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Flames, Oilers Game 1 Was Everything We Hoped For

Some kerfuffles, a ton of goals and pure fun on both sides? Game 1 had everything we were looking for in the Battle of Alberta and more. And the best part? It's just getting started.
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It's fitting that a rematch of a series we last saw in the 1990s channeled the 90s in the most 90s way possible. 

And everybody loved it. Minus the goaltenders.

The Calgary Flames beat the Edmonton Oilers 9-6 after giving up a 3-0 lead. Goaltending? Not a thing. Defense? Who cares. The (bleep)disturbers? Disturbing.

Did you see those five minutes of Evander Kane and Matthew Tkachuk screaming at each other in the box? Hilarious. And then Tkachuk got out of the box and scored to rub it in even more. You have to love a heel. 

Everything we witnessed in Game 1 is exactly what we used to see back in the day. Old school hockey fans loved it. New school fans haven't seen it in a long time. Was it good hockey? No. Was it entertaining hockey? Hell yes.

People aren't invested in this series for the pure hockey aspect. Sure, there some absolutely insane talent in this series with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Johnny Gaudreau and Jacob Markstrom, to name a few. But the fact that we saw everything that wasn't conventional in one night -- especially after a close game between New York and Carolina -- has to get you excited.

It makes for good TV. And it's just getting started.

Sure, we didn't see any crazy line brawls or beatdowns. But we saw skill on display (sorry, goaltenders), and the big dogs came to play. High-scoring games are mostly a thing of the past, but we saw a ton of it on Wednesday night.

Don't expect a lot of 15-goal games -- Calgary scored 15 goals in the opening round against Dallas -- but we should get more memorable moments between two teams that truly hate each other. Look at Florida vs. Tampa Bay. A rivalry? Absolutely. But they don't have the history that the Battle of Alberta has.

It was fitting that Tkachuk finished with a hat-trick, given how much the Oilers clearly hate him. It's also fitting that it ended with a nice brawl, and both teams knew what they were doing by throwing Zach Kassian and Milan Lucic out to finish things off. Essentially, setting the tone for Game 2.

Everyone who loves the NHL loves what they saw last night. As the series goes on, expect the nastiness to hit a playoff-high. And it's great that a rivalry this ugly still exists. Montreal vs. Toronto has mellowed out over time. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia haven't played each other in a while. The Battle of New York? Maybe someday soon.

But Game 1 of the Battle of Alberta was everything hockey fans were hoping for, and, hopefully, we get six more wars before it's all said and done.

If you're a neutral observer, this is entertainment gold.

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