(Neville E. Guard / USA Today Sports)
Welcome to the eighth week of our Western Conference playoff race coverage. Over the past couple of weeks, the Calgary Flames have gone from the playoff fringes to the meat of the race. It’s been a stunning reversal of fortunes. Similarly, some of their potential playoff rivals have enjoyed a reversal in the other direction.
Let’s check out the race as we begin the weekend!
WHERE THEY STAND
The Flames head into the weekend seventh in points and in points percentage. They’re defending a playoff spot, and have considerably more breathing room than they’ve had at any point this season.
Meanwhile, the Blues and Kings continue to slide down the standings at the worst time of year to be doing so. At this point, Calgary is fighting with Nashville, Los Angeles and St. Louis for a wildcard spot (and currently hold down the first wildcard relatively comfortably)…
…but they’ve also quietly crept up on Edmonton and Anaheim for a divisional playoff spot. Yep, a team that was bad enough in October that a good chunk of the hockey world wrote them off is fighting for a divisional playoff spot. The primary race we’re following is the wildcard one, since that’s the one that ultimately determines their survival, but we’ll also start keeping an eye on Calgary potentially catching the Oilers and Ducks.
If the playoffs began today, the Flames would be playing San Jose.
THIS PAST WEEK
The Flames swept the three games they’ve played over the past week, beating Florida, Carolina and Los Angeles.
THIS COMING WEEK
The Flames play three times before next Friday, all at home. They host Detroit on Friday, the NY Islanders on Sunday and Montreal on Thursday.
As for the teams the Flames are battling with?
- Anaheim (one game in hand, two points up) plays Toronto, Vancouver, Nashville and Chicago.
- Nashville (no games in hand, one point up) plays Montreal, Chicago, Anaheim and Los Angeles.
- St. Louis (two games in hand, five points back) plays Winnipeg, Colorado and Minnesota.
- Los Angeles (no games in hand, four points back) plays Vancouver and Nashville.