The Flames are off today, but there’s definitely some scoreboard watching to be done this evening as the Western Conference’s playoff picture continues to evolve.
Here’s what’s going down tonight.
Calgary helped themselves greatly by beating the Jets in regulation last night, but the Oilers also did the Flames a solid by beating the Sharks in a lengthy shootout. So thanks, Rob Klinkhammer, wherever you are!
- At 5pm MT, the Los Angeles Kings (54 points) visit the Washington Capitals, following their White House visit yesterday. The Kings are five points back of Calgary and hold two games in hand. The Capitals have 60 points.
- At 6pm MT, the Minnesota Wild (52 points) host the Chicago Blackhawks. The Wild did Calgary a solid by beating Vancouver on Sunday and they’re on a roll. But they are seven points – and four or five teams – back of Calgary, even with two games in hand, and are facing a really good Chicago team.
- In a game everyone hopes ends in regulation, Jarome Iginla’s Colorado Avalanche (53 points) visit the Dallas Stars (also 53 points) at 6:30pm MT. Both teams are six back of Calgary. Dallas has two games in hand, while Colorado has just one. It doesn’t matter who wins here as long as it’s in regulation, really.
- And finally, at 8pm MT, the Winnipeg Jets (60 points) get back at it, using up their game in hand when they visit the Vancouver Canucks (57 points). Vancouver has three games in hand on Calgary, because the NHL’s schedule is wacky that way. I believe the best-case here is a Vancouver regulation win, as at least they burn off a game in hand and keep Winnipeg in with the pack. Considering how well/poorly the Jets played in Calgary, a Vancouver win is possible tonight.
Best case scenario(s) for Calgary’s playoff hopes are: Washington win, Chicago win, Colorado win and Vancouver win. These outcomes are also, oddly, a probable scenario.