The Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers are the two top teams in the Western Conference right now.
With the Flames sitting at 11-3-5 and the Oilers at 13-4-0, this is the strongest Battle of Alberta we’ve seen in quite some time.
On Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Faceoff Show, Frank Seravalli and former NHL goaltender Mike McKenna discussed which team is the better of the two…
Seravalli: Let’s talk about two other teams who are rolling, both in the province of Alberta. Which team in the Battle of Alberta, Calgary or Edmonton, is the better team right now?
McKenna: I think it’s the Edmonton Oilers. I say that with caution because the Calgary Flames have been so good defensively. Darryl Sutter has them playing locked down, they’re getting goaltending, they’re getting timely scoring. But I’m just not seeing the win totals piling up for the Calgary Flames in regulation.
They’re grinding out wins, and that’s important for the playoffs. You build some confidence within a locker room by winning those overtime games and by getting those loser points. But you don’t have the confidence of winning games with flat out domination and the Edmonton Oilers do that.
I think that the Oilers are positioned to be a strong team if they get goaltending. I don’t think Mikko Koskinen is really the answer, I think Stuart Skinner is really intruguing, we don’t know what’s going to happen with Mike Smith. That makes me a little nervous.
Edmonton has to tighten up defensively a little bit but they’re just so scary offensively. That power-play strikes fear into people’s hearts. What’s your feeling on this? Are you going the same route as me with the Oilers?
Seravalli: No, the Oilers and their star players have lit it up before and this team is deeper than it ever has been in the McDavid era, but they’ve done this before and it hasn’t translated to playoff success.
What I’m seeing with the Flames is that the way they’re playing now and the way they’re winning games, it may not be in utter domination like you mentioned, but this team will transition well to playoff success. That’s what I think separates these teams at the moment.
Not that Edmonton has been pure run-and-gun, but it’s not just the goaltending and the shutouts that have helped the Flames, it’s the chances they’ve allowed and the way that they’ve played off the rush. All of those things have been really important for the Flames.
The way things have worked under Darryl Sutter will have the team in a great spot when it comes to playoff time. That’s what it’s all about for Sutter, having won Stanley Cups previously, it doesn’t matter what happens in the regular season, it’s how you play in the playoffs.
You can watch the full episode here, with the Battle of Alberta talk starting at 6:45…