Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

When will the Flames clinch a playoff spot?

The Calgary Flames are going to be part of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. They have more points accumulated than the projected playoff cutline. So when are they officially going to punch their ticket to the postseason?

The Flames officially clinch a playoff spot when they cannot fall out of a playoff spot mathematically. That occurs when either (a) they cannot be caught by the fourth place Pacific Division team or (b) they cannot be caught by the Western Conference’s ninth place team.

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Let’s look at both scenarios.

The divisional race: Arizona

When the Flames’ current points match or exceed Arizona’s total possible points, the Flames will guarantee a top three finish in the Pacific Division. Right now, accounting for possible tie-breakers, the Flames’ magic number against Arizona is 7.5 – a combination of 7.5 Flames wins or Coyotes losses clinches.

Here’s how the two teams’ schedules look:

  • Monday: Calgary vs. Toronto
  • Tuesday: Arizona vs. Anaheim
  • Wednesday: Calgary at Vegas
  • Thursday: Calgary at Arizona
  • Saturday: Arizona vs. Los Angeles
  • March 10: Calgary vs. Vegas

If the Flames win out and Arizona loses out, the earliest the Flames would clinch would be March 11 when Arizona plays Chicago. That said, the probable scenario is that Arizona wins a game or two here and so the Flames would likely clinch later in the week – potentially around March 14 or 15.

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The wildcard race: Colorado

When the Flames’ current points match or exceed Colorado’s total possible points, the Flames will guarantee at least a wildcard spot. Accounting for possible tie-breakers, the Flames’ magic number against Colorado is 7 – a combination of 7 Flames wins or Avalanche losses clinches.

Here’s another schedule snapshot:

  • Sunday: Colorado at Anaheim
  • Monday: Calgary vs. Toronto
  • Tuesday: Colorado vs. Detroit
  • Wednesday: Calgary at Vegas
  • Thursday: Colorado at Dallas, Calgary at Arizona
  • Saturday: Colorado vs. Buffalo
  • March 10: Calgary vs. Vegas

If the Flames win out and Colorado loses all their games, the Flames clinch on Saturday. If you accept that both of those things won’t necessarily happen (Colorado will win some games), the Flames likely clinch in the Colorado scenario sometime around March 15.

Sum it up

Long story short: in either clinching scenario, the Flames will need around 10 more days to make it mathematically impossible for them to finish outside of a playoff spot.

The most likely clinching date, in either scenario, is around March 15.

    • Lazarus

      They always are. Rittichs pics are of big saves and Tkachuk hugs. We are only shown Smith swimming in his crease or caught up behind the net.
      Be aware the propaganda machine

  • THE WW Bandwagon

    Mike Smith always was and always will be a loser.
    I will never forgive him for that awful performance on a night we celebrate our greatest player.
    The FN writer was correct. Mike Smith single handedly ruined that night.
    No one will EVER retire his Jersey not ever and ever. .

      • THE WW Bandwagon

        Then your a blind sheep Hrudey. I tell it like it is. It’s an opinion that I hold and I dont care if people dont like it.
        Show me differently before you trash this.
        All we have to show is years of futility with this team. Players change but the team still has a weak record of winning when its the big game(s).

  • Speed Kills

    As Both ARI – COL have been playing very well lately and their opponents are all near the bottom, as opposed to the Flames competition are all in the playoff-race (-ARI) I’m thinking it might take a little further into March than the high expectations of middle month to clinch a birth. Only with time and games played will we know when. Just hope the Flames can fix their weird goal scoring drought, that will be the difference right there. Go Flames~!

    • The Iggy complex

      Funny though how they are just scoring at an average rate over last 7 games and it’s considered a goal scoring drought. Shows how good they have been this year

  • The GREAT WW

    Smith ruined the Iginla celebration. No doubt.

    But if Smith wins us the cup this year he will be a bigger hero than Iginla ever was in this town……


    • 谢谢兄弟,我爱你

      I’m not sure that would be enough.
      Also, there’s little to no chance a Stanley Cup win would ever be considered to be won by Smith. There are too many actually-good players on the team to hang a win on. They might win in spite of Smith, but never because of him.

        • Skylardog

          I’ll change the tone on the Tampa in the Finals thing.

          I am predicting Boston will beat them in round 2.

          It is one of the reasons I have been talking about why being the best in the West is a great chance to win it all.

          • Pizzaman

            This year Vasilevskiy has seen GAA 2.25 go down and save % .935 go up. Domingue is the surprise when Vasilevskiy broke his foot in mid November although his save % .908 and GAA 2.92 aren’t real good but with that team in front of him he wins. It would suggest that Smith would look good behind that team. I would suggest that if Holtby gets hot again that Ovie and Tom Wilson will beat the crap out of Tampa regardless of who is in goal. Not Boston, Rask wont get them there and Halak is old and will fold like a cheap tent in the playoffs.
            SO a rematch of 2004 looks very possible.

