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
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.