'Learning moment': Embarrassing loss to Flames was catalyst for Oilers' playoff push
'Learning moment': Embarrassing loss to Flames was catalyst for Oilers' playoff push
It was not the Edmonton Oilers’ finest hour, but a big loss to their Battle of Alberta archrivals might have been instrumental to their playoff push.
The Calgary Flames pumped nine goals past the Oilers, in what could have been Edmonton’s most embarrassing outing of the season, when the teams last met on March 26.
Yet the Oilers went on a 13-2-1 tear after that game to close the regular season, and then rallied to beat the Kings in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.
The Calgary blowout was a look-in-the-mirror moment. Their rivals might have actually done the Oilers a favour.
“It allowed the coaching staff to use it as a learning moment for our group,” said Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft. “For us, it was an opportunity to focus our group on the type of game we needed to play in order to have some success. And here we are.”
The Flames and Oilers split the four-game regular-season series, but Calgary won both games on Saddledome ice, where the two teams will start Wednesday.
“We played them at different times in the season, and our season has been a little different than most years,” said Oilers winger Zach Hyman, who scored twice and added a couple of helpers in the series win over Los Angeles. “We were a different team earlier on in the year. And, later on in the year, they caught us a couple of times. But I think they helped us grow as a team, to face adversity.”
Winger Zack Kassian, who had a goal and an assist in the first round, admitted that there were some red faces in Oilers jerseys after the nine-goal bonanza at the Saddledome.
“Whenever you get spanked, no matter who it’s against, you want to have a bounce-back game," he said. "We got embarrassed, and we bounced back. I think we showed perseverance all year; if we had a bad game, we came back with an even stronger effort.”
The 9-5 score from March 26 was a throwback to the glory days of the Battle of Alberta of the 1980s and early 1990s, when the likes of Gretzky, Kurri, Messier, McDonald, Fleury and MacInnis used to fill the scoresheets.
Hyman suggested several times during his time at the podium that this series, in contrast, would be tight-checking and a battle of wills. In fact, playing against a Kings team that liked to clog up the neutral zone should prepare the Oilers well for the Flames' big defensive unit.
“We learned a lot from the L.A. series,” Hyman said. “We understood where we had the most success. When we got caught and were turning the puck over in the neutral zone, that’s when we were having trouble.”
Hyman said the Oilers would need to get pucks deep, get into the corners and work the cycle despite the physicality the Flames will bring to the games. He said the Oilers will need to “play heavy.”
“It’s different than the regular season, it doesn’t matter what happened in the regular season or what the record was… the playoffs are a different game. It’s a different style of play. It’s tighter, it’s harder to play, there’s more emotion.”
To illustrate Hyman's point, the Oilers swept the Winnipeg Jets over the course of the regular season in 2020-21, only to be swept by the Jets in the first round of the playoffs.
“I don’t read too much into the regular season, to be honest,” Kassian said. “As you guys can see, the hockey is completely different than it was in the regular season. There’s so much more going on."
Oilers 55-goal man Leon Draisaitl, who is labouring through a lower-body injury suffered in a Game 6 scrum in L.A., was not on the ice for practice Tuesday.
Also absent were forwards Evander Kane and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Woodcroft was vague when it came to accounting for their absences and talked about the players who were there, rather than addressing the big names who were away.
“I thought we had a really good practice today. I thought some of the people who might not be in the everyday lineup provided a little bit of a boost and a little energy… We’re well-prepared heading into Game 1.”
Oilers general manager Ken Holland said on Edmonton radio station 630 CHED that Draisaitl, Kane and Nugent-Hopkins would play Wednesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2022.
Edmonton Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Patrick Brown is alleging political corruption played a role in his disqualification from the Conservative Party of Canada's leadership race, a move that came following allegations that his campaign violated election financing rules.
Despite being disqualified by the Conservative Party of Canada from becoming its next leader, ousted candidate Patrick Brown's name will still appear on the ballot.
Video has emerged showing a worker dangling in the air above a Toronto construction site after accidently getting entangled in a tagline attached to a crane.
Air Canada and Toronto's Pearson airport again claimed the top spots for flight delays on Tuesday, marking at least four days in a row where the country's biggest airline has placed No. 1 of any large carrier worldwide.
Air Canada said on Wednesday it will not allow animals in the baggage hold until Sept. 12 due to 'longer than usual' delays at airports, as carriers and airports wrestle with complaints over lost luggage and long lines.
As gas prices slightly trend down this week after some of the highest national averages seen in recent months, some Canadians may be thinking twice before planning their usual summer road trip plans. CTVNews.ca looks at how drivers can save at the pumps while travelling.
Prices have been easing slightly recently, but affording a mortgage is still a very difficult task for many Canadians. How much of a mortgage can you afford? Contributor Christopher Liew breaks it down in an exclusive column for CTVNews.ca.
Canada's immigration department is restarting all Express Entry draws for immigration applications Wednesday, after pausing the program 18 months ago during the pandemic.
