April 01 2010 03:02PM
It's not an April Fools Day joke. The Calgary Flames really are back in this thing, and they really could be tied for a playoff spot come Saturday morning. But that assumes they go out and play the type of hockey they need to, which hasn't been a guarantee this season. Let's see what's going on here and elsewhere.
On the Homefront
Calgary travels to Denver today ahead of a crucial matchup Friday against the Colorado Avalanche (7:30 pm, Sportsnet and The FAN 960). The Flames find themselves with 87 points, 2 back of the final playoff spot with 5 games remaining.
Calgary held an optional skate Thursday morning. The only players to attend were Jarome Iginla, Eric Nystrom, Brett Sutter, Nigel Dawes and Adam Pardy. Most were surprised to see #12 out there, as it's rare for him to take part in an optional. He was asked if that was to set the tone for the rest of the team. Iginla said he just felt like he needed to get some reps in on the ice in a less structured setting.
No word on any lineup changes, so the expectation is status quo in terms of what you'll see from the last 2 games.
Calgary's Elimination Number remains 4.
Behind Enemy Lines
Nashville - Lets start near the top, and the 5th place Preds. Nashville has 94 points with just 4 games remaining this season, they're at home to the St. Louis Blues. The Preds are an interesting one, with so few games left in comparison, some believe they might be a team to slip a little. Currently, their Magic Number is 2.
Detroit - The 6th place Red Wings are at home to Columbus tonight. Detroit has 93 points and 40 wins with 6 games remaining this season. They've also won 6 consecutive games. The Magic Number for Detroit is 3.
Los Angeles - With LA's win on Tuesday night, the Kings got to 92 points and now sit 7th with 6 games remaining in their season. It was a crucial win for the Kings, who snapped an ill-timed 3 game losing skid and decreased their Magic Number to 3.
Colorado - The Avalanche will play Friday night, sitting 8th in the Western Conference with 6 games remaining in their season. The Avs sit 2 up on Calgary with 89 points. At this point, their Magic Number directly corresponds to Calgary's Elimination Number…both remain at 4.
St. Louis - The Blues still have slim playoff hopes, sitting 10th with 83 points. St. Louis will likely not have the tiebreak when it comes to wins on either Calgary or Colorado, which means they'll need more points to earn a berth. With that taken into account, the Elimination Number for St. Louis is 3.
Could be some very interesting movement following tonight's action, but lets be honest. We're all focused on tomorrow in Denver.