Calgary Flames

Mapping the Calgary Flames’ path to the playoffs: Five games to survive

The Calgary Flames find themselves in the middle of the Western Conference Wild Card race. With just a few games remaining in the regular season, The Win Column will be mapping out the current playoff picture and assessing how the Flames would be able to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs over the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets.

What’s happened since

The Calgary Flames continued their “unnecessarily stressful win against a weak team” after coming back against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night. After falling behind on two separate occasions, the Flames notched their second straight third period comeback after not being able to accomplish this in the first 75 games of the season. At the end of the day two points is two points, and four straight wins is critical for the team looking to make up ground.

The Winnipeg Jets meanwhile earned their second straight dominant victory, this time over an extremely strong opponent in the New Jersey Devils. A 6–1 victory on Sunday gave them back-to-back wins, which has to feel good for a team that has been struggling as of late.

The Predators had a 0–3–0 record against the Dallas Stars entering last night’s contest. That trend did not break after a 5–1 loss. With that defeat, the Predators slip behind the Flames even accounting for games in hand. It’s not over yet, but it’s one extra step many have been waiting for with the out-of-town scoreboard.

Remaining schedules

87 Points89 Points84 Points
vs CHIvs CGYvs VGK
vs SJ@ COLvs MIN
vs COL

The Flames are entering their most critical week, with games against the Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets, and a rematch against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Jets have a quiet but ridiculous week ahead of them with games against the two teams being tracked on this list. Two wins would pretty much cement their position in the post season.

The Predators have a very busy week after last night’s game against the Stars. Add in two more games against the Carolina Hurricanes and the Jets and the Preds will have no time to breathe.

Calgary’s path to the playoffs

With another three games set in stone, our model prediction can change a bit:

@ VAN2vs DET2vs STL2
vs ANA2vs NJ2@ DAL0
vs CHI2vs CGY0vs VGK2
@ WIN2vs NSH2vs CAR2
@ VAN0vs SJ2@ WIN0
vs NSH1@ MIN0@ CGY2
vs SJ2@ COL0vs MIN1
vs COL1

The Flame’s projections remain quite similar, but the Jets increase sightly as a result of the NJ win. If the Flames win the matchup on Wednesday, the Jets would have to go 2–2–0 the rest of the way for the Flames to inch in.

If the Flames can go 3–1–1 all the way in, which is very doable, the Predators could go 3–1–2 in their final six games and not catch either team. Their loss tonight was extremely hurtful to their chances.

Now let’s look at some crazier options:

@ VAN2vs DET2vs STL2
vs ANA2vs NJ2@ DAL0
vs CHI1vs CGY1vs VGK1
@ WIN2vs NSH0vs CAR1
@ VAN2vs SJ2@ WIN2
vs NSH1@ MIN2@ CGY2
vs SJ2@ COL0vs MIN2
vs COL1

If the Flames go 3–0–2, giving up a single point to the Jets, then they could still make the post season should the Jets go 2–2–1 to finish the year. A single point off of that would give the Jets the final position. Giving the Jets the extra point means that the Flames wouldn’t be able to lose in regulation the rest of the way assuming the Jets go 2–2–1.

Meanwhile, Nashville in this situation can go 3–0–3 and miss, even a 4–1–1 record would have them miss too. Tough sledding for the Predators.

It’s also possible that the Flames lose in regulation to the Jets and still make it, but it’s a smaller window

@ VAN2vs DET2vs STL2
vs ANA2vs NJ2@ DAL0
vs CHI2vs CGY2vs VGK1
@ WIN0vs NSH0vs CAR1
@ VAN2vs SJ2@ WIN2
vs NSH2@ MIN1@ CGY2
vs SJ2@ COL0vs MIN2
vs COL1

The Jets would have to go 1–2–1 after beating the Flames, combined with the Flames winning every single other game, in order to make that happen. Plain and simple, the Flames need to secure two points today and tomorrow.

What’s up next in the schedule

The Flames host the Blackhawks in another must-win game. The Flames have lost both games against the Blackhawks this season, and they simply cannot afford to lose a third. How have they lost two games this season? Who knows, but surely this is a much more motivated team than earlier in the season.

The Jets next game is against the Flames—more on that matchup tomorrow.

The Predators play again tonight against the Vegas Golden Knights at home. Should be a tough on the second night of a back-to-back after a trip from Dallas the night before.

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