Posts Tagged ‘Battle of Alberta’

The Edmonton Oilers cemented their place in the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2006 after defeating the Calgary Flames 5-4 in overtime in a chaotic Game 5 on Thursday night.

Oilers star Leon Draisaitl led the way with four points, while Connor McDavid ended the Flames’ season with his overtime winner.

“I was bad all night,” McDavid said. “I was riding the coattails of my teammates. They gave me a great opportunity to get it in overtime. I’m just so happy to contribute in this one.”

McDavid only had one point in the high-scoring contest, but it was the goal that mattered most.

“The best player won the series,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said, according to Sportsnet’s Eric Francis.

The contest wasn’t short on drama. The two teams set an NHL record for the fastest four goals scored in playoff history after each club lit the lamp twice in 1:11 during the second period.

Flames forward Blake Coleman had a goal disallowed in the third period due to a kicking motion, denying Calgary a late lead.

“Depends what you call a distinct kicking motion,” Sutter said of the call. “If somebody is on the ground, and you lift your foot up and kick them in the head, that’s a distinct kicking motion. If you slide your foot on the ground it’s not a distinct kicking motion.”

Andrew Mangiapane opened the scoring in a quiet first period before Mikael Backlund doubled the Flames’ lead early in the middle frame. The teams combined for six more goals in the second period, with Darnell NurseJesse PuljujarviZach Hyman, and Evan Bouchard contributing for the Oilers and Johnny Gaudreau and Calle Jarnkrok finding the back of the net for the Flames.

“Get your chin up and your chest out and walk out proud,” Sutter said of his message to his players, according to Postmedia’s Wes Gilbertson. “They did a hell of a lot more than anybody said they’d do, (to be) quite honest.”

Both goaltenders posted sub-.900 save percentages in the wild contest. Jacob Markstrom made 30 saves on 35 shots, while Mike Smith stopped 32 of 36.

The Oilers will either face the Colorado Avalanche or St. Louis Blues in the conference finals.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has suffered through plenty of heartache in Edmonton.

The top pick at the 2011 draft missed the playoffs in seven of his first eight NHL seasons as the Oilers repeatedly fumbled and bumbled their way through what must have felt like a never-ending rebuild.

After a stunning turn of events midway through the third period on Tuesday night, Nugent-Hopkins rose to the occasion when he was needed most.

Nugent-Hopkins scored his second goal of the game with 3:27 left in regulation, and the Oilers beat the Calgary Flames 5-3 to take a 3-1 lead in the second-round playoff series.

“The main thing was that we had to keep pushing,” Nugent-Hopkins said after Rasmus Andersson scored short-handed from 150 feet away as Calgary rallied all the way back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game. “Stuff like that happens, it’s hockey. Bounces happen.

“There was no quit.”

Edmonton interim head coach Jay Woodcroft credited Nugent-Hopkins, who was playing just the 32nd playoff game of his 11-season career, for stepping up with the team wobbling.

“It’s inspiring,” said Woodcroft, whose Oilers are now one win from making the Western Conference final for the first time since 2006. “There’s room for greatness from everybody on our team.

“Tonight was Ryan’s moment.”

Evander Kane scored his NHL-leading 11th and 12th goals of the postseason, and Zach Hyman added a goal for Edmonton. Leon Draisaitl added three assists and Mike Smith made 29 saves.

Connor McDavid also had two assists. He has 25 points in 11 playoff games for the Oilers, who earned a third straight victory over their provincial rival.

Andersson, Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund scored for Calgary. Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots.

“We all believe in this group,” Andersson said. “We’ve been a good team all year and we’ve been strong on home ice. We’ve just got to go home and focus on winning one game and take it from there.

“Obviously we’re in a tough situation.”

Calgary will look to stave off elimination on Thursday at home in Game 5.

After trailing 3-0 after the first period and 3-2 through two periods, Calgary tied the game in the third on an Edmonton power play when Andersson fired a 150-foot clearing attempt from his own end that somehow fooled Smith at 10:56.

With the Oilers wavering, Nugent-Hopkins poked in his fourth goal of the playoffs from in front of Markstrom.

Andersson then took a four-minute penalty for high-sticking with 2:40 left to effectively kill off the game before Kane iced it by scoring into an empty net.

