On Wednesday, the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames played the highest-scoring Stanley Cup playoff game since 1993 and tied for the fifth-highest ever. Calgary won that game 9-6. On Friday, ahead of the second game in the series, the Oilers’ Evander Kane (seen at left above celebrating a first-round goal with teammate Connor McDavid) offered quite a prediction for his team’s odds:
Oilers forward Evander Kane: "If we don't give up nine goals tonight, I really like our chances."
— Wes Gilbertson (@WesGilbertson) May 20, 2022
You would hope so indeed. While scoring was up in the NHL this season, there were only nine regular-season games where one team scored nine goals. (Funnily enough, one of those was the Flames over the Oilers in a 9-5 win on March 26.) And while that rise in scoring continued in the first round of the playoffs (teams averaged 3.216 goals per game, up from even the 3.145 during the regular season), the most goals scored by a single team before Oilers-Flames Wednesday was seven (by the Colorado Avalanche twice in their sweep of the Nashville Predators, by the Pittsburgh Penguins twice in their seven-game loss against the New York Rangers, and by the Tampa Bay Lightning once in their seven-game win over the Toronto Maple Leafs).
The other second-round series also haven’t come close to this offensive production, with the high by any other team so far being four (the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 against the Avalanche Thursday and the Lightning in Game 1 against the Florida Panthers Tuesday). So not allowing nine goals is a good goal to strive for. Of course, the Oilers can allow as many goals as they want, as long as they score at least one more. But if they can’t do that, the “Ouch, Wayne” prediction against them may come true.
[Wes Gilbertson on Twitter; image from Perry Nelson/USA Today Sports]