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The Flames have a winning record against every division in the NHL

After years of wallowing in mediocrity, the Calgary Flames finally appear to be a legitimately good NHL team. Big, roster-changing offseason moves overhauled both the forwards and defense, and the new look Flames team has impressed through their first 38 games. So much so, that they currently sit fifth overall in the NHL after a big win against the Western Conference-leading Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.

It’s no secret that the Flames are one of the top dogs in the West, but because of a weaker Pacific Division than in years past, and the drop-off of previous perennial elite teams in the Central Division like the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues of old, an important question arises: are the Flames actually a good team capable of contending for the Stanley Cup, or are they just better than most of the teams in a weak Western Conference?

The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Over the course of the full 82-game season, the Flames will play 32 games against Eastern teams, a home-and-home against each team (39%), and the remaining 50 games against the West (61%). That breaks down to 29 against the Pacific (35%), 21 against the Central (26%), and 16 against both the Atlantic and Metropolitan (20%).

In terms of conferences, through 38 games, the Flames have played 27 games against Western foes (71%), and 11 against the East (29%). The Flames will have a couple more games against the West in the second half of the season at 23, and 21 to go against the East.

In terms of divisions, the Flames have faced Central Division foes the most with 16 games (42%), then the Pacific at 11 games (29%), the Atlantic six times (16%), and the Metropolitan five times (13%).

Fortunately for the Flames, it hasn’t really mattered much which conference or which division their opponents have come from. They’ve come out on top every time. They are the best against the Central with an 11-4-1 record for a 0.719 points percentage, then the Metropolitan with a 3-1-1 record for a 0.700 points percentage, then the Atlantic with a 3-2-1 record for a 0.583 points percentage. Their worst division so far has been their own Pacific Division, with just a 6-5-0 record and .545 points percentage.

This also happens to be the division that they have the most games left against, 18 (42%) of their remaining games. But this isn’t a big cause of concern. The Flames have two games left against the Coyotes whom they’ve defeated in their only matchup so far, another against the Kings where they’re also undefeated, and two against the Canucks and Golden Knights, both teams the Flames should have a leg up on.

Projecting their points percentages through the rest of the season, the Flames will end up earning another 55 points in their final 44 games. That would put them at an impressive 104 points to end the season, and comfortably in a playoff spot. Even if, for some crazy reason, the Flames end up losing every game they have against the Pacific Division, they still project to earn 45 points, good for 94 points and a (probable) playoff spot.

The Flames aren’t just beating up on weaker opponents. In fact, they have an excellent record against the powerhouse Atlantic and Central Divisions, and are no slouch against the Metropolitan either. Going forward, the only real area where they’ll need to work harder is within their own division. With so many games left against the Pacific, banking as many points as they can against their own division will be important.

This year’s Flames are for real. They have a real chance to beat any team they face and they’ve proved time and time again that they are not a team to take lightly. Don’t expect that to change in the new year.

  • Skylardog

    94 may get you in, but would definitely not get you in if you lost all of the remaining games in the Pacific as was suggested was possible. You simply cannot give points to teams in your own division.

    Our record in the Pacific should be our biggest concern. This is the division you must beat on a regular basis to have any success. We are just average. No matter how much we are dominating the Central teams, it doesn’t matter one bit if you can’t beat teams in your own division and get a chance to play in the conference final.

    The Pacific teams on many nights have our number. They know how to shut down Gaudreau and Monahan, and get under our skin. Yes, JG and Mony break out some nights and run over them, but on the majority of nights, against the top 4 or 5 teams in the Pacific, it is tough sledding shutdown hockey that the top line faces, often ending in no points or just a single PP goal for our top guys. They are often shut out 5v5.

    Time to assert our dominance over the rest of this division, starting with wiping out the hopes of the Canucks. The key to winning in the Pacific for the Flames is secondary scoring. We need Janko, Bennett, and especially Neal putting up points on a regular basis, with the odd goal from Hath, Ryan, and whoever they hare playing with. And we need a second PP rolling making taking penalties against the Flames a very costly mistake.

    We will struggle with teams that can and do shut the top line down until that 2nd unit begins to score. That means a revamp of the personnel on unit 2.

    We will see just how good we are tonight. Anything less than a big win against the Canucks, and we should be concerned. The Flames are not playing well right now and need to get out of the funk. We can’t have BSD saving our bacon like he did against Winnipeg.

    • The Real SlimBrodie

      I’m wondering how many games Smith has played against our own division and if that has affected our record against them. Also how many of those games were during our slow start and after 3 games in 4 nights,or on a back to back.