“I can laugh now, right?” a relieved Smith said. “I don’t think there’s been a time in my career where I’ve lost the puck, where I have no idea where it went.

“You don’t want that to happen … ever. It was an unbelievable goal by Nuge at the end there … a win is a win.”

Edmonton also held a 2-1 series lead in the first round against the Los Angeles Kings only to play what the Oilers described as their worst performance of the month in a 4-0 loss. This time, they took a stranglehold on the series without their best effort.

“Every game you play in the playoffs, you gain experience,” Smith said. “There are ebbs and flows to a game, to a series, and they are all learning experiences.”

Markstrom, who had allowed 14 goals in the series before getting pulled after two periods with Calgary trailing Sunday’s Game 3 by a 4-0 score, played the puck behind his own net on the first shift, but put it right on Nugent-Hopkins’ stick. He scored his third.

The goal was the third-fastest in Oilers’ playoff history, just short of McDavid (19 seconds in 2020) and Fernando Pisani (16 seconds in 2006).

One of three finalists for the Vézina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie, Markstrom recovered to deny Darnell Nurse on a chance a couple minutes later before Smith was at full stretch on a Johnny Gaudreau one-time chance.

Calgary winger Tyler Toffoli then took a tripping penalty and the Oilers made the Flames pay when Hyman outmuscled a hobbled Chris Tanev — back in the lineup for the first time since Game 6 of the opening round despite a suspected upper-body injury — in tight, scoring his fifth goal of the series and seventh of the playoffs at 9:53.

The Flames, who topped the Pacific Division in the regular season, pushed back with a couple of decent shifts, but Kane, who was coming off a natural hat trick in Game 3, made it 3-0 with 66 seconds remaining in the period on a shot that nicked blueliner Nikita Zadorov.

Calgary showed some life on the power play in the second with Kane off for slashing. Lindholm eventually picked the top corner for his fifth goal at 9:04 after the Oilers twice failed to clear the defensive zone.

Backlund got the Flames within one at 3-2 just 36 seconds later when he stepped past Duncan Keith and fired his fourth past Smith.

Smith made a good stop on a Lindholm power-play chance early in the third before Edmonton got its second man-advantage with 11 minutes left in regulation.

Markstrom kept his team within striking distance with a terrific pad stop on Draisaitl, who became the first player in NHL history to register three-plus points in four straight playoff games with an assist on the Oilers’ empty-net goal.

Evander Kane had three goals in a six-minute span in the second period, Leon Draisaitl set an NHL record with four assists in one playoff period and the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Calgary Flames 4-1 on Sunday night to take a 2-1 lead in their second-round playoff series.

Zach Hyman had the other goal for Edmonton and Connor McDavid had three more assists. Mike Smith, who was briefly replaced by Mikko Koskinen in the third period after getting run over by Milan Lucic, made 31 saves. Koskinen wasn’t forced to make a stop in just over four minutes.

Oliver Kylington scored the lone goal for Calgary. Jacob Markstrom allowed four goals on 34 shots before getting pulled for the Flames, who have been outscored 8-1 since taking a 3-1 lead in the second period of Game 2. Dan Vladar made seven saves in relief.

McDavid now has 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) through 10 postseason games. The only players in NHL playoff history with more points in the same span are Wayne Gretzky (29 in 1983; 25 in 1985), Mario Lemieux (25 in 1992), and Rick Middleton (23 in 1983).

The Oilers will look to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series Tuesday night at Edmonton.

In the first playoff meeting in Edmonton to feature the Oilers and Flames since April 14, 1991, the Oilers scored four goals in just over 12 minutes in the second period — including Kane’s second hat trick of the month.

Hyman opened the scoring 52 seconds into the period off a setup from Draisaitl and McDavid for his sixth goal of the postseason.

Kane, who signed with the Oilers in January after having his contract terminated by the San Jose Sharks following a string of off-ice incidents, scored his first of the night at 6:58 off a feed from Draisaitl.

Kane made it 3-0 just 53 seconds later after an impressive rush by McDavid after stepping past Calgary defenseman Noah Hanifin.

Kane completed his hat trick — the seventh-fastest in NHL postseason history — with his 10th goal of the playoffs at 12:58 on a 2-on-1 with McDavid.

