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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

The 2017 Playoff Chase: All about seeding

The 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs begin on Wednesday night. We know the eight teams who will represent the Western Conference. There could be some movement in the standings, but for the most part we know who will probably play each other.

With three days left in the regular season, let’s check out the state of the races (such as they are).

WHERE THINGS SIT

Chicago: They have 108 points. They’re locked into first place in the Central and will play the second wildcard team.

Minnesota: They have 104 points. They’re locked into second place in the Central and will play the third place team.

St. Louis: They have 95 points. They’re a point up on Nashville for third place in the Central and have a game in hand. They’ll probably finish in third place.

Anaheim: They have 103 points and lead the Pacific. If they get a point on Sunday against the Kings, they’ll win the Pacific. If the Oilers fail to win their two remaining games, the Ducks win the Pacific. In other words: they probably win the Pacific.

Edmonton: They have 99 points, are in second in the Pacific and two games left. If they win their two remaining games and Anaheim loses in regulation to the Kings on Sunday, the Oilers finish first. Otherwise, they probably finish second.

San Jose: They have 97 points and are third in the Pacific. If the Oilers lose their two remaining games and the Sharks beat the Flames on Saturday, then the Sharks finish second. Otherwise, they finish third.

Calgary: They have 94 points and are in the first wildcard spot. They’re ahead of Nashville by virtue of their regulation/overtime win tiebreaker. If they beat San Jose on Saturday, or Nashville loses in regulation, then they’ll finish in the first wildcard.

Nashville: They have 94 points and are in the second wildcard spot. If they get more points on Saturday than the Flames do then they’ll finish in the first wildcard. Otherwise? They stay in the second spot.

FLAMES FIRST ROUND OPPONENTS

Via Sports Club Stats, the percentage chances of Calgary facing a particular team next week:

  • Anaheim: 55.5% – If Anaheim finishes first in the Pacific (via beating LA or Edmonton not winning twice) AND Calgary finishes in first wildcard (via beating San Jose or Nashville losing to Winnipeg)
  • Chicago: 35.6% – If Calgary finishes in the second wildcard spot (via losing to San Jose)
  • Edmonton: 8.9% – If Edmonton finishes first in the Pacific (via winning out AND Anaheim losing to LA) AND Calgary finishes in the first wildcard spot

PROBABLE FIRST ROUND

Here are the most likely first round matchups in the West as of this morning:

  • Chicago vs. Nashville
  • Minnesota vs. St. Louis
  • Anaheim vs. Calgary
  • Edmonton vs. San Jose
    • Tanner

      I agree with that. Even though I am and will always be a Flames fan, sometimes you have to give the enemy his due. The Oilers are a formidable opponent. If the Flames were to face the Oilers, the Oilers would have a decided advantage up front and in goal. The Flames would get the edge on the blue line, but, even there, I think the Oilers have better depth. I still think Chicago represents the West. However, that’s an easy pick. It could be the Oilers. They are a darn good hockey club.

      • everton fc

        I don’t think a lot of these teams in the West want to face either Alberta squad. But in defence of our Flames, they are playing with a fair, balanced bit of swagger these days. Elliott is also on his game. And the finalization (finally!) of a valid, respectable, and somewhat dangerous 3rd line gives us four lines that are all above average. The biggest obstacle for the Flames is a road win in Anaheim; if our boys can break that slump, I have a very good feeling we get past Anaheim.

      • A-Mc

        Oiler Fan here: When it comes to Calgary, they have always had a stick-to-it-ness about them that allows them to get up on ANY team in the nhl. Even if another squad is technically their superior on paper, CGY seems to find ways to pull out a W if they want it badly enough; they are like a perpetual wildcard, where you never really know what you’re going to get. For this reason, i can’t count out calgary against any opponent and if they aren’t playing the Oilers in the first round, i will be cheering for CGY because i really REALLY want that BoA roadtrip.

        GL to the flames! I can’t wait to see how things line up come sunday night =D

      • Legend of Weevil

        The Oilers have more depth??? Hahahaha what are you smoking? Mcdavid is incredible and Talbot is great. Anything can happen in the playoffs. But the Oilers have the worst depth of any team on the playoffs

    • RedMan

      you think the Oilers, with their lack of depth, suspect defense, and o playoff experience with all the youngsters, is going to make it past the first round? hey, might as well be excited and drink the koolaid, enjoy the ride.

  • class1div1

    I wouldn’t be surprised by any of the 8 teams in the west coming out on top. Chicago has the advantage, but the rest are pretty close, and all it will take is a hot goalie.

  • Newbietwo

    If I was able to choose I would go with Chicago fornus to face first instead of Anaheim.. First because I think physically we match up better and we can match their speed.

    When it comes to Anaheim my concern are their forwards.. They are good in the middle and their three lines have really effective scoring wingers.. do some of those wingers lack shut down yes but I’m concerned we head into playboffs and the 3M line ain’t scoring like before. It’s a toss up I know because Crawford you get on the one end

  • The Sultan

    I’m thinking if Bennett played on a like with Monahan or Gaudreau or even Backlund and Frolik, plus power play time, his point totals would be a lot higher. Considering he has 13 goals and 13 assists while playing a third/fourth line role, as a center, at the age of 20 in only his second full season in the league, I think he’s actually doing pretty well for himself.

    Not saying Leon Draisaitl is worse, because he’s having an outstanding season, but he’s playing first-line minutes, with favourable zone starts and ample power play time, oh and is being centered (the position Leon was supposed to play) by a generational player in McDavid.

    I’m not ready to give up on Bennett and I’m sure now that’s he’s got some capable line mates, he’s going to be a difference maker on the playoffs. These kids have experience, if only a few games. They know what to expect and what it takes. And Gio. Gotta do it for Gio who hasn’t seen post-season hockey in a decade, or in other words the entire time Edmonton was rebuilding.

    • Burning Ring of Fire

      Completely agree. He’s going to be a great, well-rounded player. Would like to see him with MT as well. If Janko comes through as a strong two-way centre we’ll be set at that position for years to come.

    • Jakethesnail

      Don’t even try to compare him to Draisaitl! That ship has sailed. Oilers fans used to say the same about Yakupov. Why doesn’t he get good line mates . Quit playing him with grinders.Earn your time with better players!!! Nail Bennett needs to do the same.

  • I’m quite surprised to read so many Flames fans stating that the Flames have more depth than the Oilers. Over the past week, I have read a few comments that even said that the Flames have greater depth at every position. The Flames have done an amazing job of finding ways to beat teams that look better on paper (like the Kings) so the Flames are obviously doing something right. This comment is not a troll. I would really like to hear what the Flames have that lead many fans to believe that they have greater depth at defense, forward, and goaltending. Please explain. (and hopefully see you in round 1… although unlikely, it is still possible)

  • Spartachris

    Don’t just look at the win record, plus we have 2 more games to win while you will probably lose to the sharks tonight. You have 32 regulation losses to our 26. You do well 3 on 3 with 9 wins to save your skin, but there is no 3 on 3 in the playoffs. Like I said, if it was not for your desperation third period come backs you would not even be close to a playoff spot.

  • RedMan

    Let’s see…
    Flames and Oilers have played the same teams, the same amount of times.
    Flames have 45 wins, Oilers have 45 wins.
    But for some reason, this is a bad indicator for one team but not the other??? OK, I get it. Thanks for the genius insights… you look so smart and grown up!