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Photo Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 Playoff Chase: The race tightens

The Western Conference is a bit of a jumble right now. There are a handful of good teams, and then there is a giant mess of teams that might be able to squeak into the playoffs. The Calgary Flames are among those good teams, but things are getting a bit tight within the Western race.

Chasing a playoff spot

Team Pts W ROW Pct. Chances
FLAMES 73 34 34 .676 100%
Jets 71 34 32 .657 100%
Sharks 71 32 32 .645 100%
Predators 70 33 32 .625 99.9%
Golden Knights 66 31 29 .589 98.3%
Stars 61 28 28 .565 89.7%
Wild 57 26 25 .528 49.8%
Blues 55 26 25 .529 60.1%
Canucks 55 24 23 .500 30.2%

(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 18 points up on the Canucks, but both teams have a lot of hockey left to play.

The Athletic’s projections right now have the playoff cut-line in the Western Conference at around 87 points, so seven Flames wins should be about enough to clinch.

Chasing a divisional title

Team Pts W ROW Pct. Chances
FLAMES 73 34 34 .676 68.3%
Sharks 71 32 32 .645 20.6%
Golden Knights 66 31 29 .589 1.0%
Canucks 55 24 23 .500 0.0%

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 just two points up on the Sharks with a game in hand.

Chasing top spot in the West

Team Pts W ROW Pct. Chances
FLAMES 73 34 34 .676 61.0%
Jets 71 34 32 .657 19.1%
Sharks 71 32 32 .645 13.6%
Predators 70 33 32 .625 5.7%
Golden Knights 66 31 29 .589 0.4%

The Flames have a lead in the Western Conference, though it’s tenuous. They lead the Jets and Sharks by just two points.

Chasing a Presidents’ Trophy

Team Pts W ROW Pct. Chances
Lightning 82 39 35 .759 86.8%
FLAMES 73 34 34 .676 8.1%
Jets 71 34 32 .657 1.5%
Sharks 71 32 32 .645 0.8%
Predators 70 33 32 .625 0.2%

The Flames are now nine points behind Tampa Bay. They can try to reel them in when they play them next week in Tampa. They have their work cut out for them, obviously.

  • Em Durp Em Hrudey

    Environment Canada has issued a special weather advisory for the Edmonton area which is expected to receive up to 10 cm of Edmonton Oilers jerseys from disillusioned fans tonight.

    “Precipitation of Edmonton Oilers paraphernalia that is expected to fall from windows and doors may include a mixture of sweaters, hats, and hoodies, making driving conditions hazardous in the city,” said meteorologist Gwyn Rogers. “According to our forecast model, added agitation from third period collapses and poor trades will only make the downfall heavier in some areas.”

    Officials at ETS say travellers should expect delays as crews try to clear the discarded team pride from streets.

    Outside of the city, powerful squalls of disappointment will create ball cap drifts on rural roads and police are advising residents to stay indoors since it’s not worth the risk for a free Oilers hat.

    “We expect our plows to be working all night clearing the streets of signed McDavid and Draisaitl jerseys,” said a city manager responsible for clearing streets. “We might have to call in extra trucks from Calgary and that’s not even taking into account if they lose tonight.”

    The manager paused to remove a Lucic jersey stuck underneath one of the idling plows.

    “We’re living in a different climate now, and Edmontonians should expect shartstorms like these will get worse every year.”

  • UpTkachuk

    Last night’s loss was not the end of the world. In fact, a tight playoff race can help these Flames discover if they have the mettle to thrive in the mix. Too many times, the team that cruises to an early guaranteed playoff spot, ends up getting toppled in the first round by a team that has had to fight for their lives to simply get in. I think that a bit of adversity will be of benefit to this team and keep them invested through the entire season and have them ready for playoffs.

    • freethe flames

      I agree with this. The only concern is if teams burn themselves out in the chase. I thin that has happened to lots of teams chasing the presidents trophy.

  • Eggy

    Man it I had 30 heart attacks watching us miss open nets last night. Wasn’t too impressed with the first line and actually loved the way neal played he had a bit of desperation probably the best I’ve seen from him all year and it payed off for a point on the scoresheet

    • Off the wall

      Yeah me too Eggy!
      Only I had a defibrillator on standby. You know cuz I’m old.

      I like your posts friend. You’re a welcome 18 year old on this blog!

  • Off the wall

    I agree, a little adversity is good.
    Washington, now San Jose.
    Wilson and Kane…what’s the commonality?

    These are the teams we’ll need to beat in the playoffs.

