The Edmonton Oilers will play one exhibition game in advance of the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifying Round. That game will take place on Tuesday, July 28th at Rogers Place and will feature the Oilers against their rivals, the Calgary Flames.
Of course, in their four meetings prior to ‘the pause’, the Oilers and Flames poured gasoline on the rivalry’s fire. Zack Kassian and Matthew Tkachuk battled over the course of three games, and a line brawl highlighted the Oilers’ victory on February 1st in Calgary.
Many people, fans and media alike, anticipate that the rivalry will keep the fire going in 12 days. Edmonton Oilers head coach Dave Tippett isn’t so sure, however.
“The exhibition game, you know, I guess everybody will play more into it,” Tippett said via video conference on Wednesday. “But I think every team, no matter who you’re playing, they kind of put rivalries all over the league in exhibition games, I think teams are gonna be so concentrated on getting their self ready. I think it’ll take some of that rivalry stuff out of it.”
Both the Flames and Oilers will kick off the Qualification Round on Saturday, August 1st. That gives the teams three days to prepare after their exhibition battle.
The Flames will take on the Jets at 8:30 pm mountain, while the Oilers face the Blackhawks at 1:00 pm.
Tippett’s right that rivalries are king in the NHL’s ‘exhibition’ slate. On the same night that the Oilers and Flames meet, the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins will play. So too will the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Another budding rivalry, the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals, is also set. Of course, the Islanders and Rangers will play each other in Toronto too.
Normally, emotions would be running high in all of those games. In twelve days? There will be bigger things on the line for all of those teams mere days after the ‘rivalry’ tilt.
“You’ve got one game and you’re in the playoffs,” Tippett continued. “You better use that game wisely and make sure your team game is in order and I think that will be the focus.”