The 30-year-old Kane is the third Edmonton player to score three straight goals in a postseason game, joining Gretzky (1983) and Petr Kilma (1991). Draisaitl’s fourth assist of the second period, meanwhile, set the playoff record for any period.

Markstrom, who allowed 11 combined goals in Games 1 and 2 after posting a .941 save percentage in the opening round against the Dallas Stars, got the hook in favor of Vladar to start the third.

Lucic ran over Smith behind the Oilers’ net midway through the third to kick off a melee involving all 10 skaters. The Edmonton netminder was subsequently removed in favor of Koskinen, but returned shortly later.

Kylington got a consolation goal for the visitors — his first of the playoffs — with under five minutes to go.

 

Zach Hyman scored the go-ahead short-handed midway through the third period and the Edmonton Oilers rallied to beat the Calgary Flames 5-3 on Friday night, evening the second-round series at one game apiece.

Edmonton captain Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist, becoming the fastest active player to reach 20 points (six goals, 14 assists in nine games) in a single postseason, and fastest among any player since Mario Lemieux in 1992.

Leon Draisaitl and defenseman Duncan Keith each had a goal and two assists and Evan Bouchard also scored for Edmonton, which lost 9-6 in Game 1 and trailed 3-1 early in the second of this one.

Oilers goalie Mike Smith, pulled early in the last game, made 37 saves for the win and assisted on Draisaitl’s insurance goal.

Michael Stone, Brett Ritchie and Tyler Toffoli scored for Calgary. Johnny Gaudreau had two assists and Jacob Markstrom stopped 35 shots.

The best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal heads to Edmonton’s Rogers Place for Sunday’s Game 3 and Tuesday’s Game 4. The Oilers went 18-4-2 at home over their final 24 games of the regular season.

The Alberta rivals are squaring off in the playoffs for a sixth time, but the first since 1991.

One of the NHL’s top teams 5-on-5, the Flames were short-handed for almost 11 minutes. Edmonton scored its first power-play goal of the series midway through the second period to send the game into the third deadlocked 3-3.

Hyman turned Calgary’s offensive-zone turnover into a breakaway. He scored the short-handed, tiebreaking goal going upstairs on Markstrom at 10:14 of the third.

Smith passed the puck to Draisaitl for another breakaway just over two minutes later. The forward, who is playing through a lower-body injury, put the puck off the post and in on Markstrom’s stick side at 12:36.

With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins penalized for slashing at 16:48, the Flames couldn’t convert a power play into a goal. Calgary went 1 for 5 with a man advantage, while the Oilers were 1 for 6.

Two broken Oilers sticks contributed to a pair of Flames goals in the first two periods.

Defenseman Darnell Nurse was hampered down low without his in the second period and didn’t manage an exchange with a forward. Gaudreau threaded a pass to the front of the crease for Elias Lindholm to flip to Toffoli, who scored a power-play goal at 2:04 for a 3-1 Calgary lead.

Draisaitl’s goal at 2:31 of the second was waived off. Flames head coach Darryl Sutter successfully challenged goaltender interference by McDavid.

However, McDavid struck seconds later to draw Edmonton within a goal. He rolled off Calgary defenseman Nikita Zadorov into open ice, took a pass from Keith and stickhandled the puck by Markstrom’s outstretched pad at 3:05.

Bouchard pulled the Oilers even at 15:03 during Stone’s double minor for high-sticking. The defenseman wired a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle upstairs on Markstrom.

After setting the record for the fastest two goals to start a playoff game in the series opener with a pair within 51 seconds, Calgary struck early again, 63 seconds after puck drop. Hyman broke his stick and wasn’t able to retrieve another from the bench before Stone’s slapshot from the point beat Smith bottom corner glove side.

The Flames made it 2-0 at 6:02 when Smith bobbled a shot by Erik Gudbranson. Ritichie pounced on the loose puck in the crease and put a backhand by the Oilers’ goalie.

Keith halved the deficit with 6:15 left in the first. McDavid circling out from behind the net, held off Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson with one arm, and held the puck on his stick with the other. McDavid shoveled a one-handed pass to Keith, who beat Markstrom far side.

Hyman celebrated an Oilers goal with just over four minutes left in the opening period, but officials waived it off. The whistle blew before the puck crossed the goal line in a crease scramble.

