The rivalry calmed down in the 1990’s, as both franchises faced financial hardships due to being among the smallest markets in the league. Many feared the demise of nearly all Canadian teams. Both the Quebec Nordiques and the Winnipeg Jets were relocated in American cities in 1995 and 1996, respectively.
It wasn’t until well over a decade later that the Oilers or Flames exhibited anything near the intensity they had in the 80’s and early 90’s. In 2004, the Flames made it to the Stanley Cup Finals but were defeated in seven games by the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 2006 (there was no Stanley Cup game in 2005 due to the lockout), the Oilers made it to the Finals only to fall to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games. They have not returned to the playoffs since. Up until 2009, the Flames made the playoffs every year, but then went five seasons without an appearance until their return in 2015.
This season, the rivalry is picking up right where it left off. On Saturday, January 14th, the Oilers defeated the Flames 2-1 thanks to shootout goals from Leon Draisaitl and Mark Letestu. This put the Oilers (23-15-7) four points ahead of the Flames (23-20-3) in the Pacific Division. With the win, the Oilers are now second in the division. The Flames are in fourth place and are the first wild card for the playoffs from the Western Conference.
|By Connor Mah (Own work) |
[CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)],
via Wikimedia Commons