A Closer Look at The Flames Sched.

Kent Wilson
March 08 2010 10:49AM

With the Flames posting back-to-back wins for the first time in recent memory last week, their chances of securing a playoff spot increased to about 35% after bottoming out at around 20% after the 4-0 loss to the Wild. The source of the link, Sports Club Stats, determines playoff probabilities by weighting a number of factors and then simulating the season 25 million times. The most recent round of simulations have the Flames making the playoffs 35% of the time.

That's not terribly comforting. To break the hypothetical 93 point post-season barrier, the Flames will have to go 9-6-2 or better in their final 17 games (.588 WIN%). That doesn't seem overly unrealistic...until you glance at the club's remaining opponents:

March

@ Detroit

vs. Ottawa

@ Vancouver

vs. Detroit

@ Colorado

vs. San Jose

@Minnesota

vs. Anaheim

@ NY Islanders

@ Boston

@ Washington

vs. Phoenix

April

@ Colorado

@ Chicago

vs. San Jose

vs. Minnesota

@ Vancouver

% against teams above Calgary in the standings: 12/17 = 71%

% against division leaders: 6/17 = 35%

% on the road: 10/17 = 59%

The only weak sisters on the docket are the Boston Bruins and NY Islanders. Minnesota and Anaheim are below the Flames in the standings, but have proven to be difficult opponents for Calgary this year. I also don't rate Colorado highly at all, but they've had the Flame's number since that faithful playoff run a couple of seasons ago helmed by Peter Budaj and Joe Sakic. The team has changed drastically since, but the Flames can't seem to beat them for love or money anyways.

The sched is rife with clubs that are either powerhouses (Washington, Chicago, San Jose, Vancouver), owners of the Flames this season (Minny, Colorado) or both (Chicago, San Jose). In fact, Dirk Hoag of On the Forecheck determined that Calgary probably has the most difficult schedule of any "playoff hopeful" in the league down the stretch. They travel the most miles (16,000+), face the second highest average WIN% (.549) and the best average ES GF/GA ratio (1.10). Also disconcerting is the fact that the suddenly healthy Detroit Red Wings are starting to show signs of resurgence. Perhaps the only good news is that Calgary is better on the road (16-9-6) than at home (16-15-3) this season.

The Flames face a veritable murderer's row to end the year. If they indeed make the playoffs, it will be because they earned it.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Snoop Blogg
March 08 2010, 10:56AM
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You go get em' Kent!!

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#2 walkinvisible
March 08 2010, 11:11AM
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my money's on 17-0-0. book it. ;)

ps: realistically i think we can beat ottawa, boston & nyi. after that, it's a crapshoot complicated by the coaching staff thinking that toskala is still a starter.

i read something today that suggested the "new-new-newlook" flames have gelled nicely in a short time, and the couple of road games might add to that. if there is any truth in chemistry then hold on, this could go down to the wire....

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#3 Brent
March 08 2010, 11:21AM
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It's the old cliche -- it's already playoff hockey. Add to that the game pretty much every other night and it certainly seems that way.

Remember the much discussed mini-playoff 28 game stretch of 2004? Well, if the Flames have any hope of getting past that first round, they'd better be rolling like it's playoff time.

WI is right about beatable teams, but I think the biggest pass/fail test will be the Detroit double whammy in the next couple weeks. Whiff on those two, and that makes things difficult.

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#5 Domebeers.com
March 08 2010, 12:21PM
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The 2001 Stamps, thats what our boys are going to do.

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#6 maimster
March 08 2010, 01:12PM
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Tough schedule for sure, but I'm never a fan of schedule analyses because there are so many other factors in play (when other team last played, injuries, crticality of game for the other team). If the Flames have proven one thing this year, it's that they can lose to anybody...oh wait, that's supposed to be that they can beat anybody.

Damn, could be a long month...

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#7 jess
March 08 2010, 05:23PM
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I hate that we play Vancouver last. I just hate the Sedins. Except that year when Iginla scored his 50th against Vancouver. I was there. Epic.

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#8 Greg
March 09 2010, 09:10AM
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Maybe it's the back-to-back 5 goal outputs, but I've suddenly got a good feeling about the home-stretch. Although, wouldn't it be ironical if Boyd scores the game winner in the Pred's last game of the season and eliminates the Flames?

Biggest game of the season thus far tonight!

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