In the National Hockey League, the winner of an Alberta fight can be determined in three different ways: by goals, fights, or the Stanley Cups.
Over the years, Calgary Flames have had 140 to 128 wins in the Edmonton Oilers competition. However, the Oilers own five Stanley Cups, with the Flames’ only NHL Championship coming in 1989.
Then there are the fights. Historically, the Flames have consistently outperformed some of the league’s strongest players (Tim Hunter, Sandy McCarthy and Brian McGratan salute). Conversely, many Oilers fans still fondly remember the likes of Dave Semenko, Marty McSorley and Georges Laraque.
Fighting is relatively rare (for the better) in the NHL today, but it hasn’t completely gone away. Almost every team still has several players who are more than willing to let go of the gloves, and that is true for both clubs in Alberta.
Even after a fight, professional hockey remains a physical game—especially when the playoffs are rolling in. The first game of the Battle of Alberta on Wednesday saw many massive hits and post-whistle masks.
Under the tutelage of head coach Daryl Sutter, the Flames have become one of the toughest teams in the NHL to play against. It’s big, tough, fast and skilled. In the first round, Flames matched a Dallas Stars grinding technique to a tee; To open the second round against the Oilers, kindle the flame Mike Smith And Mikko Koskinen for nine goals.
The Oilers aren’t quite as big or tough as the Flames, but their roster still includes more than a few players earning their buck in the trenches.
Here’s a look at the five strongest players in the 2022 edition of Battle of Alberta, followed by a list of some of the other players who could make a physical impact in the series.
1. Milan Lucic
Lucic may be the most feared player in the league. He is certainly one of the most active boxers, having dropped the gloves seven times in command of the team in 2021-2022. That’s how many fights the entire Oilers crew have been running throughout the season.
According to voters on hockeyfights.com, Lucic won six of his seven fights in 2021-2022 (with his only loss against Colorado Avalanche defender Curtis McDermid on March 5th). Fight Oilers Defense nurse darnell During the 2020–21 season, winning easily.
Lucic, 33, appeared in all of Calgary’s 82 games during the regular season, scoring 10 goals and 21 points. He was instrumental in a limited role during the playoffs, scoring solid shot attempt on the ice and predicted goal rates despite averaging under 10 minutes per game.
There’s a good chance Lucek is the current NHL heavyweight champion. You will be hard pressed to find the most intimidating player in the entire league. In a playoff series, and especially in the Battle of Alberta, this is worth something.
2. Eric Gudbranson
Gudbranson largely embodies the term “functional intent.”
He has surpassed all expectations this season as Flames’ third right-hand man, scoring the highest levels in goals and points while helping the team outpace opponents during his spells.
Godbranson, 30, has dropped gloves six times this season, although none of his fights have been against the Oilers. Squared against the Oilers forward Zach Cassian During his tenure with Senators in Ottawa in 2020-2021.
While Gudbranson may not have overtaken Kassian in his last match, Flames #44 usually finishes on top. Voters gave Godbranson the advantage in all six of his 2021-2022 fights.
Gudbranson is big, strong, and ready to go at any moment. As a defensive man, he usually scores a very long time off the ice – which means he has more chances to make his presence felt.
3. Zach Cassian
Kassian is basically the heavyweight that the Oilers select by default.
The 31-year-old striker has fought four times against Flames in his career, the most of all competitors. He’s dropped gloves and is captain three times this season, most recently squaring off against (and defeating) the New Jersey Devils. Mason Gertzen.
Qasyan is no longer an effective player as he was in his prime Conor McDavidbut is suitable for all eight of the Oilers play-off games of 2022 and has two points (one goal, one pass).
In the first game against the Flame on Wednesday, Cassian clocked only 11:35 and failed to score a single hit or a single shot. He may risk getting scratched later in the series if he doesn’t start making more of a physical impact.
4. Evander King
Unlike Kassian, Kane was pretty much all over the place in Game 1.