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        Smith
        LA 1-0-0
        ARI 1-0-0
        EDM N/A
        ANA 0-1-0
        SJS 0-1-0
        VAN 1-1-0
        6 GP 3-3-0

        Rittich
        LA 1-0-0
        EDM 1-1-0
        VGK 1-1-0
        ANA N/A
        VAN N/A
        SJS N/A

        5 GP 3-2-0

        It’s less of a questions of who won and who lost as it is how they played during those games. Rittich gives up one in the 2nd of a B2B against EDM and loses. Smith gives up 4 to VAN and wins 7-4. The ANA game was a bad game. Get momentum and give up a softie.

    • freethe flames

      Skylardog: This is so true. Winning the Pacific will mean being probably .65% against pacific teams and it needs to start tonight. The Canucks have been playing better hockey than expected and the Flames need to take them seriously. I would add that we need more offensively form Backs and Frolik as well as the guys you have mentioned. The Fab 4 forwards need more from the background singers. I still don’t understand why Ryan is on the 2nd PP and why others have not been given a chance; it confuses me. The other one that confuses me is when we need a PP goal why BP does not double shift some of the 1st PP unit, an example is up 2-1 and on the PP; why not double team Johnny.

    • The GREAT WW

      I think the Carolina plan was to waive him and trade him to Calgary. Czarnik?
      He is not good enough to crack our NHL lineup.
      The Oilers have done a great job ruining him in his short stint with them that no other team will claim him…..

      WW

      • freethe flames

        Is he better than who we would call up to be our 13th forward? Is he better than Czarnik? What is potential? I will be honest I have not watched him play a lot; who watched a lot of him over the last few years? Te answer is BP and he would know better than any of us whether he would be a fit in this system and with this group.

      • SgtRoadBlock

        Czarnik being shaft with crap line mates, if you seen in preseason he was a sniper, now he has to slow down the play so Neal or Ryan don’t get call off side and then the play dead or he turn into the ”i go get the puck guy” for them and then the play dead and now line change time..
        so we not seeing what he can do,
        Same can be said about Janko not being on the pp2nd unit over Ryan

        • freethe flames

          So the problem is that we play Neal and Ryan? Who should Czarnik play on a line with? Who has the skill to play with him? I don’t think you can play him with Johnny as a strong wind would blow them both over. Could something like this work: Johnny/Janko/Lindholm, Tkachuk/Monny/Czarnik, Bennett/Backs/Frolik and Dube/Ryan/Hathaway. Looks like no room for Neal and that is not likely going to happen.

          • SgtRoadBlock

            it all come down to Peters golden child Ryan gets every look on 5v5 5v4 4v5 4v4 and Neal just Neal… Two ufa BT should of stay away from..
            Dube going to need ice time now that he back too,

        • Chucky

          You must have missed the shift where Tkachuk basically told Czarnik “do some work if you want the the puck”. I think it was game 2 and Backlund and Tkachuk had worked like crazy to get the puck, playing hard minutes along the boards and taking a bunch of rough stick work. Tkachuk got the puck and started out of the corner Czrnik floating around uncovered is tapping his stick and Matty would not pass to him. Backlund and Byng did not pass to him for the rest of the game.
          They were telling him if you want the puck get your nose dirty and at that point Czarnik became surplus. He may get the start today but is he does not get in the corners and get the puck he will get no respect from his teammates.
          Czarnik is not getting shafted he is getting what he has earned.

  • buts

    We need to get Tkachuk some linemates. He is being wasted with Backlund and Bennett. If it means putting Lindholm at centre with him at least it would be harder to shut the team down. Right now you shut down our number one line and we are done. If Janko can play centre he can play wing that’s who I would try on our top 2 lines. Neal looks ready to break out and he is one option on the top 2 lines. Backlund and frolik are shutdown players no more.

    • freethe flames

      So what would your lines look like? I disagree with you on Backs and Frolik; they still are shut down forwards; what they are not are true 2nd line offensive line guys; I don’t think they can do both but I do still believe they can be your primary shut down duo and still score 10+ goals each w/o any PP time.

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      I agree that Chuck should have better players to play with. Someone on another thread was talking about Duchene. A guy like that would do the trick, but I still think Backlund is the best we got on the team. Putting Lindholm at 2c could work, but I still think this configuration is the best we have at the moment. I mean, if Neal could start playing well enough to earn it, him as 2rw would be nice, but the chemistry just hasn’t been there

      • SgtRoadBlock

        you need Caproom to sign players next year aka Matty ,Sam and Big Dave no Room for Duchene and BT should be fire if he trade away any more picks we had 9 picks for next year draft down to 5 picks now.
        and i’m not a FAN of his UFA Signing…BT way better at Draft days then UFA market
        he should Trade away vets for picks and open up some Cap Room when this Season over …

      • freethe flames

        So the question I have for you is this. In 2 of the last 3 games Neal(who I have hammered as much as anyone) may have played his best two games of the season do you move him up now or do you wait for him to show you more good games in a row?