Esteemed Oiler fanboy Woodguy has taken the bait.
He is so sure the Oilers are a better team than the Calgary Flames that he will be on the hook for a delicious bottle of Talisker, the nectar of the Gods that flows from the the Isle of Skye.
Sometime in early April, I’ll be face down in a seaside peat bog and here is why:
The Flames have been playing a road heavy schedule, 10 away and 6 at home, and have managed to go 7-3-0 on the road while the Oilers have just won their second road game of the season.
More important though is the Flames record against WC teams is a very respectable 5-2-0 while the Oilers have lost every game against the tougher WC going 0-6-1.
The Flames have one more game on their epic road trip but that is against the Carolina Hurricanes and then return home to play 8 of their next 11.
The Flames have already beaten the Blues, the Blackhawks, the Predators (twice) while the only Oiler victory of note this season is the 3-1 win over the injury riddled New York Rangers.
While the Oilers are without Taylor Hall for the next while, it should be noted that the Flames have kept on winning despite missing Mikael Backlund, Matt Stajan, Mason Raymond and Joe Colborne for extended periods of time. Makes you wonder how the Oilers would be doing without 3 of their 4 centres?
Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent Hopkins are the co-leaders in scoring for the Oilers….all with 10 points. The Flames have 5 players who have scored more than that and both Joe Colborne (8 points) and Mason Raymond (7 points) would have been ahead of that marker had they been healthy.
The Flames scoring explosion came despite Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau suffering slow starts but both are rolling now and any regression by scoring leaders Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie should be picked up by the forwards and those returning from injury.
This is the time of the season when goal differential starts to have meaning. The Flames are +8 and the Oilers are -10. That’s a huge gap to make up and considering the Flames have outscored the Oilers 49-38 overall, it would take an absolute collapse by the Flames D and goaltending to close it.
Thing is the Flames have better D (by a lot), better goaltending and superior centre depth that the Oilers slight advantage at wing won’t be able to overcome.
In the following 2 seasons, it should be noted the Flames will have more than $20M in cap space to work with while the Oilers will be terribly cap strapped when they have to pay Yakupov, Schultz, Petry and Marincin or their replacements.
I love Talisker!