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NHL - US Sports: Flames will improve vows Tkachuk

Matthew Tkachuk took little satisfaction from scoring a hat-trick in a 9-6 win against the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round on Wednesday, saying the Calgary Flames must improve.

The Flames, 9/2 to win the Stanley Cup and 1/4 to progress from the Battle of Alberta, gave up a four-goal lead twice before recovering to claim victory in the first game of the best-of-seven series.

Despite the obvious relief of Tkachuk and his Flames team-mates, the 24-year-old was direct in his criticism for the performance saying it was the worst of the playoffs so far, and won't be the recipe for success.

Tkachuk warns Flames have to improve

He said to the media: "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.

"We've got to be better with the lead. We had a four-goal lead twice, that should be enough in the play-offs. We'll be better next game."

The Flames defeated the Dallas Stars in the First Round of the play-offs, in a closely fought series which went to a Game 7 and featured a meagre combined 29 goals in comparison.

Tkachuk has a total of nine points (four goals, five assists) in the eight post-season games played so far and the series victory over Dallas was his first in four attempts with the Flames since he entered the NHL in 2016.

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The Flames (50-21-11) hold home ice advantage against the Oilers (49-27-6) after finishing seven points ahead of their Canadian rivals to win the Pacific Division.

Tkachuk had 104 points (42 goals, 62 assists) in the 82 regular season games, a career-best in all categories.

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