On April 16, 1991, Don Getty was the Premier of Alberta, iPhone’s didn’t exist and all but seven members of the current Calgary Flames roster had yet to be born.
This was also the date when the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers last met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A lot has changed in the last 31 years, but one thing has stayed constant: the rivalry between the two Alberta NHL teams.
Year-after-year the Edmonton Oilers face off against the Calgary Flames in what fans call the “Battle of Alberta.” With the deep rivalry, these games always have a little extra investment from the fans, even though they’re just regular season match-ups.
Three decades of waiting has fans on the edge of their seats before this series has even begun, and many have made it very clear where their priorities are.
“To be clear, the colour red is now banned in the city of Edmonton until further notice,” says Twitter user QJPhillips.
Calgary Flames fans on Twitter are equally ready for this playoff series.
“Johnny HOCKEY!!!! WE ARE GETTING THE BATTLE OF ALBERTA THAT COVID DENIED US!!! THE FIRE NATION RULES!!” user Rbloss64 posted.
Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter doesn’t buy into the rivalry, saying this series is a win for all of Alberta.
“It’s bringing people together. You might cheer for the Oilers, you might cheer for the Flames. Big deal. It’s a sport, that’s what it’s all about. It’s the best thing ever,” said Sutter in a Flames press conference posted to Twitter on Tuesday.
In a press conference on May 15, Matthew Tkachuk, one of Calgary’s young stars, was still processing the magnitude of this upcoming matchup.
“It’ll be really exciting. It’s great for all of Alberta. I honestly haven’t really allowed myself to think about it too much yet,” says Tkachuk.
For long-time Calgary Flames star Johnny Gaudreau, meeting the Oilers in the second round of playoffs offers a special opportunity.
“I’ve been here for nine years, and I’ve never had even a sniff of a chance to play them in the playoffs. It’s pretty special,” said Gaudreau in the same press conference.
Even though Alberta’s two sports giants will go head-to-head and only one will survive, ultimately, Gaudreau said, it will be good for all of Alberta.
“It’s going to be good for the province. It will be a lot of fun for them and a lot of fun for us,” he said.
The Flames and Oilers have met in the postseason on five separate occasions, with Edmonton having won four of the previous series they’ve played.
Currently, oddsmakers believe the Calgary Flames will close this gap and win their series against Edmonton.
Most sportsbooks have Calgary hovering around a -160 favourite, meaning a bet of $160 on a Flames win will net $100 in profit. Edmonton, meanwhile, is listed as a +125 underdog — a bet of $100 on an Oilers win pays out $225 total.
During this year’s regular season, the Flames and Oilers met four times, each winning two games apiece. The two victories for each team were captured on home ice, which could favour the Flames in this year’s postseason battle.
The Flames will kick off the series at the ‘Dome on May 18, giving them home-ice advantage throughout the duration of the matchup.