDavid raised the level of his play late in the series against the Kings with three goals and five assists in the last three games. He had a hand in eight of Edmonton’s 10 goals in those contests.
Edmonton was just six games over .500 on the road during the regular season. If the Oilers can steal one of the first two games against one of the best home teams in the Western Conference, it would go a long way toward Edmonton advancing to its first Stanley Cup final since 2006.
One thing to keep in mind for the Oilers vs Flames series preview, Calgary had the most wins in the NHL during the regular season when leading after the first period. Edmonton suffered just one regulation loss in 31 games when taking the lead into the second period, including the playoffs so scoring early could be crucial.Follow us on Twitter