  • Em Durp Em Hrudey

    So now that a good percentage of Flames nation has figured out that Mike Smith is the reason for Lack of economic opportunity and unemployment, Lack of education in 3rd world Countries, lack of Food and water in Africa, all Religious conflicts, Poverty, Inequality, Large scale conflict / wars, Climate change, and the split of The Everly Brothers can we get back to discussing the TEAM!!! A witch hunt for a guy who has lost 1 of his last 6 starts….sad really.

    • THE WW Bandwagon

      I wonder if you were the same ra ra guy during GG tenure?
      I remember guys like you beating his drum. Criticizing anyone who called him out on his pathetic coaching.
      Where is he today?
      Hes not a head coach and hes stuck with the Losers.
      Now most of the GG ra ra crowd mock him and jeer him cause he’s gone.
      Wake up Hrudey! Dont be a weak sheep!
      Smith is not getting us to success and most here deep down know it!

      • Em Durp Em Hrudey

        Lol…nope disliked GG from the get go. I was the one who gave him the name General Gel actually. Being a blind sheep does not sound like a fun time, sounds dangerous actually. The team is in second…in the league. Smith has won more than hes lost, secondary scoring is clicking, and TEAMS win games. Deep down know it? Hell most of you have him nailed to a cross with lit torches….deep down…come on. Scape goat is what you are seeking, leave the sheep out of it.

        • THE WW Bandwagon

          Someone posted the stats somewhere with the details of sv% in close games (with score +\- 1 goal)

          In those stats it shows that smith is the worse goalie all season.

          I have been extremely vocal in my disdain for having smith in as our goalie since the offseason and my opinion hasn’t changed but I will say this:

          We have 17 games remaining

          Mostly against mediocre teams

          Why not use smith to allow rittich to be as fresh as possible for the start of playoffs.

          If rittich can regain some form, which he definitely did in his last couple starts, and can get back to being the starter by the time playoffs roll around I think it is better for everyone.

          Smith cannot be our game 1 starter or else I feel like an Elliott esque collapse will be coming. Smith is not significantly better than any of the other starters or backups in the west, so even if we lose out and have to play Vegas, we are underdogs if he is the starter.

          You can throw out blind optimism all you want but when Smith crumbles yet again in the playoffs and flames lose dont be posting ANYTHING contrary to what you are posting here.

          I by no means am taking personal shot at you Hrudey. Your a good poster.
          Just dont agree with your optimism.

          • THE WW Bandwagon

            Here it is: Very telling…
            Since Jan 1, in situations where the score of the game is tied or within 1 goal, here are their save percentages / GAA / TOI:

            Rittich – 0.923 / 2.18 / 632:36
            Smith – 0.897 / 3.05 / 571:25

          • R4anders

            I’m not a smith fan but whether you want to admit it or not his numbers are way better then Rittich over the last 15 starts.Rittich is our future but this is a “what have you done for me lately” business. Get your cherry picked stats garbage outta here. our goaltending is top ten, look at the other goaltending in the west, who’s is significantly better then ours? Dallas? But they might not even make the playoffs. Numbers don’t lie… even to bandwagon jumpers!

          • Em Durp Em Hrudey

            Great post R4anders. All these stats monkeys not realizing the team in front of the goalie has the biggest impact on these “stats”. The man behind the mask is a Warrior, he will battle just as hard if not harder than most on this league.

          • Em Durp Em Hrudey

            You have been “extremely vocal in my disdain for having smith in as our goalie since the offseason”…..how so? Its only recently you appeared under this copycat screen name! When your done hiding behind a false identity then perhaps some of what you say can be taken seriously.

      • THE WW Bandwagon

        Says the guy who constantly changes his name every few months.
        I dont need you to take me seriously. This team will always be stuck mediocrity because ra ra guys like you just settle for mediocre results year after year after year!
        Stats do make a difference and yeah Smith has won lately but most goalies go on hot streaks but the question is asked…how does he do in BIG games?
        How many series have we won over the years?
        Not alot. Not enough!

        Yet you think Mike Smith is going to get you over that hump?
        Dream on!

        • R4anders

          The number of series we have one over the years has absolutely nothing to do with whether Mike Smith can get us over the hump this year or not, the point is completely invalid.

          Being the second best team in the league is not mediocre,I would rather be cautiously optimistic then eternally disappointed.

          Also……. you’re a stink brain!?

  • Domeward bound

    In the above scenario (Arizona) the Flames qualify on the 10th. They would match Arizona’s maximum points that day and would have a ROW better tan Ari by a minimum of 14. Cgy has the head to head already therefore they’d be in.

  • freethe flames

    So the Flames are now only 3 points up on the Sharks; tonight’s game becomes important. After losing against the Wild will BP shake up his line up. The obvious choice is BSD in net but will Lazar get a chance to play? Is kylington ready to play.

  • checkmeup

    For me the first goal set the tone for the night, Mony was singled out by the sports panel for leaving his check in front of the net, but no one mentioned the lack of compete by Brodie for the puck behind the net. Absolutely pitiful