The All-Star Break is over. Over the next nine weeks, 16 National Hockey League teams will punch their tickets for the postseason while another 15 teams will slink off into the ether. The Calgary Flames have 31 games remaining. How do their playoff prospects look?
Chasing a playoff spot
The Flames are in a pretty good spot in the Western Conference.
(Playoff spot odds throughout these tables via Sports Club Stats.)
The Flames will clinch a playoff berth when the ninth-place team (currently Vancouver) cannot pass them mathematically. Presently they’re 19 points up on the Canucks. The Canucks have 31 games left and 62 possible points remaining, so it’ll be awhile before the Flames can secure a playoff spot entirely. That said, they have a massive cushion right now.
The Athletic’s projections right now have the playoff cutline in the Western Conference at around 89 points, so nine Flames wins should be about enough to clinch.
Chasing a divisional title
As with the playoff spot race, the Flames are in good shape as they pursue their first divisional title since 2006.
The Flames would clinch when the second place team, currently the Sharks, can’t catch them. Obviously that’s quite a ways away. For now, they’re six points up on the Sharks with a game in hand.
As Pat noted in his piece yesterday, the Flames have a pair of games remaining against both the Sharks and Golden Knights. They’re masters of their own destinies at this point and if they can pile up points within their own division, they’ll likely win it.
The Athletic’s divisional cutline looks to be around 102 points, so a 0.500 Flames squad over the last 31 games has a pretty good shot at capturing the division.
Chasing top spot in the West
The Flames have a lead in the Western Conference, though it’s somewhat tenuous. They lead the Jets by just three points, so while they’re in a good spot things are by no means sewn up.
The Athletic’s projections have 105 points about enough to clinch top spot in the West.
Chasing a Presidents’ Trophy
It might seem weird to think about, but the Flames are just five points back of the powerhouse Tampa Bay Lightning for first overall in the NHL. They’re within striking distance and the Flames play the Lightning on Feb. 12 in Tampa. If they can stay hot and win against a tough team in a tough building, they might be able to reel them in.
That said, the Lightning might need to slow down a bit for the Flames to catch them. The Athletic’s projections have them with 119 points at the end of the regular season.