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Photo Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 Playoff Chase: A tall order

When last we checked in on the races, the Calgary Flames were hitting the skids. Well, they’ve finally gotten some points and are stringing together some good games. But the clock is ticking and they face an uphill battle to make the playoffs.

Here’s our weekly snapshot of the Western Conference’s playoff race.

Where they stand

(Sorted by points percentage.)

Team
GP
W
Pts
Pct. ROW
Div
Chances % Change
Predators 67 44 97 .724 39 CEN 100% none
Golden Knights 67 43 91 .679 41 PAC 100% none
Jets 67 41 91 .679 39 CEN 100% +0.1%
Wild 67 38 83 .619 35 CEN 92.3% +1.5%
Sharks 67 36 81 .604 32 PAC 84.6% -1.5%
Stars 67 37 80 .597 33 CEN 72.5% -7.0%
Kings 67 37 79 .590 35 PAC 86.3% -2.7%
Ducks 68 34 80 .588 30 PAC 69.6% +19.6%
Avalanche 67 35 78 .582 34 CEN 55.1% +8.3%
Blues 67 35 75 .560 32 CEN 19.6% -10.2%
Flames 68 33 76 .559 31 PAC 19.9%
-8.1%
Blackhawks 68 29 66 .485 28 CEN 0.0% -0.1%
Oilers 67 29 62 .462 25 PAC 0.0% none
Canucks 67 25 59 .440 25 PAC 0.0% none
Coyotes 66 21 53 .402 20 PAC Out Eliminated

(Chances courtesy Sports Club Stats.)

Nashville, Vegas, Winnipeg and Minnesota are functionally in. The Sharks and Kings have the inside track on the two remaining Pacific Division spots based on points percentage. Dallas, Anaheim, Colorado, St. Louis and Calgary are duking it out for two wild card spots.

The Flames are three points back of Los Angeles for the last wild card spot and four points back of Anaheim for the last Pacific Division spot.

This past week

The Flames lost to the NY Rangers in regulation, lost to Pittsburgh in overtime, then walloped Buffalo in regulation.

This coming week

The Flames play three times before next Friday: they visit Ottawa on Friday, then host the NY Islanders on Sunday and Edmonton on Wednesday.

  • The GREAT WW

    At this point I would just be happy if we finish far away from the draft lottery so that the Hamonic trade doesn’t bite us in a big way……and GG and company are released asap…..

    WW

  • Orrwasbest

    The Flames need to win 6 out of their next 7 to have a chance. Not likely but if they play like they did in Buffalo ever minute of every game they could do it. I do buy lottery tickets too.

    • JMK

      I was saying they needed 11 points out of next 7 before Buffalo. So I’d be happy with 9 points in next 6 games. Puts them on 85 points with 8 games left and puts enough pressure on the California teams who they play 3 times in a row. Darren Haynes had an interesting article and proposed 92 points might be enough to reach playoffs, but I don’t share his same optimism, yet.

  • JMK

    Tonight leaves another dilemma, to cheer for Dallas or Anaheim. And then tomorrow St Louis or LA. I still think it’s better to see teams in our division lose, but the wildcard will be easier to hit.

  • Rockmorton65

    I’ll never cheer against this team, but part of me wonders if it’s in the teams best interest to miss the playoffs this year. Could be like déjà vu this year. Go on a miracle run and squeak in, only to lose in the first round. After all, isn’t that one of the main reasons GG is still the coach?

    If the Flames missed the playoffs last year and are on the outside again this year, you’d have to think he’d be on the hot seat. Instead we could have a scenario where GG & co squeaks us into the playoffs two years in a row, only to be bounced in the first round. Management might be tempted to think we are that “one piece”from being a threat instead of seeing the problem being the structural, um…limitations of GG’s system.

    IMO, best case scenario is that we play well and go on an exciting run, but come up a point or two short. Give the Isles the least favourable draft position we can and sealing GG’s fate.

    • JMK

      I don’t know, not having playoffs or a draft to get excited about doesn’t appeal to me. I think Treliving is already disappointed in teams performance and considering he still sold at 2014/15 trade deadline, it tells me he looks at the full picture and doesn’t run off recency bias. Don’t forget Calgary had a really good record after their dismal start last year and maybe Treliving wanted to give a coach at least 2 years to apply his system. I can’t say who Treliving will take his disappointment out on, but I don’t think GG is safe unless they reach conference finals .

      • Frank the Nose ?

        GG system isn’t perfect but there defensive structure is actually pretty good and players are usaully in the right position . I Remember previous to GG that Flames would be scrambling around out of position .

