Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 Playoff Chase: Almost clinched

After going on a bit of a skid last week, the Calgary Flames have found their way back into the win column. As a result, they’re close to clinching a playoff spot and are in the thick of the divisional race.

Chasing a playoff spot

Team Pts W ROW Pct. Chances
Sharks 94 43 43 .662 100%
FLAMES 93 43 43 .664 100%
Jets 86 41 39 .614 100%
Predators 85 40 36 .590 99.4%
Golden Knights 81 38 35 .579 98.9%
Stars 79 37 37 .564 95.9%
Blues 79 36 35 .564 96.7%
Coyotes 77 36 32 .542 53.5%
Wild 74 33 32 .521 19.5%

(Playoff spot odds throughout these tables via Sports Club Stats.)

The Flames are all but clinched. They’re 19 points up on the ninth place team. Their magic number to clinch a spot is 1.5 wins and/or Wild losses.

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Chasing home ice in the first round

Team Pts W ROW Pct. Chances
Sharks 94 43 43 .662 100%
FLAMES 93 43 43 .664 100%
Golden Knights 81 38 35 .579 0%
Coyotes 77 36 32 .542 0%

The Flames are 12 points up on the Golden Knights and in a comfortable position in terms of home ice in the first round. Oh, and we see you there, Arizona, sneaking up on third. The magic number to clinch home ice is 6.5 wins and/or Vegas losses.

Chasing a divisional title

Team Pts W ROW Pct. Chances
Sharks 94 43 43 .662 54%
FLAMES 93 43 43 .664 46%
Golden Knights 81 38 35 .579 0%
Coyotes 77 36 32 .542 0%

The Flames are a point back of the Sharks, but hold a game in hand. Vegas and Arizona aren’t mathematically out of contention, but they’re pretty close to being completely out. This is a two-horse race, and the Flames have a magic number of 12 (wins and/or Sharks losses) to clinch the division. This race will likely go on for awhile.

Chasing top spot in the West

Team Pts W ROW Pct. Chances
Sharks 94 43 43 .662 54%
FLAMES 93 43 43 .664 46%
Jets 86 41 39 .614 0%

As with the divisional race, the Flames are a point back of the Sharks with a game in hand. Their magic number for top spot is 12 (wins and/or Sharks losses). This race will probably go down to the wire.

    • The GREAT WW

      Speaking of Oilers;

      I miss CHIARELLI but I’m looking forward what the 3 musketeers come up with for a new GM…..

      1. Nicholson- the man who hired CHIARELLI and allowed him to turn a stacked team into lottery once again….

      2. Wayne- the drunken dunce who is still idolized in Edmonton…..

      3. McDavid- good player but terrible captain…..who would have thought a 19 year old would make a good captain?!
      Because McDavid alway has the “trade me” card to play if he doesn’t like the new GM….

      Good times!


      • Rudy27

        Is it really mathematically official? They are 8 points back from the last wildcard spot with 12 games remaining. There’s still hope Oiler fans! The odds have you at 1.7% to make the playoffs and 5.3% to win the lottery (again)!

        • Alberta Ice

          The Oilers have had a devil of a time trying to make the playoffs this year. We need to be empathetic with their fans as they are being so brutal to themselves and their team. Just because that organization has beaten the lottery odds over the last decade to draft so many number ones and high picks to guarantee a quick rebuild, should not cause Flames fans to be unsympathetic. This has to be one of the hardest years for them to swallow in this decade. Just imagine- Flames battling for number one in the West and in the playoffs; having two potential 100 point draft winner scorers being wasted in their prime; and don’t even mention the devil himself, former GM Peter. (Some of their fans even believed the conspiracy that Chiarelli was a Flames mole in their organization.) Wow, really must be one of the toughest years yet to be an Oilers fan.

  • withachance

    A little off topic from this article but something thats been on my mind – lately it seems Flames fans (at least posters on here) have made a habit of trashing our own star players, something which I think we do quite a bit… Why is that? Why do Flames fans insist on getting on the back of the star players of this team the second they dont perform up to the lofty standards they themselves set

    First it was Backlund shouldnt be a second line center, when he clearly is the second best center on this team offensively and definitely the best defensively. Then it was Monny should be sat or demoted, when he clearly is the best fit with Jonny with the most chemistry. Now its Brodie, and this one is the worst. Some posters are suggesting scratching him completely and I really cant fathom how bringing in Stone would be better for this team than playing Brodie. I’m not saying the guy is going to be a Flame for his entire career but I really cant believe how people can think Brodie is not a top 4 dman in this team (and Im not talking down Ras here I love the guy and he is the future #1 RHD of this team, but the 3RHD is perfect for him right now)

    There is being a prisoner of the moment, and then there is just knee jerking to the first mistake a player does.