NO TANEV AGAIN

The Flames were missing top shutdown defenseman Chris Tanev for a third straight game. He was injured in Game 6 of Calgary’s first-round series against Dallas. Tanev skated in practice this week, but hasn’t dressed for games.

NOTES: Gaudreau extended his playoff point streak to seven consecutive games (two goals, 10 assists) and tied Lanny McDonald (1984) for the fifth-longest in Flames history. … McDavid stretched his playoff multi-point streak to five straight games. The only other players in NHL history with a run of five or more multi-point games were Wayne Gretzky (1983), Tony Currie (1981), Darryl Sittler (1977), Evgeni Malkin (2009) and Dale Hawerchuk (1993).

Game 1 of the Battle of Alberta lived up to the hype – and more.

The Calgary Flames won a 9-6 barn burner over the Edmonton Oilers in the opening contest of Round 2 between the provincial rivals Wednesday.

The 15 combined goals are the most in a Stanley Cup Playoff game since 1993 and three shy of tying the all-time record of 18. It’s only the ninth contest in postseason history with at least 15 goals.

GAME RESULTYEARGOALS
Kings def. Oilers 10-8198218
Penguins def. Flyers 10-7198917
Oilers def. Kings 13-3198716
Kings def. Flames 12-4199016
Blackhawks def. Habs 8-7197315
North Stars def. Bruins 9-6198115
Oilers def. Blackhawks 10-5198515
Kings def. Flames 9-6199315
Flames def. Oilers 9-6202215

The Flames are also the first team to score nine goals in a playoff game since the Pittsburgh Penguins scored 10 against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012. The Oilers own the record with 13 in 1987.

The game initially looked like it was going to be a blowout for Calgary. The Flames owned leads of 5-1 and 6-2 before the Oilers stormed back to eventually tie it at 6-6. Calgary then scored three unanswered goals to put the contest away.

“There were probably six different games out there,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said postgame, according to Sportsnet’s Eric Francis.

“We were told it was a boring series last time, so I told the players yesterday we’ve got to score seven-to-10 goals today because they’d probably score five-to-eight to win, so that’s what we did,” Sutter added.

In fact, the Flames scored more goals on Wednesday against Edmonton than they did in their first four games combined in Round 1 against the Dallas Stars.

Matthew Tkachuk led the way offensively for Calgary, completing his hat trick with an empty-netter. Blake Coleman also potted two goals, while Andrew MangiapaneRasmus Andersson, and Johnny Gaudreau recorded three points apiece.

Connor McDavid‘s four points and Leon Draisaitl‘s three led the way offensively for the Oilers. Zach Hyman also chipped in with a pair of tallies.

Matthew Tkachuk had two goals and two assists, Johnny Gaudreau set a career high with five assists and the Calgary Flames beat the Edmonton Oilers 9-5 in a wild game Saturday night.

Leon Draisaitl had a hat trick to lead Edmonton (36-25-5). Derick Brassard and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for the Oilers.

Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund each scored twice for Calgary (40-17-8). Chris Tanev, Oliver Kylington and Dillon Dube added a goal apiece.

Tkachuk has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the last four games, while Gaudreau also has 11 points in that same span (three goals, eight assists).

Jacob Markstrom made 26 saves for the Flames and improved to 31-12-7.

Mike Smith, in relief of Mikko Koskinen, stopped 22 of the 26 shots he faced. Koskinen allowed five goals on 12 shots.

The provincial rivals ended up splitting their four-game season series.

In front of a raucous crowd of 19,289, Calgary’s first sellout since February 21, 2020, against Boston, the game was a thriller from start to finish with the goals coming seemingly non-stop.

With the score tied 4-all early in the second period, the Flames took their third and final lead on a pair of goals less than three minutes apart from Tkachuk.

At 5:06, Gaudreau muscled his way past Evan Bouchard to retrieve a loose puck, then spun and sent a pass into the slot to a wide-open Tkachuk, who sent a shot through Koskinen’s pads. That ended the night for Koskinen.

It didn’t start off any better for Smith, who was beaten between the pads by Tkachuk at 7:39 when an Oilers turnover in their own end allowed Gaudreau to find Tkachuk in behind the defense.

