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The 2018 Playoff Chase: Post-deadline blues

When we last checked in on the playoff chase, we noted that the Calgary Flames needed to get some traction in the standings. They didn’t seem to get the memo, basically running in place since last week. Unfortunately, seemingly everybody else made up ground and their postseason odds are gradually worsening.

Let’s take a quick look at who’s alive, who’s dead, and who’s somewhere in between.

Where they stand

(Sorted by points percentage.)

Team
GP
W
Pts
Pct. ROW
Div
Chances % Change
Predators 63 40 89 .706 35 CEN 100% +0.1%
Golden Knights 63 41 87 .690 39 PAC 100% none
Jets 63 37 83 .659 35 CEN 99.9% +0.4%
Wild 64 36 79 .617 33 CEN 90.8% +16.4%
Sharks 65 35 79 .607 31 PAC 86.1% +7.3%
Stars 64 36 77 .602 32 CEN 79.5% +3.0%
Kings 65 36 77 .592 34 PAC 89.0% +11.5%
Avalanche 63 34 73 .579 33 CEN 46.8% +7.8%
Ducks 64 31 74 .578 27 PAC 50.0% -13.7%
Blues 65 35 74 .569 32 CEN 29.8% -28.6%
Flames 65 32 73 .561 30 PAC 28.0%
-4.9%
Blackhawks 64 27 62 .484 26 CEN 0.1% -0.1%
Oilers 64 27 58 .453 24 PAC 0.0% none
Canucks 64 24 56 .438 24 PAC 0.0% none
Coyotes 63 19 48 .381 18 PAC 0.0% none

(Chances courtesy Sports Club Stats.)

Minnesota’s surge in the last week is probably enough that they can coast the rest of the way. They join Vegas, Winnipeg and Nashville in the “in” group. That probably ties up all three Central divisional spots and one Pacific spot.

On the other end, Calgary and St. Louis basically have zero margin for error now. Everybody else can afford a couple losses and still survive, but those two teams really need to string points together in order to stay with the pack. But within the pack, there’s standings chaos as many teams fight for two Pacific spots and two wild card spots.

The Flames are four points back of the Kings for the last divisional spot and one point back of the Ducks for the last wild card spot.

This past week

The Flames beat Colorado 5-1 on Saturday, then lost to Dallas 2-0 on Tuesday and to Colorado 5-2 on Wednesday.

This coming week

The Flames host the NY Rangers on Friday, then head east to Pittsburgh on Monday and to Buffalo on Wednesday.

  • Eggs Bennett

    They HAVE to beat the depleted Rangers and Sabres, no excuses. Pittsburg is also vulnerable with their own AHL tandem in net. Win the next 3 and then let’s re-evaluate.

  • Derzie

    Points are always what people look at. Incorrectly. The odds represent the whole picture: who they play, how many teams are ahead of them, games in hand, etc. Gaining one point on one team is easy. Gaining 1 on every team you need to get a ahead of over the remaining games is really hard.

  • FL🔥MES

    We really need to get back into the wildcard spot so that we can stomp on Vegas in the first round. And herein lies the problem with squeaking into the playoffs….damned if we do damned it we don’t. #!%!

  • Justthateasy

    Keep losing while the competition keeps winning! That’s a good recipe!
    It’s just as well. They say summer is just around the corner so we can start to enjoy it instead of watching hockey.
    What is really depressing is that not only we have no playoffs; we have no draft lottery. Smart move.

  • Armchair genius

    This team is, and has been, for the last ten years a middling team. Time to blow the thing up and start over. What’s the point of drafting at 16 year after year with the same results? Remember the definition of insanity! Now, you can all hollar troll, and scoff at the team to the north, but that’s not really the point, is it!

    • FL🔥MES

      There’s no reason to blow up the roster – that would be counterproductive. We have a strong core with some prospects ready to make the leap. This year is painful but I don’t expect next year to be once a few ‘changes’ have been made 😉

    • Cfan in Van

      I won’t call you a troll, or bring Edmonton into it, but I will call you out for a dumb idea. If you don’t think there are any pieces on this team that are worth keeping, then you aren’t a fan, and don’t watch the games objectively.
      Yeah, lets start from scratch and take another decade to build back up, without any guarantees that it’ll get any better. It’s not like we would get preferential expansion treatment like Vegas and Seattle..