    • JC333

      Agreed! Just simply enjoy the ride. Everyone has ‘off’ days but overall, this team is exceeding expectations from the fall. We all want perfection but we are all human!! Go Flames Go!!!

    • KootenayFlamesFan

      I freely admit to being a Brodie trasher.

      Although I’ve never said to bench him, I do think he will (should) be traded in the off-season. When he is playing well, he is great – great stick, great breakouts, etc. When he’s not, he makes GLARING mistakes which almost ALWAYS seem to end up in the back of the net and usually at the worst time. Good Brodie shows up 50% of the time or less, bad Brodie shows up 50% or more. His numbers are great, but history says that it is from playing with Gio. He has never been the dominant D of any pair – He just seems to play down to their level, or maybe they just haven’t been as good as Gio at covering for his blunders.

      He is pillowy soft. Never takes the man, always tries to take the puck – fails mostly. Doesn’t shoot NEARLY as often as he should, and is prone to complete mental breakdowns. If we can get a top forward, equivalent D with toughness, or a goalie for Brodie or Brodie+, then I say we do it as long as the + isn’t too great an ask.

      • withachance

        Oh agreed here – I think he’ll be traded this offseason to upgrade the forwards. But the suggestions to scratch him for the playoffs is ridiculous. He is easily one of the best 6 defenders on this team.

        If the Flames go far this season, it will be because of him, not despite of him. If the Flames dont, it will also be because of him, not despite of him. I can live with that.

        • PrairieStew

          He’ll be traded, but probably for picks which should be used to draft more defencemen. All of the prospects in the system are forwards ( I consider Kylington and Valimaki as players not prospects) – Dube, Phillips, Zavogoridny, Kouzmontis, Pettersen.
          If they move Brodie this offseason, and Stone the following year, then you have to think either Hamonic and or Gio need to be replaced. There are 4 guys under 22 now – but no prospects coming after that. Drafting D should be #1 priority this summer.

        • Albertabeef

          Just for the record Hanafin(69) has a crap load of giveaways as does Gio(58). Do you swear every time they give the puck away? Yes Brodie may do it more but I think you should treat all players equally!

          I hear the hockey gods saying “head to your local adult store and get a ball gag for your hockey viewing to limit your swearing”

    • Skylardog

      To help with the answer, I think what you see, in fans trashing guys, is that those players are seen as “limiting” factors. What I mean by that, is that fans pick up on things they see as being the weaknesses in a player to properly perform in the position for which they are slotted. This slot, because of their inability to fill it properly, then becomes a weakness in the teams overall strength, limiting the Flames ability to truly be a contender.

      Notice that all of these guys fill either a top 6 forward, top 4 defenseman, or starting goalie slot. And yes, much of the criticism of Ritter is that he is showing weakness in filling the starter spot. If he was a backup, and we had a clear starter playing at an acceptable level, then Ritter is being hailed as a fantastic backup.

      And I understand the trashing.

      Your top line center should not seemingly disappear for large stretches of the season from the Allstar break and on.

      Your second line center on a contending team should not be ranked 55th among NHL centers when you consider that there are other contending teams that have 3 or even 4 centers that rank higher than him in terms of scoring.

      And a top 2 defenseman should not be leading the defensive core and be second on the team among guys that have played as a regular in terms of giveaways. The eye test here also says his giveaways don’t just happen, but they create HD chances against. It doesn’t help either when, again of the regulars, the proposed top pair defenseman is the best of the defensemen at not giving the puck away.

      Hope that helps. 😉

      • withachance

        Oh I feel ya, I just think its all very selective stats that are cherry picked.

        Your top line center should be consistently a top offensive player on the team , flirting with the 30 goal season every season (CHECK)

        Your second line center should drive play while putting up consistent point totals every season (CHECK). How many better second line centers would you say there are in the league? I’d say less than 10 for sure.

        A top 2 defenceman should take the bulk of transitioning duties, carry the puck up the ice consistently, generate offense, and elevate the play of his partner (CHECK)

        I mean Im not saying these guys are perfect but they all fulfill a significant role on this team and do it very well. I dont expect it for 82 games a season – I sure didnt hear any of these complaints in November – February when the Flames were lighting it up.

