Calgary Flames

Mapping the Calgary Flames’ path to the playoffs: The final countdown

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 Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators met in another clash of the wild card “titans” on Saturday night, which resulted in a shutout victory for the Winnipeg Jets and Connor Hellebuyck. After losing to the Flames, this was a required win for the Jets and helped significantly improve their playoff odds.

The Calgary Flames had a chance to match that win, but decided to only play for 25 minutes overall against the Vancouver Canucks leading to a 3–2 shootout loss. That was their 16th loss in extra time this season.

Remaining schedules

90 Points91 Points88 Points
vs NSHvs SJ@ CGY
vs SJ@ MINvs MIN

The Flames are down to two lone games: first against the Predators, then against San Jose Sharks. That’s what is left until this season is potentially over.

The Jets also get to play the Sharks, but get the added bonus of two road games against Central Division juggernauts in the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild.

The Predators get the same draw with their last two games coming against the same two Central teams though at home, but before that have a date with the Flames.

Calgary’s path to the playoffs

The paths to the playoffs are down to very few options:

@ VAN2vs DET2vs STL2
vs ANA2vs NJ2@ DAL0
vs CHI0vs CGY0vs VGK2
@ WIN2vs NSH2vs CAR2
@ VAN1vs SJ2@ WIN0
vs NSH2@ MIN0@ CGY0
vs SJ2@ COL0vs MIN2
vs COL2

The Flames plain and simple have to win their final two games of the season to give themselves life. After that, they have to start praying that the Wild and Avalanche win in regulation against the Jets to finish the season.

If the Flames beat Nashville, then the Predators’ chances go down to virtually zero as even with two additional wins they wouldn’t be able to catch the Flames.

It’s entirely likely that the Jets take the two points over the Sharks, but the last two games for both the Jets and Predators could be fascinating. Do the Wild and Avalanche sit their stars to rest for the playoffs? Do they keep playing for playoff seeding? The latter is more likely with the Central Division not being locked up yet, which could work in the Flames’ favour.

Now is there a way in which the Flames could lose to Nashville, perhaps in extra time again, and still make it? Sure, it’s very unlikely, but the math is possible:

@ VAN2vs DET2vs STL2
vs ANA2vs NJ2@ DAL0
vs CHI0vs CGY0vs VGK2
@ WIN2vs NSH2vs CAR2
@ VAN1vs SJ1@ WIN0
vs NSH1@ MIN0@ CGY2
vs SJ2@ COL0vs MIN2
vs COL0

How about this for dramatics? The Flames could secure one less point, but would need for the Jets to go 0–2–1 in their final three games (good luck) and then the Predators would need get two points or less in their final two for the Flames to somehow sneak in.

Just pray for two regulation wins for the Flames, and then some Central Division bloodbaths.

What’s up next in the schedule

The Flames take on the Predators on Monday night hockey, while the Jets host the Sharks on the early game tonight as well.

Buckle up even tighter than you already have.

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