The Oilers came to the NHL during the merge in 1979. In 1980, the Atlanta Flames moved to Calgary. This is when the real rivalry started, as the battle to be the top team in Alberta began. The Flames finished with 39 wins and 92 points, making it to the Stanley Cup semifinals in their first season in the NHL. The next year, Wayne Gretzky began to break NHL records and the Oilers climbed to the top of the Smythe Division (the forerunner of the NHL’s Northwest and Pacific Divisions).
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During the mid to late 1980’s, the rivalry escalated as the Oilers and Flames became the best two teams in the Campbell Conference (now known as the Western Conference). For eight consecutive years, from 1983 to 1990, one of the two teams represented their conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Oilers won the Stanley Cup in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990. The Flames won in 1989.