        • Luter 1

          You’re talking Gio then, elevating Brodie’s game? Without Gio, not sure we’d be having a discussion of him as a top pairing, because I don’t think he is. The rest of the league’s skating is catching up to his and the rest of his game is average and he hasn’t thrown a body check in 2 years.

          • withachance

            Nah it goes both ways. Name his partner in the two career years of Gio when he was considered a Norris contender in the 14-15 season and the 18-19 season

          • withachance

            Im saying you cant just say oh Monny sucks in the de zone, without mentioning his strengths as well. Besides what better way to play defense than scoring a goal or maintain ozone time? I’d say Monny is decent at both those things

      • Brian McGrattan's Salute

        Yeah, but again, there is a difference between constructive criticism and frustration and a vortex of negativity and hate, no?

        I share all of the above frustrations, and see your point about limiting factors and criticism based on player position within the team structure. But I just think there is not enough of what you yourself post, Skylardog (constructive criticism) and what others post (“Monahan should get benched for a week, and demoted to the first line. Punishment, punishment, punishment for this player and that. [see below:] this player should get injured so he never plays hockey again. Neal looks fat, what is he doing with his life? Sure the players just traveled over 20,000km in three separate roadies to the east, but they are looking tired tonight so they should do a bag skate. I hope Smith lets in 6 bad goals tonight.)

        See the difference folks? Skylardog, you are exemplary in how to be very critical without getting negative and mean, and by being constructive and still supportive. It’s like as soon as someone or our team plays bad or loses, folk eventually WANT to see these players continue to keep playing bad, as some sort of weird confirmation bias thing. I just don’t know

        • Skylardog

          Thank You BMS. I try hard to point things out without attacking the person. It is a fine line that I am sure I have crossed on numerous occasions.

          As for Mony, I am reminded that last season when he dropped off he had numerous “undisclosed” injuries. Pro sports take a toll on the body.

          I would hope that if he is hurting, the Flames shut him down very soon, like this week, until maybe 2 games before the playoffs. I would rather see him heal for an extended period now, and then be rested and “more” healthy as we approach the playoffs (give him game action just to get the feel back in the final game or 2 of the season), rather than play him until the final 2 games in a chase to earn top spot in the West. We should have the luxury to rest any player that needs a break to heal between now and the first post season game.

          • Flames fan since 83

            Dog, your correct. We should try to comment on a comment. And refrain from commenting on a person. If someone (pointing at myself too) says something dumb, we should attack the dumb comment being dumb. And not that the commenter is dumb. Make sense??
            I can say or write something dumb, but I can reassure you that I am not dumb.
            I’ll admit though, I did cross this line yesterday getting into it with another dog (raffy). And I apologize to FN for that.

      • Garry T

        I see and commend your logic. If we had 23 perfect players , we would be well ahead of Tampa and be guaranteed to win Lord Stanle’s Cup. I can see drop offs in a season. I understand injuries occur and that playing their long season is difficult. I have advocated in the past and repeat now that we should have a special teams coach for each of the defence and the forwards. Our defensive coach can fulfill one position. We need a proven retired forward like a Craig Simpson to come in and mentor the forwards in positional play, how to be more aggressive when owning the pucks, shooting accuracy, pinpointing goalies weakness tendencies etc.

        I think when you see after 2 or 3 games, bad tendencies creeping into a player’s game, it is on the coaching group to step in and help with the necessary deficiencies. This is emphasized by the look on Brodie’s face lately. He cares, wants to be part of the team and has shown superb capability in the past. Look at pictures of Gio. He knows the team was not playing well and I think he is doing too much trying to carry the team. As a result he is all over the ice and when a giveaway results, he cannot get back to do his job which is to defend. The guy is a monster in terms of fitness. He looks tired. The Coaches need to address issues. They have a perfect position to watch the games. Backed up by the guys in the team box, they should be able to pinpoint issues as well. Not only should the players feel pressure to win, but coaching needs to do better by analysis.

    • someone

      Very well said. People tend to only see negatives and feel better about themselves when pointing out others flaws. It shows insecurity and weak character… among other things. Brodie has had an excellent season. I feel his game is built around making close plays under pressure and being extremely good at it. Thus when a mistake happens, it can be very obvious and appear like a stupid play. But would you rather he play a safe game and always ring it off glass? Or let him do what he does best – skate around/away from opponents and make a beautiful crisp pass through traffic?