    • redwhiteblack

      I tend to agree with this scenario being the best case. I always like winning and winning now. But the season this team has had likely means they miss the post season by a point or 3. I would love to see some playoff hockey, but I am concerned that will mean GG stays (and probably Brouwer). So I am ok missing playoffs this year to force the changes required and reset properly for next year. Not happening with this coaching staff this year OR next so “clean it up!”

    • Cfan in Van

      I think this team’s warts are abundantly clear to all involved, and the decisions won’t be any different if we make it or miss it. This team is wildly inconsistent, and has not shown any growth this year over last. There’s no denying that that is unacceptable, and Tre would be the first to admit that.

        • Cfan in Van

          I should clarify: The team results have not improved, despite an increase in possession stats and better goal tending.
          The fact that the top line has posted better numbers across the board is more likely due to them being kept together for a season, and closer to their prime. It has very little to do with any changes that BT has made over the last two years.

    • GetOn'Em

      I think it would be better for the team in the grand scheme of things to miss the playoffs so that the brass takes a long hard look at the team and makes some BIG changes. Such as coaching..is GG really the guy to lead and teach this team? Is BT really making productive choices in his building of this squad? Should BB be involved? Also hopefully they decide to bring in more speed and talent up front and cut loose some dead weight on the backend.

  • Off the wall

    Remember last season when we got in with 94 points? We were 7th overall.

    Not this year. We are in the toughest Conference, with 5 teams battling for 2 spots.
    We need at least 95-96 points to make the last Wildcard spot.

    I hate the Ducks so much. March 21 is the last time we play them. I just hope we beat the snot out of them.
    Kesler, Perry and Getzlost, good riddance stooges..

    • Cfan in Van

      Seriously?? He may be off topic, but he’s the least offensive poster I think we’ve had. That, and his comments add a very light hearted and human aspect, that this type of blog usually lacks.

      If he got banned for being his normal wacky self, I’d consider banning FN.

    • KKisTHEproblem

      That is ridiculous. If he’ll come back, I want him back, he brings a great perspective on things with a light touch. Lucky, please let us all know if he would come back, if allowed to.

      And I am sure we’d all like to know what he was banned for. If it is something stupid, I will gladly leave, too much micro managing on behalf of the easily offended. I luv this place but these things are starting to get on my nerves…

      • GetOn'Em

        That is BS. OTW is a great poster, i enjoy is anecdotes. This forum is going down the toilet..between WW and his delayed response, OTW being banished, and the pop ups..

        • FL?MES

          It’s true, why don’t they ban the pop ups? And why don’t I ever get pop ups on any other site I go to?

          OTW’s comments were refreshing and he added a lot of good hockey input.

          Johnny Sockey is gonna be one mad puppy dog!

      • Lucky 13

        I texted OTW. I can’t repeat everything he said, it was colourful, however he says big thank you to the friends on FN. He loves you all. Then he said, “A Byng hug for everyone “ ??
        Whatever that means.

        Ari, I’m the man in the middle, he says he’s a staunch supporter of you and if he offended you he’s sorry. He will not include anything more about his darling wife, as it sends the wrong message. He adores her.

        Just so you know, I’ve met his wife and they are great people.
        Fun and in love.

        I don’t want to be the guy who’s stuck in this. I love OTW and he’s a character, but he never means any harm. Please reconsider, because I’m pretty sure he’s not going to create a new account just to circumvent FN. That’s not his way.
        Thanks Ari!

        • Stern

          Long time reader, seldom post. I am shocked to learn OTW has been banned. He is always positive. I have never seen him insult a fellow poster. If he disagrees with anyone he does it politely. He is never irrational or contemptuous as some posters often are.
          I very much appreciate the content from our bloggers here at Flamesnation, I know they are dedicated and intelligent people that do way more than required to inform and entertain us. But the posters here contribute so much also…
          OTW often takes the time to put a personal spin on his takes, which opens doors for all of us, makes us feel somewhat like old friends and more willing to actually share thoughts more worthy and warming than the venom and smart assed hate over on oilersnation.
          Maybe that stuff doesn’t belong on a stats and numbers site like this? Ironically, the personal stories and heartfelt takes while commenting, covering and following the flames are what makes me like Ari’s writing so much…
          Please come back, OTW, or I may have to go back to simply staying updated at nhl.com.