Brandishing a dangerous power play, the Oilers roared back again, making it 6-5 when they converted a two-man advantage they got when Erik Gudbranson was sent off for high-sticking three seconds into Andrew Mangiapane’s penalty.

Draisaitl’s third of the game at 9:18 of the second and 47th of the season brought about 50 hats onto the ice from the boisterous Oilers supporters scattered throughout the red-clad crowd.

Early in the third, Markstrom robbed Evander Kane after he was set up in front on a great passing sequence with Connor McDavid and Jesse Puljujarvi that would have tied it. Calgary then pushed the puck up ice, with Gaudreau setting up Lindholm for his second of the night.

The Flames added an insurance goal just more than three minutes later when Backlund notched his second, whipping a shot inside the post.

Edmonton scored 32 seconds into the game when Brassard deflected Bouchard’s point shot past Markstrom, but the Oilers’ only lead lasted less than five minutes.

Lindholm was sent in alone on a pass from Tkachuk and he went to his backhand, putting a shot under the crossbar.

The Flames then surged in front on goals 16 seconds apart.

NOTES: Noah Hanifin played his 500th NHL game. At 25 years, 60 days, he’s the fifth-youngest defenseman in NHL history to reach the milestone and youngest since 1994. … Flames center Ryan Carpenter made his debut after being acquired from Chicago at Monday’s trade deadline. He centered a line with Milan Lucic and Trevor Lewis.

UP NEXT

Edmonton: Hosts Arizona in the opener of three-game homestand.

Calgary: Hosts Colorado on Tuesday in the fourth game of a six-game homestand.

Tyler Toffoli had two goals to lead the Calgary Flames to a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night.

Johnny Gaudreau added a goal and an assist for the Flames (34-14-7), who remained atop the Pacific Division with their 14th win in 16 games. Jacob Markstrom stopped 27 of 28 shots in front of a season-high 17,246 at the Saddledome.

Devin Shore scored for Edmonton, and Mikko Koskinen had 26 saves in the first instalment of the Battle of Alberta. The Oilers beat the visiting Flames 5-2 on Oct. 16 and 5-2 on Jan. 22. The regular-season series concludes March 26 in Calgary.

Edmonton (30-23-4) remained two points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Oilers dropped to 7-5-1 since Jay Woodcroft took over as head coach for the fired Dave Tippett on Feb. 10.

After a scoreless first period, Calgary took a 2-0 lead on two goals by Toffoli in the second period.

Shore cut the deficit to a goal at 4:57 of the third period. Gaudreau scored on a partial breakaway with just under three minutes remaining to restore Calgary’s two-goal cushion.

Edmonton’s goal came after the puck deflected off referee Dan O’Rourke’s leg to Derek Ryan, whose pass then bounced off the leg of Flames’ defenseman Nikita Zadorov to Shore, who scored.

Toffoli collected his sixth and seventh goals for the Flames since he was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens in a Feb. 14 trade. He took a backhand feed from Adam Ruzicka and sent a wrist shot far side on Koskinen at 9:54 of the second period. He scored on a power play at 6:37.

NOTES: Calgary opera singer Stephania Romaniuk sang the Ukrainian anthem before George Canyon’s O Canada on Monday. It was the second straight home game that the Flames made a gesture of support to a country attempting to repel Russia’s invasion. … Gaudreau’s assist on Toffoli’s first goal was his sixth in five games and 50th this season. … Calgary held the fourth-best power play in the NHL to 0 for 4 in the game and went 1 for 4 with a man advantage.

UP NEXT

Edmonton: Host Washington Capitals on Wednesday in the first of a five-game homestand.

Calgary: Host Washington Capitals on Tuesday in the second of a four-game homestand.

Connor McDavid scored a natural hat trick and added two assists, leading the Edmonton Oilers to a 7-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.

McDavid assisted on the Oilers’ first two goals before scoring Edmonton’s next three. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two goals and Alex Chiasson and Josh Archibald also scored for Edmonton.

Mikko Koskinen made 43 saves for the Oilers, who opened the home-and-home series Friday night with a 2-1 victory in Calgary.

Andrew Mangiapane scored for the Flames. Jacob Markstrom made 10 saves on 15 shots before being pulled in favor of David Rittich in the second period. Rittich made seven saves on nine shots.