    SAN Jose will be our biggest challenge for the Pacific race.They’re a deep team and Kane loves the challenge of beating us. It was quite the display of his talent yesterday. Remember when a good percentage of us were adamant about NOT having him join our team? Me included.
    Guess we might have to rethink what we’re lacking from here on out.

    The Jets, Sharks have toughness. The Predator’s have probably the best D in the league, not to mention a real solid goaltending duo.

    The Knights have proven they won’t go away and have a pretty good record for postseason success.

    The Flames are a very skilled team, no doubt about it.
    But we haven’t finished our season. There’s going to be a few holes that will become more evident over the next few weeks.

    I just hope Treliving takes extra measures before the TDL.

      • Off the wall

        I know you’ve been beating the Kreider drum for a while Hrudey.
        Interesting that he’s also another Boston College beauty!

        He’s exactly what we need, I concur. Power forward, extremely skilled, a nasty streak – Alternate Captain.
        Our Kane if you will.

        Also a very friendly $4.6M salary for another year. But… a M-NTC
        attached with it.

        The possibility is there. Personally, I’m with you. Get er’ done Treliving. Do we have enough to offer the Rangers? That’s my (one) and only concern..

        • Buffoon dud Hrudey.

          Heres the big question now. Would you be willing to give up Bennett for Kreider? The way I see it is that Kreider is who we want Bennett to be…now or in the future. Will he reach that potential? So honnest hockey question, if the Rangers ask is Bennett do you make that trade?

    • freethe flames

      So who becomes our Wilson/Kane. The problem is our two most physical forwards were really non existent in the games against Washington and the Sharks. Where was the physicality for Hathaway and Bennett?

    • Buffoon dud Hrudey.

      If you think the Canucks with all their young talent are a warm up you don’t know hockey. Every team once they are in the playoffs are a risk. That was a very Hrudey like statement you made.

      • Flaming Glory

        They are 100% a warm up. I think we are the better team by a fair margin. Of course there is risk, I’m talking relative to other playoff teams. Would you rather play the canucks or the Avs? What about the Blues? Stars? I believe that the Canucks will be a very good team but I think they are currently the weakest team that would be in the playoffs. Koodos to them for making the playoffs (maybe) but they have a long way to go before I think twice about betting against them.

  • freethe flames

    There are way to may games left to go to worry about this. A 4/5 game winning/losing streak changes everything. What seems to be likely is that the top 3 teams in the pacific and the top 2 teams in the central will be fighting between themselves for these spots. The teams in the central an most teams in the pacific are fighting for the wild cards. With 17 days till the TDL will these pictures be clarified? That to me is the big question.

    • Alberta Ice

      One big challenge is not letting the present point total lead to complacency in play. That was my initial point about not being too excited about handing out award trophies this early in the year to players. Friedman mentioned on the Fan 960 this AM that Brent Burns is now playing like a man possessed and at a Norris trophy level and if he and Karlsson get their act together, the Sharks are going to be one tough out. Is there anyway we can get Neal playing like a man possessed?

  • freethe flames

    After watching Hamonic leave the game last night clutching his hand again I am worried we might lose him again. While Prout was fine yesterday I felt Andersson really struggled with playing on the left side. Either Kylington has to play, or Valimaki needs to be recalled but Andersson needs to be on the right side. Move him up to play with Hanifin but keep him off the left side.

  • Eggy

    Iggy can u please out of retirement for playoffs for us? Hell be missed as that power forward is what we need right now we need someone who is skilled and strong to forecheck hard

  • Flaming Glory

    TBH I think that Neal will become an overpaid bennett. Doesn’t do much 70% of the time but comes up clutch in big moments. He’ll be a huge asset in the playoffs.

  • Raffydog

    I know this will be unpopular, but I think any of the bottom 4 teams would be licking their chops at meetings the Flames in the first round. They dont hit so you’re gonna get through it unscathed, and they are ripe for an upset.

    • Retire#14

      I hate to agree with Raffy..but he is right. The Flames are not a hard to play. They need toughen and skill up. They need to get rid of a few passengers! Frolik, Hathaway, Czarnik, Mango

    • SouthernFlame

      The only team I’m worried about is the Stars. All big heavy players. And they owned us last game. Theres only 3 guys on that team that are under 6′.

    • Albertabeef

      It would be nice to be underestimated. Make no mistake when this team is firing on all cylinders they are damn scary.Goalies on our side have given away some games and the goalies on the other side have stolen a few from the Flames. All I hope is that our goalies be just good enough to win 16 playoff games. Right save at the right time.