The 2017 Playoff Chase: a jam-packed race

Welcome to the fourth week of our Western Conference playoff race coverage. The Calgary Flames haven’t played a ton of hockey since our last update, but the jostling around by other Western clubs has made things simultaneously more confusing and a bit clearer.

Let’s check out the race.

WHERE THEY STAND

Team
GP
W
Pts
Pct
ROW
Div
Chances % Change
Wild 50 33 71 .710 31 CEN 100% none
Sharks 52 33 68 .654 31 PAC 100% up 0.2%
Blackhawks 53 31 67 .632 29 CEN 99.1% down 0.3%
Ducks 52 28 65 .625 26 PAC 98.1% up 0.4%
Oilers 53 28 64 .604 25 PAC 98.7% down 1.0%
Predators 51 25 58 .569 23 CEN 86.0% down 3.1%
Kings 51 26 56 .549 25 PAC 86.7% up 7.2%
Blues 51 25 55 .539 24 CEN 62.0% down 4.5%
Flames 53 26 55 .519 24 PAC 31.0% up 5.0%
Jets 54 25 54 .500 23 CEN 20.2% up 7.1%
Canucks 51 23 52 .510 19 PAC 7.0% down 7.8%
Stars 52 21 52 .500 21 CEN 11.3% down 3.2%
Coyotes 50 16 38 .380 12 PAC 0.0% was 0.0
Avalanche 48 13 28 .292 13 PAC 0.0% was 0.0

(Chances courtesy Sports Club Stats.)

The Flames head into the weekend ninth in the conference in points – technically they’re tied with the Blues, but lose the tie-breaker based on playing more games – and 10th in points percentage. That said, everyone has around 30 games left to go so there’s a lot of hockey left to be played.

Here’s the basic deal with the West: Minnesota, San Jose, Chicago, Anaheim and Edmonton are all virtual locks. Then there are three spots being fought for by six teams: Nashville, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver. Dallas has an outside shot, but they’ve got a lot of teams to climb over.

Everybody in the chase for the three remaining spots has games in hand on the Flames. That’ll last another week and then disappear, as the Flames have their CBA-mandated bye week after their upcoming road trip. Expect things to get a lot clearer in the next couple of weeks as teams burn off their games in hand and either climb over the Flames or stay below them.

If the playoffs began today, the Flames would be golfing.

THIS PAST WEEK

The Flames only played once this past week due to a combination of a light schedule and the All-Star Break. They beat Minnesota in a very nice effort against a potential playoff opponent.

THIS COMING WEEK

The Flames play three games between now and next Friday. They’re in New Jersey to play the Devils on Friday, in Manhattan to play the Rangers on Sunday afternoon and in Pittsburgh to play the Penguins on Tuesday night. After that, they’re off for six days as part of the NHL’s mandated bye week.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      Saying any team is a lock is foolhardy. Sure, they have 9 points more than the Blues with 2 more games played, with the exact same number of ROW. They have also lost two in a row.

      We all know too much how easy it is to go on a losing streak, especially when you don’t have a reliable backup.

      Oilers Tonight? Rock you like a Hurricane.

  • Thunder1

    Four dates at home and eight away from the Dome in February. The boys better be looking good in their road silks or they’ll be changing addresses and booking golf games by the end of this month.

  • Prototype369

    I’m not sure what to blame, by the schedule this year for the flames has been stupid. I understand divisional games at the end of the season make hockey meaningful, but we’re playing 3 teams in our last 6 games, all of which are divisional rivals better than us. At the start of the season, we played the oilers twice in back to back, and then the Canucks. Then we didn’t see the oilers again until January where we played them twice within a week.

    My first problem with that is these should not have been clumped so closely together. It would have been better to play the oilers once a month, so that the BOA lasted longer. And secondly, even if we have to play divisional rivals only at the end, it should have been only one against each.

    The second problem, it will take the flames until mid February to have the same amount of games played as everyone else in the conference. Any time we surge ahead in standings, I’m always looking over the shoulder because the blues, preds and kings have more games in hand.

  • redwhiteblack

    Not about a cup this year, but it would be fun to see the talented young guys catch fire and get good tending. Get a round in the playoffs.

    In the off season we walk out of some bad contracts and have more options to build with smart signings.

    The heat overall not looking great, but hoping someone comes up and plays well enough to bode for say 2 spots next year. We still need to build from within.

  • Parallex

    This is the way I figure it… it’ll be either us or the Blues getting in. The top 5 teams would have to REALLY fall off to not make the dance and I don’t think the Kings are gonna get worse when Quick is cleared to play. Fortunately I think Hitchcock is a better coach then Yeo so we may have gotten some help there.

    I (and many others) said that we saw the Flames as a bubble team this year and that’s what they are right now and will likely continue to be. Only thing left to figure out is whether they’ll be just inside the bubble or just outside.

    GFG

  • Arminius

    “If the playoffs began today the Flames would be golfing” (and drafting a very Calgary Flamesish 9th or 10th. Yawn.)

    The joys of being a Flames fan! *sad trombone*

    RISE UP!

  • Deef

    Cant feel comfortable with their chances.
    Too many teams with games in hand that are very likely playing themselves down the stretch.

    Ill feel more comfortable if the Flames are still in after their bye week.

  • Brodano12

    We are currently 9th in pts%. As long as we outpace or stay on pace with Winnipeg and Vancouver, all we need to do is steal a spot from either LA or St. Louis.

    It’s a tall order, with Winnipeg heating up and LA/St. Louis being very good teams as well. However… we play LA 4 times in the final stretch of games. FOUR TIMES. If we win 3 or 4 of those games, it gives us 4-8 points compared to LA. Then we just need to keep pace with with them in the other games and we are a lock for the wildcard spot.

    Those LA games are going to be playoff like, much like the games against them in late season of 2015 when we committed regicide. Time for round 2!

  • McRib

    I don’t understand how Winnipeg will likely miss the playoffs again this year or isn’t a lock for that matter even if they do sneak in.. Paul Maurice is a great interview, but he just hasn’t gotten it done with that roster. I know goaltending is partly to blame, but that roster is so stacked with young talent and some underrated veterans (Wheeler, Little, etc) I just don’t think you can point solely to goaltending.