Chiasson scored a power-play goal nearly 3:30 into the first period. He redirected a pass from McDavid past Markstrom.

The Oilers doubled their advantage with a goal from Nugent-Hopkins about a minute later, with McDavid picking up another assist.

Mangiapane cut the Oilers’ lead in half scoring in a goalmouth scramble in front of Koskinen. The referees reviewed the play before confirming their initial call on the ice.

McDavid scored his team’s second power-play goal, tipping a point shot from Tyson Barrie. It was his third point of the period.

The Oilers’ captain scored his second of the game in the second period. He took the puck away from Flames defender Noah Hanifin and charged up the wing. He entered the zone and looked as if he was going to pass, drawing a defender towards him. Instead, he fired on net and beat Markstrom for his 11th of the season.

McDavid completed the hat-trick before the mid-point of the period.

Nugent-Hopkins added his second of the game with 7:22 left in the period.

Archibald scored his team’s seventh of the game 36 seconds into the third period.

NOTES: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Slater Koekkoek left the game in the first period after taking a hit from Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett.

UP NEXT

Flames: At Toronto on Monday and Wednesday nights.

Oilers: At Vancouver on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

 Mikael Backlund helped the Calgary Flames overcome a sluggish start with a goal and two assists in a 6-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.

Milan Lucic, Johnny Gaudreau and Dillon Dube each had a goal and an assist for the Flames.

Calgary’s Sam Bennett and Elias Lindholm also scored as the NHL’s Battle of Alberta commenced in the pandemic-compressed 2020-21 season.

Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves for the Flames, including 16 in the first period when his team was outshot 17-3 and trailed 2-1.

Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist, with Jujhar Khaira, Jesse Puljujarvi and Darnell Nurse also scoring for Edmonton.

McDavid extended his point streak to nine games (six goals, 15 assists) and still leads the NHL’s points race with nine goals and 17 assists.

Oilers starter Mikko Koskinen stopped 22 shots in the loss.

Saturday’s meeting was the first of 10 this season between Alberta’s NHL teams and the first since the two clubs combined for over 100 penalty minutes Feb. 1, 2020.

NOTES: Calgary placed C Derek Ryan (broken finger) on long-term injury reserve, while the Oilers put D Ethan Bear (upper body) on injured reserve Saturday. … Gaudreau reached a career 300 assists. … Calgary D Noah Hanifin played his 400th career NHL game. … The Flames donned retro jerseys Saturday featuring the flame-snorting horse head “Blasty”, which was first worn in 1998 to commemorate the Year of the Cowboy.

UP NEXT

The Flames are at home against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday and the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

The Oilers head east on their five-game road trip for a pair of games in Ottawa and one in Montreal.

CFL_Logo

It’s only three short months until kick off on this year’s Canadian Football League season and there is for sure some good matches on the schedule to look forward to. In a league with only eight teams it’s easy to assume every game is a rivalry but some of these game have more intensity because of things like geographic location, free agent signings and long time players departing for another location.

So here’s a look at the CFL’s 10 must see games:

Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs Toronto Argonauts June 28th 2013: The defending Grey Cup champions kick off their season at home to long time rivals the Hamilton Tiger Cats. This is a battle for bragging rights early in the province of Ontario. Last season the Hamilton and Toronto made the two biggest splashes going into the 2012 season during free agency when the Tiger-Cats brought in Henry Burris and Andy Fantuz, while the Argos traded to get Ricky Ray. People expected the ti-cats to be the toast of the east after acquiring Burris and Fantuz but it is was the Argos who would go on to win the Grey Cup. The Argos’ Grey Cup win has people in Toronto talking about the Canadian Football League again and they are going to want to build on that success.

The Braley Bowl
Toronto Argonauts vs British Columbia Lions July 4th 2013: The home opener for the British Columbia Lions also happens to be a meeting of the past two Grey Cup winners and the two Canadian Football League franchises owned by David Braley. It’s well-known people in Vancouver don’t care for seeing any Toronto sports franchise succeed so the crowd is going to be red-hot that night in arguably the Canadian Football League’s best stadium. If your going to watch one Thursday night game this season… while this might be it.

