As chants of “We want 10” rained down on the Saddledome, another iconic chapter in the Battle Of Alberta was written in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. The Calgary Flames, much to their own surprise, emerged as the victors over the Edmonton Oilers in the 9-6 affair.

Wednesday’s game was simultaneously the epitome and antithesis of playoff hockey. There were post-whistle skirmishes, face washes, and in-game chirping. There were also plenty of goals, porous defensive play, a wide-open neutral zone, and leaky goaltending.

At the beginning, it looked like the Flames would blow their provincial rivals out. Calgary scored on its first two shots and chased Edmonton goalie Mike Smith from the game before it was 10 minutes old.

“To a man, not one of us was anywhere near where we needed to be to start the game,” said Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft.

“You don’t draw it up giving up two goals on missed assignments.”

“Clearly we weren’t ready and it’s tough to play catch up for the whole night,” said Oilers star Leon Draisaitl, who had a goal and two assists in Game 1.

However, instead of a convincing victory, Calgary allowed Edmonton back into the game. The Flames surrendered multiple four-goal leads before putting the game away late in the third period. Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom allowed six goals on 28 shots.

“I think we made some mental mistakes in the second period and got away from our checking game a little bit,” veteran forward Blake Coleman said.

Flames head coach Darryl Sutter took note of how many in the hockey world saw his team’s last series against the Dallas Stars as “boring.” Wednesday’s opening game versus the Oilers was anything but.

“We were told it was a boring series last time, so I told the players yesterday if we score 7 to 10 goals and that they score 5 to 8, that we’d win,” he quipped afterward.

His players, well versed in the Sutter way, saw Wednesday not as an occasion to celebrate but one to be cautious of and learn from. There were far too many defensive breakdowns, missed assignments, and odd-man rushes against.

“Not good, not good at all,” said Matthew Tkachuk, who had a hat trick.

“That’s probably our worst game of the playoffs so far. We got super lucky. That’s just not the recipe for success. Maybe we win this one, but we’re not going to win many more if we’re going to play like that.”

Tkachuk listed three things the Flames need to improve on heading into Game 2.

“Turnovers, bad line changes, not backchecking,” he said. “Stuff we’ve got to learn from.”

Rasmus Andersson, who scored the game winner, called himself out.

“If you look at the sixth goal, I lose my guy off the faceoff,” he said.

“It’s small breakdowns…“Sure we scored a lot of goals tonight, but our defensive play needs to be way better. You’re not going to win a lot of games when you let in six goals, that’s for sure.”

Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse felt that Edmonton needed to be more physical.

“It’s going to be a hard, physical series and we weren’t hard enough,” said Nurse.

Andersson had a similar view.

“You've got to play their tough guys hard but fair and make them play for every inch out there," he said.

Despite the win, the Flames clearly view Game 1 as a learning experience they were lucky to not have paid the ultimate price for. They practise on Thursday ahead of the next game on Friday.

“The good news is that it’s correctable and we can go back to the drawing board tomorrow,” Coleman said.

“As long as guys are willing to look in the mirror and take responsibility.”