      • cberg

        I would agree, however we do need some significant and bold moves:
        1/ fire GG, buyout Brouwer, do not re-sign any UFAs.
        2/ new coaches, new system with focus on speed, relentless attack both O & D
        3/ get a dynamic 1c, using Brodie/ D prospects for trade. Move Monahan to 1RW.
        4/ trade our 5D

    • oilcanboyd

      Point is, your a troll…oil with 12 years of getting primo drafting positions and getting the saviour still suck…still looking for 6 Wingers, a Numer Goalie, 4 Top Notch D-men instead of the crap they have now…well good luck with that, you can’t pay much in the UFA market because of the top 2 contracts and no trade assets! And theats the point I would make to all trolls! Oilers need to blow up their team. OMG!

      • ThisBigMouthIsRight

        No Kidding… Esp since Everyone Knows you have to pay+30%(of their worth) to any player just so they would consider Playing for the Coilers.
        Deadmonton will be a 2 pony show(for 10 years) with a weak supporting crew of Castoffs, Reclamation Projects, Last Gasp players and of course High (Before they are ready) Draft picks… What a Way to Run a team…

  • RKD

    Fire Glen Gulutzan he is an immature coach and his leadership is making our team immature, other coaches would get much more out of our players. Our top guys are having great season because they are great players, not because of GG, his player usage and systems are just awful.

  • Off the wall

    The only hope we have is getting the last Wildcard spot. Fat chance we have to get within top 3 of the Pacific.

    However, I think Colorado is going to be 8th seed. They have 2 games in hand and have been playing better lately.

    Avalanche are 5-4-1 last 10
    Anaheim is 6-2-2 last 10
    Flames are 4-5-1 last 10

    Anaheim has a harder schedule going down the stretch. So does Colorado.

    Mike Smith hasn’t played since February 11 against the Islanders.
    Out of 9 games since his injury, our #2 goalie’s have won 2 games.Its difficult to ask for our young goalies to carry us down the stretch.
    With no word on Smiths return, we going to sink faster than a boulder trying to tread water.

    I hate to say it, but I believe our season went down with M. Smith.

    I’ll enjoy every game we win, however my expectations are about the same as our percentage of making postseason.

    • Cfan in Van

      Live by Mike Smith, die by Mike Smith. I feel bad for the guy, since he propped us up for so long, only to likely not get his long awaited crack at the post season. Can’t say he didn’t try.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    lol, yeah because the Flames are only going to lose 5(max) of their next 17 games…. Sorry but Mr. “I Play For The Tie” or I Love .500 Hockey… Is not going to get this team to a win % even close to the Flames Getting there! esp if the Officiating continues like the past two games! Stajan might get his Silver Stick when all is said and done, But I think the League has a Nice Silver Fork ready for the Flames. I guess we’ll see.(I Really Hope I’m Wrong)…

  • buts

    We haven’t a snowballs chance in hell of doing any damage IF we make the playoffs, where we sit in the standings is on BT for not being proactive to the gong show behind the bench and installing either a interim or permanent coach. I guess that would be admitting a mistake which would be to hard on BT’s ego.

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      BT can be loyal to a fault, besides the “Corsi” stats always kept pointing that the Flames should have a better record… But Corsi dosen’t include poor player usage and other important(and usually poor) Coaching decisions(Play for the tie boys)…

  • Alberta Ice

    Bottom line: The Flames have to play better and smarter. Wow, officiating has gone to the world of bad calls to non-calls to ‘was that really that really the call?’ Every game is an adventure that way; but nonetheless, shake it off and play with some brains and determination. (As much as I love Tkachuk, that had to be one of the dumbest penalties ever- sitting on another player forever; can’t do that in such an important game. And don’t get me going on the Hamonic non-call or the Gaudreau ‘was that really the call’?)

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Can’t help but think if we miss the playoffs GG will get the axe. Need to do it right away after the season ends so when the good coaches shake loose (Quenville, Vingeault), we’ll be ready.

  • Trevy

    The one thing I remember when Sutter first started coaching the Flames was when he stated that first and foremost, this team needs to establish an identity. Hartley tried as well in declaring this would be a fast paced, offense driven team. Now that GG’s in place, this team feels like it’s gone astray. He’s been behind the bench for almost 2 yrs now and is still tinkering with lines and player usage. There seems to be no structure and it’s painfully evident in their inconsistency this whole season. Sadly, Elliott Friedman proclaimed that if the Flames don’t make the playoffs, that he would be surprised if GG got fired. He then added that BT would be safe and to look for a major move to shake things up. I hope Elliott is very surprised at the end of the season if the Flames don’t make it. This team needs a new voice to lead this bunch and establish a true identity

  • Cheeky

    Nice article Ryan. If this was the 14-15 Flames (even the 15-16) I’d have faith, however this “roll over and die” version of a team lead by this amateur coaching staff, I have no faith…#nextyear