The Braley Bowl Part II
British Columbia Lions vs Toronto Argonauts July 30th 2013: The return match for bragging rights as David Braley’s best chance to be owner of a third Grey Cup winning team in a row hits Toronto. This is a rare Tuesday game on the schedule. Remember that thing I said about people in Vancouver not caring for Toronto! Well people in Toronto aren’t to fond of their neighbors to west either. Look for the revitalized Toronto football market to give the Lions a taste of what they think of them.

The Banjo Bowl
Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs Saskatchewan Roughriders September 1st 2013: It’s one of the best geographic rivalries in the Canadian Football League, both team’s view the other city as being full of rednecks. I’m actually pretty sure the term Banjo bowl didn’t come from anyone living in either province. The teams have a storied history against one another and the mayors of both cities have been known to place friendly wagers against one another through the series of games over the years. The Roughriders and Blue Bombers are both looking to regain their place in the league and this tilt between the two teams takes place mid-season so fans will have a good idea of where both teams stand going into this game.

The Battle of Alberta
Edmonton Eskimos vs Calgary Stampeders September 2nd 2013: It’s a labor day classic between two franchises and cities that have never really got along. The battle of Alberta spans two sports leagues and in this incarnation both teams look to make the claim as Alberta’s best team. The Stampeders are coming off of a trip to the Grey Cup and life after departing with Henry Burris last year seemed to be going pretty nicely for the Stamps, while live post Ricky Ray in Edmonton was anything but as the Eskimos had to pay in a cross over game against Ray losing in the first round of the playoffs before Ray went on to win the Grey Cup. This may be a game between two Alberta teams moving in different directions.

Montreal Alouettes vs British Columbia Lions September 15th 2013: For two teams that are geographically as far apart from one another as these two this has developed into one of the best rivalries over the past decade. The Lions have dominated the Al’s at home over the past decade. These teams are often the two favorites to win the grey cup over the past nine years. The Al’s have an aging veteran at quarterback the great Anthony Calvillo who is often regarded as the greatest quarterback to ever play in the Canadian Football League while the Lions have the young Travis Lulay who is working on establishing a legacy of his own.

Toronto Argonauts vs Edmonton Eskimos September 28th 2013: One trade changed the fate of two franchises as the Eskimos’ traded Ricky Ray to Toronto which would become the catalyst for the team’s first Grey Cup victory in seven years. That trade has brought new life back to the city of Toronto while the Edmonton Eskimos have struggled since that time. This will mark the first time Ricky Ray plays in Edmonton since winning the Grey Cup.

Superman Returns
Saskatchewan Roughriders vs British Columbia Lions October 4th 2013: For the past decade Geory Simon was the face of the British Columbia Lions, often regarded as the second most popular player in the team’s sixty year history. Geroy Simon did it all in Vancouver winning Two Grey Cups, setting Canadian Football League receiving records and being one of the best at giving back to the community. Then this past off season Lion’s general manager made the decision to part ways with Geroy, no one knows the real reason for his departure though it’s been widely rumored that it had to do with the team wanting Geroy to take a pay cut and have a reduced role on the team. It was a move that many Lions fan feel ripped their heart’s straight from their chests. To make things worse Geroy than signed with the Roughriders and most people know that Lions fans generally hate the Riders more than any other team in the Western Conference. Needless to say when Geroy returns it might the only time you see Lions fans care a Rider’s player.

Montreal Alouettes vs Toronto Argonauts November 1st 2013: Montreal vs Toronto is one of the best rivalries in any sports but in the Canadian Football League it often marks which team is the best in the Eastern conference. The Argos won the grey cup last year while the Al’s remained the top team in the East during the regular season. Two of the best quarterbacks in the Canadian Football League will be center stage in this game. Both teams will have something prove on this game in the final week of the season heading into the playoffs.

Calgary Stampeders vs British Columbia Lions November 1st 2013: Calgary and Vancouver these cities don’t care for each other. This being the last game of the season for both teams is going to hold that much more value going into the playoffs. The Lions have not forgotten that it was the Stamps that derailed their dream of repeating as Grey Cup Champions last season. The fans in the dome are going to be loud given Stamp’s quarterback Drew Tate’s taunting of the crowd last year as the Lions were eliminated from the playoffs, something that has made him public enemy number one in Vancouver.

Regardless of who you care this is going to be a great year for the Canadian Football League and remember the CFL… this is our league