Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 Playoff Chase: In the thick of it

The Calgary Flames have 24 games remaining on their regular season docket and they find themselves in a familiar position: snug as a bug in the midst of a fevered playoff race. A couple of them, if you want to get technical. Here’s our weekly look into how the Flames are faring in their attempt to qualify for the postseason.

Where they stand

(Sorted by points percentage.)

Pct. ROW
Chances % Change
Golden Knights 57 38 80 .702 36 PAC 100% none
Predators 56 34 77 .688 29 CEN 99.8% +0.2%
Jets 58 34 77 .664 32 CEN 99.4% +1.2%
Stars 58 34 72 .621 30 CEN 85.7% -2.6%
Sharks 58 31 70 .603 28 PAC 76.3% +14.8%
Blues 60 34 72 .600 31 CEN 71.0% -11.9%
Wild 57 31 68 .596 28 CEN 57.6% +11.6%
Flames 58 30 68 .586 28 PAC 58.6%
Avalanche 57 31 66 .579 30 CEN 50.0% -3.3%
Kings 57 30 65 .570 28 PAC 65.8% -22.0%
Ducks 59 28 66 .568 25 PAC 35.6% +2.5%
Blackhawks 58 24 56 .483 24 CEN 0.2% -4.1%
Oilers 56 23 50 .446 21 PAC 0.0% -0.2%
Canucks 58 22 50 .431 22 PAC 0.0% none
Coyotes 58 16 42 .362 15 PAC 0.0% none

(Chances courtesy Sports Club Stats.)

Let’s go from the top:

Vegas has first place in the Pacific locked down. In the Central Division, it’s a safe bet that Nashville, Winnipeg, Dallas and St. Louis will get in. (Well, barring big slides.) That eats up three divisional spots and one wild card spot.

Thus, the Flames are in a five-horse race with Minnesota, Colorado, San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim for one wild card spot and a simultaneous four-horse race with San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim for two divisional spots. Simply due to the numbers game, the divisional road is probably the easier path into the postseason.

This past week

The Flames won two of their three games this week. They beat the NY Islanders and Nashville, but lost to Boston. Their wins were close games, their loss wasn’t.

This coming week

The locals have four games this week: they host Florida tonight and Boston on Monday afternoon, then it’s back-to-backs on the road with Vegas on Wednesday and Arizona on Thursday.

  • Calgarycandle

    As I analyze it, the schedule favors the Flames. They need to win 14 games of their remaining 24 for 96 points. They play 8 of these games against clear sellers: Florida, Arizona (3), Buffalo, Ottawa, Rangers, Edmonton (yes I know their recent record against Edmonton). Win all these winnable games and that takes them to 84 points and they need to play less than .500 6/16 against some more formidable competition like Pittsburgh, Ottawa and San Jose, Anaheim. It seems very doable.

    My greater anxiety is Edmonton winning the race to the bottom. They have 50 points. The only team clearly behind them is Arizona with 42. Ottawa has 49, Buffalo 45 and Van 50. From what I understand there the top four draft prospects are NHL ready. I certainly don’t want their incompetence to be rewarded with Dahlin or baby Byng. I hope they finish at least fifth worst.

    • Mickey O

      Dallas goes through California coming up and they’ve been playing great recently. Let’s hope they can get a couple of wins out west.

      St. Louis is way off form, and goes to show how points in October are counted the same as points in February. Duh. They banked a lot of points early on.

      The Kings scare me. Say what you want about Phaneuf losing a step, but the Kings just got a second pairing d-man who will play big minutes. They got rid of a very bad contract in Gaborik, and are soon to get Jeff Carter back. Pearson – Carter – Toffoli is an excellent second line.

      The Flames’ schedule in March is actually pretty good, and they control their own destiny. Just keep winning and keep the scoreboard watching for the California teams.

    • aye

      I don’t know if it’s fortunate or unfortunate for the Flames that the SoCal team are pretty much done with each other, only the Ducks and Kings have 1 game left against each other.
      I suppose fortunate since we won’t have to worry about 3-point games between them. Flames have 2 against the Sharks, and 1 each against the Ducks and Kings, so we very much control our own destiny.
      The Sharks appear to have the toughest schedule, since they still have 13 games against the Central division. The positive for them is that 3 of those are against the Hawks, who seems to have decided to chase the Oilers for lottery odds rather than the playoffs. Flames on the other hand only have 4 remaining vs Central, Ducks have 10 including today, and the Kings have 11. So, the Flames definitely have the easier schedule down the stretch.

  • Off the wall

    If we don’t stay within top 3 in our Division, we’re not making the playoffs.

    I sound like a broken record in stating this, but the Central division is too strong for us to try the Wildcard route.

    According to Hockey Reference it has the Flames at 60.4% of making playoffs, which is 8th overall.

    Time for us to put some distance between us and LA and Anaheim.

    • aye

      I don’t know why you think the Central teams are better than the Flames, I feel just the opposite. Although the record suggest otherwise, I feel the Flames are better than the Stars and Wilds, just didn’t quite get the puck luck and had some mental break downs in those games. We’ve played well against NSH in all 3 games, and done good against WPG and STL. COL hasn’t done well without MacKinnon, proof that they still lack depth.

  • Greg

    Crazy that Chicago’s so far back… I never would have predicted they’d be within 6 points of Vancouver this season.

    6 points within Edmonton is less surprising, but where they both sit still is… very, very pleasant surprise though 🙂

    • HOCKEY83

      I would imagine any team would drop in the standings if they lost their number 1 goalie for 2 months. They also lost a point a game guy in Panarin. Not to mention Toews is very quickly becoming the worst 10 mil contract in the league. His game has dropped off drastically. Their top 2 Dmen are also long in the tooth.

      • aye

        Not to mention losing Hossa as well.
        I’m also glad Sharp decided to snub the Flames for the Hawks, I wasn’t all that excited about him coming to Calgary in the first place. Bringing in Jagr was at least fun for the fans.