          • deantheraven

            My first Flames jersey was #22, but I was a fan of Mike Bullard before Ronnie.
            We’re all die hard Fans. I’m with you on the ‘personal touch’ many posters bring here. it’s what keeps me interested, and smiling, laughing, and posting. I often get numbers fatigue here, and support eye test analysis as much as anecdotal commentary. Free OTW!

  • Honkydonk

    This is coming down to Colorado, Dallas and Calgary from what I can see. All have a game in hand and are points ahead of us.

    If we aren’t up 2 points on these teams in five games I say we are out

    • flames2015

      Avs have lost their last 3 but kept finding ways to tie in the last few mins of the game to bring it to OT. Ugh. Reminds me of 2014 Flames, I think they’ll squeak in. The game against them for us was huge.

  • snotss

    with the way the flames have been playing lately they have put their selves in this mess………I doubt they have what it takes to get into the show……………. recent play etc.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Normally… I would agree but I look at it this way. Everything that could go wrong in the last few weeks has. Top line struggled, Johnny went from 2nd in scoring to 10th. Smith went out with an injury and our AHL tandem was overwhelmed. The third line disappeared. We were losing on the road despite being the better team. I think the Season goes in cycles and we are coming into a hot stretch. Johnny is not going to go 4 games without a point, Monny and Ferland can’t stay cold. The team will ride Smith into the playoffs while correcting their Goal differential.

      It is clear that the Flames are not a well prepared team when it comes to final exams. They start slow, they are inconsistent, they rarely study the right stuff; all this while being instructed by a teacher unable to help them reach their potential. Conversely, they are the type of team that sleeps in before their final exam after staying up all night cramming but somehow pulls off an A to pass the course. It is by no means textbook but works.

  • Snitch

    As pessimistic as I’ve been with this team, I still do believe we have a chance at this. The Flames were very unlucky to not have gotten more points out of the NYR and Pitts games. There’s actually a number of times this year where our fate probably should a have been a little better.

    That said, the Flames need to play desperate hockey over the next 10 games to make it happen. We do need Mike Smith, very few 3 point games for the teams we are fighting with and a little better luck.

    GFG

  • oddclod

    Good old Calgary streak-time baby something to cheer for. Also, GG is dead in the water regardless. You shouldn’t squeak into the playoffs with a defence like Calgary has on paper. You’re up in the top 1/4 of the standings. In other news, Gary Buttman came to town and was not here to talk about the arena other than to massage the narrative about the arena. Apparently the building is too old, loses money and misses out on large concerts. Isn’t that Ken King’s job to be in control of the narrative? Fire the Egoist.

  • The Doctor

    I watched the last half of that LA game last night, hoping they would lose of course. Man they are good defensively. The thing that really blew me away is how aggressive they are in their own zone going after guys, yet they’re somehow able to do that without getting caught out of position. You go into their end and they don’t let you get comfortable at all, they force you to make a decision with the puck in a split second. They seem to often send two guys after the puck carrier, and on TV wasn’t able to figure out how they’re backing that up.

      • Joeyhere

        The bruins / flyers game was another clinic for GG. The bruins with 90 seconds left in a tie game – mix their lines and throw their best five players out – they went for the win and got it. None of this GG “play for a tie” and hold on for dear life garbage

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Could Someone please get a shaman or spiritual cleanser to smudge and remove all the negative energy(bad luck) at the Dome while the team is on this road trip…. Please …
    Hey Jabu… you know anyone that can help with this?
    That would be great Thanks 🙂

  • Stu Cazz

    Hearing the BT blunder of not protecting the 1st overall is viewed by ownership as a bigger screw up than the Feaster offer sheet fiasco. Although I don’t agree me thinks BT is in big trouble depending on how all this works out…..

    • The Doctor

      Personally I’m not upset with who we have in terms of player personnel — I actually like a lot of our assets, except for Brouwer, Stajan, Glass, Bartkowski etc. I’m far more upset with deployment and use of those assets, the bias in favour of slow, stone-handed veterans over faster, more skilled players in Stockton, the deployment of fourth line plugs late in games when we need a goal etc.

      • Raffydog

        If the Flames don’t make the playoffs Tre should be fired, and then his little buddy Gully right after him. Tre is solely responsible for this debacle of a season, he hired the coach, he made the trades, he signed all the dead weight we so often complain about. I’m no fan of GG, but look at the roster he has to work with. Outside of about five players, Treliving has assembled the largest collection of fourth liners possibly in the history of the league.

        • ThisBigMouthIsRight

          LOL wait until next years Oilers are put together…. They’ll be lucky to afford any decent 4th liners just to fill the holes on their 2nd, 3rd and 4th Lines.