Calgary Flames

Mapping the Calgary Flames’ path to the playoffs: Three games left in tight wild card race

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 and Winnipeg Jets met on Wednesday night for one of the season’s most talked about contests. The Flames took the regulation win to pull even with the Jets in terms of points, although the Jets still hold the extra game in hand as well as the tiebreaker.

The Nashville Predators continued their miraculous run—with virtually and AHL filled roster at that—by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes in a 3–0 shutout. It sure does help when you have Juuse Saros between the pipes as well as Tommy Novak playing out of his mind.

Remaining schedules

89 Points89 Points88 Points
vs NSHvs SJ@ CGY
vs SJ@ MINvs MIN

The Flames have the fewest amount of games left on their schedule, but one could say they have the easiest. That continues tonight in a game against the Vancouver Canucks, in a rematch of last week’s dramatic 5–4 overtime victory for the Flames. They then face the Predators which will be yet another must-win game.

The Jets and Predators clash tonight in yet another imperative game for the entire wild card race. A Jets win could seriously hurt the Predators chances, while a Predators victory could make things even more interesting. Aside from those games, both teams have to play the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche before seasons end which isn’t easy at all.

Calgary’s path to the playoffs

There are a few very different paths that could happen over the next few days. Here is the most optimistic first:

@ VAN2vs DET2vs STL2
vs ANA2vs NJ2@ DAL0
vs CHI0vs CGY0vs VGK2
@ WIN2vs NSH2vs CAR2
@ VAN2vs SJ2@ WIN0
vs NSH2@ MIN1@ CGY1
vs SJ2@ COL0vs MIN2
vs COL2

If the Flames win out, then they would just need the Jets to go 2–1–1 in their final four games to make the postseason. This also accounts for the Jets taking the victory over the Predators. If that happens, even the Predators winning out and getting a point against the Flames doesn’t help their case.

Winning out essentially takes cares of the Predators, but the Jets could still lurk.

Now the ideal situation for the Flames would be for the Predators to win in regulation tonight, if that happens then this is how things can shake out:

@ VAN2vs DET2vs STL2
vs ANA2vs NJ2@ DAL0
vs CHI0vs CGY0vs VGK2
@ WIN2vs NSH0vs CAR2
@ VAN2vs SJ2@ WIN2
vs NSH2@ MIN2@ CGY0
vs SJ2@ COL1vs MIN2
vs COL2

The Flames winning out would still give them the advantage here, including a regulation win over the Predators which is essential. If the Predators win out, then the Flames are safe from them. If Winnipeg wins out, then they would sneak in on the tiebreak.

Now what would happen if the Flames don’t win out, specifically if they lose against the Predators:

@ VAN2vs DET2vs STL2
vs ANA2vs NJ2@ DAL0
vs CHI0vs CGY0vs VGK2
@ WIN2vs NSH0vs CAR2
@ VAN2vs SJ2@ WIN2
vs NSH0@ MIN0@ CGY2
vs SJ2@ COL1vs MIN0
vs COL0

If the Flames go 2–1–0, with the one loss coming against the Predators, the easiest thing would be for the Predators to lose both remaining games and the Jets going 1–2–1 to finish their season (assuming a loss to the Predators in regulation). It’s messy, and requires a lot of help, but it’s possible.

The Flames winning out would help their case immensely.


What’s up next in the schedule

The Flames take on the Canucks on the late Hockey Night in Canada game. While the Jets prepare for their second bloodbath game within a few days. Pray for no three-point games.

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