Welcome to the fifth week of our Western Conference playoff race coverage. The Calgary Flames are on a break. Unlike Ross and Rachel on Friends, this is a regularly scheduled break in the hefty NHL schedule that every team gets and isn’t something for us to debate. As a result of the Flames’ bye, expect the standings to change quite a bit over the next seven days,
Let’s check out the race as we begin the weekend!
WHERE THEY STAND
The Flames head into the weekend ninth in the Western Conference by either commonly-used measure – points or points percentage. They’re basically in the same situation they were a week ago, though the playoff picture has simplified around them.
There are basically nine teams fighting for eight playoff spots right now. Minnesota, Chicago, San Jose, Anaheim and Edmonton are pretty much locks. St. Louis, Nashville, Los Angeles and Calgary are vying for the three remaining spots. Winnipeg, Vancouver and Dallas are in “win or fall entirely out of the picture” territory, while Arizona and Colorado are flat-out done.
If the playoffs began today, the Flames would be golfing.
THIS PAST WEEK
The Flames won two of their three games since last Friday, and they played pretty well in all three games. They beat New Jersey (in overtime) and Pittsburgh (in a shootout), and narrowly lost in regulation to the New York Rangers.
THIS COMING WEEK
The Flames play twice in the next week. They play Monday against Arizona and Wednesday against Philadelphia, with both games taking place at home.
As for the teams the Flames are chasing?
- St. Louis (one game in hand, two points up) plays three games against Montreal, Detroit and Vancouver.
- Nashville (two games in hand, one point up) plays twice against Florida and Dallas.
- Los Angeles (one game in hand, one point up) plays just once, against Arizona, as they too have their bye week this week.