FGD #80: Two Outta Three Will Work

If the Calgary Flames win two more games, they make the playoffs.

If you had told me that 45 wins would get Calgary into the playoffs, I probably would’ve laughed at you, mostly because I definitely didn’t think that they would win 45 games. But here we are. The next two games are the simplest road to the post-season: beating Arizona drops Calgary’s magic number on both Los Angeles and Winnipeg to 2.5, and then the name of the game is “the path of least resistance,” and Calgary would have two roads to the post-season – via the Kings or Jets being eliminated.

So…yeah. Just win tonight and once more, and things are dandy in FlamesNation.

Puck drop is at 7pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

THE FLAMES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

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With Karri Ramo on the shelf for an indeterminate amount of time, the net belongs to Jonas Hiller from here on out. Hiller is making his 43rd start of the season. He’s 24-19-4 with a 2.40 goals against average and .917 save percentage. Brad Thiessen makes his Flames debut dressing as the back-up.

Healthy extra bodies are Tyler Wotherspoon, Brandon Bollig, Sam Bennett and Drew Shore. Injured bodies are Karri Ramo, Ladislav Smid, Mark Giordano and Paul Byron. Minor line jostling, as Stajan and Mikael Backlund swap around. Like the last time Backlund moved to a different line, it seems like Bob Hartley is trying to use Backlund to get other guys going offensively.

The Flames started off slowly against Edmonton but soon got their legs under them and took the game over. They need to treat this game as a tune-up for Los Angeles and Winnipeg. So, that means that they have to be on them like white on rice from the get-go, rather than gradually getting into the game.

THE COYOTES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

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Mike Smith starts between the pipes for the visitors. He’s making his 59th start of the season. He’s 14-39-5 with a 3.14 goals against average and .904 save percentage. He’s objectively not having a good year, and now his defensive group has been degraded to AHL levels. (And Oliver-Ekman Larsson.)

The Coyotes aren’t a bad team, just one with some serious deficiencies. A lot of their better players are having down years, and it seems like the entire team is just waiting for the season to end so they can go golfing and pray for Connor McDavid (or Jack Eichel or Noah Hanifin).

Basically, they’re a team that’s tailor-made for the Flames to crush as a tune-up for their playoff-style games later in the week.

THE NUMBERS

Calgary Arizona
Wins 43 24
Last Ten 5-3-2 3-7-0
Power Play 19.0% (11th) 20.6% (7th)
Penalty Kill 80.2% (22nd) 77.2% (27th)
Corsi 44.4% (28th) 48.6% (22nd)
Corsi Close 44.9% (28th) 46.7% (25th)
Faceoffs 47.4% (26th) 51.9% (7th)
PDO 101.3 (4th) 97.2 (28th)

THE DRIVE TO 95*

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Well, this graphic has gotten a whole lot simpler to look at lately, as everyone is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs except for these nine teams. Eight will make it.

Calgary’s magic number is 3.5 on both Los Angeles and Winnipeg.

  • Los Angeles plays Edmonton tonight.
  • Winnipeg plays St. Louis tonight.

Both teams are in the back half of back-to-backs.

All Calgary needs to do is win two games and they are probably in.

SUM IT UP

Again, all Calgary needs to do is win two more games and they are probably in the playoffs.

A win tonight means they only need to win one more game.