“This is going to be a seven-game series and truly be the Battle of Alberta,” Wayne Gretzky told Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer on Monday.
“(The fans) have waited a long time patiently for this kind of a series. So it should be really exciting and should be a lot of fun.”
The last time Gretzky played in a Battle of Alberta in the playoffs was 1988 and says the shorthanded overtime goal he scored in Game 2 is one of his favourites from his career.
“Obviously by that point in time, we’d experienced a lot of playoff drama and we just knew that… if we would win Game 2, that we’ve been a really good position.
“So that’s when our team really went from being ex-Stanley Cup Champions — similar to what Tampa Bay did to Toronto — that Game 2, we just knew exactly what we had to do to overcome our not such a great effort of Game 1.”
Both the Oilers and the Flames won Game 7 in their respective series over the weekend.
On Saturday, the Oilers defeated the L.A. Kings to move on, while the Flames beat the Dallas Stars on Sunday.
The benefit for the Oilers, Gretzky said, is Edmonton has Connor McDavid.
“The last 20 games of this regular season, he just really took the bull by the horns. Over the last 20 games, Connor was the difference-maker for his hockey club,” he said.
“It was a great series for the Kings, but when the best player is on your team, all good things will happen.”
But don’t count the Flames out, Gretzky warned. Both teams like to be aggressive on the puck and Flames head coach Darryl Sutter loves to send two guys in.
“The difference in this series will be the fact that the Oilers defense are going to get pressured a lot more than they they were against L.A. and vice versa,” Gretzky said.
“The Calgary defense is going to see a lot more speed and a lot more aggressive forecheck than that of the Dallas Stars.”
The puck drops in Game 1 Wednesday in Calgary at 7:30 p.m. Coverage starts on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 5:30 p.m.
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