A federal judge Wednesday sentenced Jerry Harris, a former star of the Netflix documentary series 'Cheer,' to 12 years in prison for coercing teenage boys to send him obscene photos and videos of themselves and soliciting sex from minors at cheerleading competitions.
Ward 2 councillor Jennifer Wyness asked council to consider referring veteran colleague Gian-Carlo Carra's disclosure investigation findings to both the minister and police for further review.
Calgary drivers might be asking why the price of gasoline is more expensive in their energy rich province where oil is refined and extracted than in Ontario, but one retail expert claims to have the answer.
City officials have announced two more downtown buildings that will see vacant office space repurposed into residential housing.
A crash involving a fire hydrant was the first in a chain of events that led to a chaotic scene in a Saskatoon intersection.
Starting Thursday, riders looking to take Access Transit to get to their destinations will notice a shift in service over the next three weeks.
Two Ukrainian refugees, a brother and sister, are settling into their new home in Saskatoon.
The city’s executive committee discussed possible upgrades for Regina’s recreation facilities and event venues during a meeting Wednesday.
'I feel like I have everything to lose': Riders' Tevin Jones looks to maintain place on active roster
Wide Receiver Tevin Jones got his first regular season Canadian Football League (CFL) start in week four and will look to continue the momentum against Ottawa.
SaskEnergy has gained ownership of its Regina head office building following a decade long legal battle.
A person has been taken to hospital with serious injuries following a shooting in Halifax Wednesday night.
The ex-boyfriend of Cassidy Bernard has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter and a consecutive three years for child abandonment in connection with the young mother's death.
Families of victims of the Nova Scotia mass shooting are considering whether to continue participating in the public inquiry into the tragedy because key witnesses are being shielded from cross-examination.
'I cannot get any rest': Residents complain of sleepless nights after alleged nightclub opens up under condo
Residents living in Toronto’s west end say they have been left utterly exhausted after an alleged nightclub opened up at the base of their condominium.
Ontario has likely entered a new wave of the pandemic driven by the more infectious BA.5 subvariant, the province’s science advisory table says.
A mother from Nova Scotia is speaking out about her recent travel experience through Toronto Pearson Airport after a WestJet flight delay left her and her daughters sleeping on a nursing room floor.
WATCH LIVE @ 9 A.M.
WATCH LIVE @ 9 A.M. | With another COVID climb, Quebec health minister calls news conference for Thursday morning
With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise in Quebec, public health officials have called a news conference for Thursday morning.
'Not a time when Quebec can afford to lose young doctors,' province's opposition leader says of ER exodus
The leader of Quebec's Liberal Party paused her vacation briefly on Wednesday to react to the news that two young emergency room doctors have quit their jobs in their hometown of Montreal to work in Toronto.
The Montreal Alouettes have fired their head coach and their defensive co-ordinator, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.
An Ottawa senior citizen says he lost his life savings after investing with a real estate development firm that has been charged with fraud.
Ottawa police are on the scene of a shooting that injured one person in the city's west end.
The penultimate day of the public hearings into Ottawa’s light rail transit system saw some sharp words from the train manufacturer.
Break-ins targeting restaurants, salons, dress shops and cannabis stores have been reported in Kitchener, Waterloo and Woolwich.
'There’s no great answer': Low-income tenants weigh options in Cambridge as renovations push them out
Tenants of the Tiger Lofts, an affordable apartment building in Cambridge, say they’re being “renovicted” and won’t be allowed to stay after extensive renovations.
Police are looking for a man who allegedly grabbed and sexually assaulted a woman in a Kitchener park.
Weengushk International Film Festival returns to in-person events this coming weekend. The festival will highlight stories and voices of Indigenous women.
Many post-secondary institutions are vulnerable to cyber attacks, according to CyberCatch, a firm tasked with getting small- to medium-sized organizations up to date with Canada's new standard for cybersecurity.
Bavarian Meat Products in North Bay has been closed since fall of 2021. While the business has closed, flies are thriving and the odour of rotten meat gets worse.
A political breakup at Winnipeg City Hall is creating intrigue in a council race.
A community organization is proposing a network of cameras in an effort to bolster safety throughout the area.
There is a chance that severe thunderstorms could hit parts of southern Manitoba.
The large logs that have lined the water’s edge at many Vancouver beaches have been a favourite lounging spot for sun worshipers for over 50 years.
Health professionals are hoping the rollout of the pending COVID-19 vaccine for children under five will have better uptake than the one approved for children aged five to 11.
Homicide investigators have shared the identity of the man killed in a brazen afternoon shooting in a hotel parking lot in Surrey Monday afternoon.
Investigators say a man was lying in the roadway when he was struck and killed by a vehicle near Courtenay, B.C., on Wednesday.
The driver of a logging truck was airlifted to hospital in Victoria after he was pinned inside the vehicle following a rollover crash on Wednesday morning.
Questions of what would motivate twin brothers to enter a British Columbia bank dressed in body armour and prepared for a gun battle remain unanswered, but a criminologist sees similarities to two other young men who terrified Canadians in 2019.