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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Calgary’s ‘Battle of Alberta’ Goal-Scoring Stars Could Soon Hit Market

  • Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane, and Johnny Gaudreau are all on expiring contracts.
  • The trio combined for four goals and five assists in Game 1 against Edmonton.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The first postseason Battle of Alberta in over 30 years didn’t disappoint, thanks to a historic glut of goals.

On Wednesday in Calgary, the Flames and Oilers opened their conference semifinals series with 15 combined goals — the fifth-most in Stanley Cup Playoffs history.

The contest, which the Flames won 9-6, also featured the two fastest goals to open a playoff game when Calgary jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 51 seconds.

The Flames’ big scorers from Wednesday’s barnburner form the core of their red-hot offense — though all of them are on expiring contracts.

  • Matthew Tkachuk, who recorded his first career playoff hat trick after co-leading the team in goals in the regular season, is an RFA this offseason.
  • Andrew Mangiapane, who posted career highs across the board (35 G, 20 A, 55 P) and scored the record-setting second goal Wednesday, will also be an RFA.
  • Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary’s regular-season points (115) and assists (75) leader — who contributed three helpers in Game 1 — will be a UFA this offseason.

Edmonton wasn’t exactly goal-shy either, led by stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who combined for two goals and five assists. The pair have contracts tying them to the Oilers through 2025-26 and 2024-25, respectively.

Of course, the collective firepower was offset by some very poor defense.

Mike Smith allowed three goals on 10 shots before getting the hook, while backup Miko Koskinen had to face 37 shots. And Calgary’s Jacob Markstrom — a 2022 Vezina Trophy finalist — had his worst game of the playoffs, allowing six goals on just 28 shots.

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