The 30-year-old striker has yet to take off his gloves as a member of the Oilers. Although he didn’t score a single shot or a point in the series’ opening game, he delivered four hits and talked a lot in post-whistle segments.
Kane fought 21 times during his career, with a third of those matches during his turbulent spell with the San Jose Sharks. His roster of enemy fighters on the ice includes Gudbranson, Ryan Reaves and Zdeno Chara.
As far as the current series goes, Kane’s current record – like the Oilers – is 0-1.
Matt Tkachuk tweets Evander Kane about his bankruptcy. “do you want some money?” pic.twitter.com/IMOjyzaziO
– Brady Tretnero (@BradyTrett) May 19, 2022
5. Brett Ritchie
Ritchie shot his opening look for the series in the first game, although it wasn’t his typical strike.
The pugnacious winger scored his first NHL playoff goal just 6:05 in the first half on Wednesday to haunt Oilers who started the goalkeeper Mike Smith from the game.
This slipped right through Mike Smith. pic.twitter.com/TSJ3WB9O5M
– y – Calgary Flames (NHLFlames) May 19, 2022
Ritchie, 28, has scored just eight goals in 78 games for the Flames since joining the team in 2020. During the same period, he dropped the gloves three times.
Two of Richie’s torch-bearing fights ended with a serious injury. Back in 2021, then-Oilers striker Ritchie brought down Johar Kheera, resulting in a frightening situation on the ice where Kheera appeared to have passed out. Earlier this season, Ritchie missed several weeks after playing his worst game with the Nashville Predators defender. Mark Borovicki.
Even when he’s not fighting, Richie is a tough customer on the ice. He’s also been surprisingly effective in driving play from five to five this season. Ritchie wasn’t a regular in the Flames squad during the playoffs, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him stay a constant presence in the Battle of Alberta.
on the bottom card
- Matthew Tkachuk He has a track record of annoying the hell out of Otters and their fans. He’s one of the best players in the series, which may reduce his willingness to let go of the gloves, but he’s fought twice already in the Dallas series and doesn’t usually shrug off any tough stuff.
- Josh Archibald More than capable of throwing a good shot or two, even when he’s not taking it. The volatile striker has fought four times in his career, including once this season against huge defender Tampa Bay Lightning Mikhail Sergechev.
- Blake Coleman He is one of only three Flames to have multiple fights during the 2021–22 regular season, although both of his opponents – Kirby Dash And Ryan Donato Generously fall into the “cruiserweight” category.
- Colton Savior It’s been long enough to know when it’s time to get his nose dirty. While he spent most of the season in the AHL and has yet to join the Oilers squad in this playoff, Scevior managed a pair of fights in 2021-22 – including one against the 6’8 Giant Tyler Myers.
- Rasmus Anderson He’s more than a fighter – he’s super excited, to score – but he’s one of only two Flames players to drop the gloves in these playoffs. Remember when John KlingbergOf all people, was public enemy #1 in Calgary early in the first round? Well, Anderson fought (and won).
- nurse darnell It might well deserve Ritchie’s place in the top five. Although he certainly isn’t worth $9.25 million a year, he’s still a big and strong guy who can support his body with good offensive play. The nurse fought 18 times in his career, including twice against Lucic. He lost both times, but he definitely gave it a chance.
- Nikita Zadorov He is a strong man. Like a nurse, he definitely has a lot to do in terms of quantity. Like the nurse too, Zadorov is basically 50/50 when it comes to profits and losses. He easily beat Wild forward Ryan Hartman In his only fight as a flame during the regular season.
- Mike Smith She is the real wild card in this series (in more ways than one). He’s the most messy goalie in the National Hockey League by almost any measure, alternating between being unbeatable and having more holes than a cheese grater. He’s also one of the only goalkeepers who can say he squared off in a goalkeeper fight during the Battle of Alberta match.
Match 2 between the Flames and the Oilers will take place at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday night.
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