With the Calgary Flames’ loss to the Washington Capitals, they have now played all 32 games they had scheduled against the Eastern Conference. They are officially done with the East, barring a Stanley Cup Final appearance, which would be both pretty cool and extremely unlikely.
For the Flames – and any Western team, really – games against the East are meaningful in so far as acquiring two points. Giving up a loser point to a team from a different conference means nothing, really. So while competition can still range from chippy to highly emotional, there isn’t really quite as much on the line. Compare it to a traditional geographical rival, like the Battle of Alberta, or even just the idea of competing for a playoff spot (hi, Los Angeles) or seeding, and it’s not quite the same.
That said, a season’s worth of games played against an entire conference should still be taken into account. So without further adieu, here’s how the Flames stacked up against the East.
- Record: 18-13-1
Calgary swept Detroit (out of the playoffs), Florida (out of the playoffs), Ottawa (contending for home ice), and Pittsburgh (contending for President’s Trophy). Pittsburgh is the eyebrow-raiser here, but hey, no complaints; they even swept the Penguins last season, too. The Penguins are the only East team the Flames faced in the shootout this season; they won it both times.
They were swept by the Rangers and the Capitals. Three of those four games were one-goal games (excluding an empty netter), with the first loss to New York being a 4-1 drubbing back before the Flames started to find their footing.
The one overtime loss came against the Islanders, who they subsequently dominated when they met up again months later.
That leaves nine teams they evenly split the season series with: Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus, Montreal, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, and Toronto.
- Goals for: 89
The Flames have scored 199 goals this season, so approximately 45% of their goals thus far have come against the East. That number will obviously go down, unless they’re shut out the next nine games, which probably will not happen.
- Goals against: 87
The Flames have given up 195 goals this season, so once again, approximately 45% of the goals scored against them have come from the East. That number will also obviously go down, unless the Flames shut everyone out from here on out, which would be as awesome as much as it’s not gonna happen.
- Goal differential: +2
The Flames have only recently garnered a positive goal differential, spending most of this season in the red instead. The East has handed them a couple of bad losses – 4-0 and 5-1 swings through Toronto and Montreal come to mind – but then again, the Flames did beat those teams 3-0 and 5-0 over the course of the season as well, so it all evens out.
On aggregate, the Flames beat six East teams in goal differential: Detroit, Florida, Montreal, the Islanders, Ottawa, and Pittsburgh. They lost to seven: Boston, Buffalo, Columbus, the Rangers, Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Washington. They broke even with three: Carolina, New Jersey, and Philadelphia.
- Points: 37
So far this season, the Flames have collected 86 points. That’s 43% of their points so far from 44% of their games, which is pretty good, all things considered – especially as they’re likely to pick up more points, and the games against the East will ultimately make up about 39% of their schedule.
The Flames have just three games remaining against the Central Division, followed by six against the Pacific. So far they’ve collected 24 points against the Central (28% over the course of 25% of their season to date), and 25 against the Pacific (29% over the course of 32% of their season to date). If they’ve gone wrong against any division it’s their own, with their primary culprits being getting swept by the Oilers and leaving points on the table against the Canucks – though a strong closing against the California teams could help rectify that.