Edmonton Oilers fans didn’t disappoint in the first Battle of Alberta on home soil in over 31 years.
Neither did the team.
In a ruckus rout of the Calgary Flames in their first playoff meeting north up the QEII, the team gave the Oilers crowd plenty to cheer about in a lopsided 4-1 win, and those in attendance, both before, during, and after, more than repaid the debt.
And Flames coach Darryl Sutter can attest.
“I think we had a lot of our younger guys that haven’t been in this situation before were a little bit intimidated by the atmosphere,” the bench boss said.
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From pre-puck drop chants to the belting of the National anthem, and a standing ovation to close it out — one of at least a half-dozen offerings, Oil Country weren’t stingy on their cheers and jeers, sending some of the Flames less experienced players off their game.
At least, according to their coach.
Not so much from 25-year-old defenceman.
“Not really,” Rasmus Andersson said. “The Saddledome is way louder.”
It’s a matter that’d be up for debate, with the results split somewhere around Red Deer.
Regardless, the Flames coach anticipated that the first home game for Edmonton in the series would be bustling.
Especially knowing the last one came on April 14, 1991.
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“You knew what was coming,” Sutter said. “They haven’t played at home in this round yet and they were going to come out hard and really play with a lot of purpose in their game, a lot of speed.
“And they did.”
Sutter isn’t likely to get a disagreement from the Oilers side on that.
Edmonton, from opening puck drop, entertained the masses inside Rogers Place.
And sent the Oilers crowd home happy.
“It is fun to win,” Edmonton goalie Mike Smith said. “It is fun to win in the playoffs and it is fun to do it with friends and family in the building and in front of our amazing fans.”