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Oilers in Tough Against Flames, but They're Ready for the Challenge

The Edmonton Oilers have had their own playoff issues over the past decade, but they're ready for what should be a wild matchup against Calgary.

"Play La Bamba, baby." 

On Saturday, they did, and the Edmonton Oilers are off to the second round for the first time since 2017.

Edmonton is off to play the Calgary Flames after an interesting opening round against Los Angeles. It was by no means an easy series, and the team found themselves facing elimination, but they prevailed in the end.

When called upon he stepped up to another level and that's not even touching how dominant he was in these two games. McDavid recorded 14 points in the opening round, with five of them coming in the final two games.

Game 7 ended 2-0, with Edmonton showing the most pressure. The sustained pressure in the Kings' zone was relentless. In fact, the Kings didn't get a single high-danger chance in the entire third period.

The loud crowd was a huge boost, especially after not getting the chance to see a packed Rogers Rogers Place in five years. For veteran Mike Smith, it was an environment that he had never encountered before.

"I don't think I've ever heard a building so loud and crazy in all my career," Smith said. "I've been to the playoffs a couple of times and been in some wild buildings but that was pretty incredible to be a part of".

Smith needed to be the better goalie in this series, and he was. In the finale, Smith would make 29 saves for his fifth playoff shutout in his first-ever Game 7 appearance.

Now, the real challenge begins. Enter the Calgary Flames.

During the regular season, the two clubs split the series at 2-2. The Flames have a high-powered first line with three 40-goal men, a great goalie and some solid defensemen, but showed some cracks along the way against Dallas. The Flames only averaged 2.14 goals for per game in the seven-game affair. To Calgary's credit, they only allowed two goals-per-game, but were so close to not making it out of the round.

Edmonton's special teams have been able to flex their muscles once again. The power play was rolling at a league-best 36.8 percent during the first round. As good as the penalty kill of Calgary has been, they gave up seven power-play goals to Edmonton.

During his career, McDavid has put up 26 goals and 47 points against the Flames. For Edmonton, he's the key to winning this series, especially if Leon Draisaitl isn't fully healthy after a high-ankle sprain. Calgary has great scoring depth to work with, maybe more so than Edmonton. That means Edmonton has to find scoring from everywhere because you can bet the Flames will be all over No. 97.

This series might has the potential to be the best, and both teams have their strengths and weaknesses. For the Oilers, though, they don't want to waste any more of McDavid's incredible career.

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