      • Quinteco

        I agree with you for the most part, but at this point in his career one would hope that Brodie would be able to effectively do both of those things and be able to intelligently assess the situation to choose which is the correct choice at that moment. It’s frustrating that he can’t.

        • withachance

          The decision making lapses are disappointing yes, but I expect the turnovers to happen. He’s that type of dman who will make the stretch passes, who will try to skate around his man.

          Karlsson had the most turnovers couple seasons ago, he had big mistakes every game or so, but he’s Norris trophy winner. Not saying Brodie is that caliber but they play similar games for sure

          • Porcupine at a balloon party

            Datsyuk lead the league in giveaways perennially. Don’t think anyone ever called him a defensive liability. When you have the puck all the time, you’re going to turn it over

      • withachance

        Yeah agreed. Karlsson led the league in giveaways when he won the Norris – tends to happen when good players have the puck on their sticks so much.

        Posters just complaining because its noticeable. Honestly feeling like the Toronto fans who dont appreciate Gardiner

        • PrairieStew

          Ray Bourque. Giveaways, avoided physical play – mostly because he played 35+ minutes per game. There was no data in his era, but that was my impression everytime I watched him play.

    • LannyMac

      Yes we come down on the players, including myself, pretty hard. In Brodie’s case I’m guessing it has to due with a degree of confidence which is kind of rude to jump on a person when they are struggling. I also see a guy hanging on to the puck to long at times or making ill timed decisions on pinches, and or lack of effort etc.etc. Mistakes a player makes do to ego or stupidity are the type of mistakes that are frustrating to watch because they can ruin a strong effort from 19 other players. Listen if you think a single player on the Calgary Flames have spent even a split second reading these posts you are sadly mistaken. They couldnt give an S what tools like us have to say. Finally they get compensated very well to get booed and ridiculed by the public. I’m sure a direct deposit of 200,000.00 (on ave.) every two weeks for little to no work makes up for the public coming down on them. Finally when I see a guy like James Neal float around the ice and not give an S because his $200,000.00+ every two weeks is guaranteed and there is not a damn thing you, I, coach or any generally manager can do about it your freaking rights I want to see another player hit him in the head so hard it ends his career. That way I dont have to see him put another flaming C on his chest again.

        • Brian McGrattan's Salute

          Injury, or death. Seriously. This is the point of the whole thread to me…why do we channel so much anger to this team??

          We are supposed to be fans supporting this team. Constructive criticism is great, but there is a BIG difference between constructive criticism and just being irrational jerks.

          I’ve made my fair share of critical comments, but I try to keep them constructive.

          This means that my comments aren’t downing in negativity, i.e. the sky isn’t falling when I post. The flames are killing it this year!! No one expected them to do so well. If we are fans, and we all of a sudden start bashing our players, then we are no longer fans because we are not supporting our team. It’s that simple to me. You can support your team and still be critical, but I think the support part has too often gone away.

          I don’t know what it is, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to even go near these comment sections…which is REALLY SAD because I really love this community of hockey nerds and assorted rascals…it’s great to come on here and actually get some good, solid, intelligent flames coverage (both from the authors and comments). But seriously, it just makes me depressed and angry coming on to this site.

          I’m glad we’re all having this discussion. Because to me, we need to work on this. We could jump back into first place in the west with a dub-ya tonight for heck sakes.

          I just want my hockey blog back without being sucked into a hateful vortex of negativity. Is that too much to ask???

          • Cfan in Van

            Fully agree Grats. I think a lot of people forget that the team is made up of humans, who all likely care a lot more about team performance than the fans do. It’s their everyday, bulk of their lives, and their livelihood. They try their best and are imperfect humans, not inanimate parts of a machine. All sports. Involve criticism, but to get to the point where it seems like some people are waiting for someone to mess up so we can jump on them… Need to take a look around and realize that same player has been a contributor to the best season this team’s had in decades. We shouldn’t hate players, if it’s coming to that point for any fan, they need to peer into their own lives to see what’s causing the problem. I think some perspective is needed.

          • UpTkachuk

            I will back your statement here and hope that enough read it to “get it”.

            I will also say that James Neal was brought to the Flames to help them win.

            He hasn’t been the statistical leader that everyone has hoped for but, I think he has had a hand in this year’s Calgary Flames putting together a terrific season.

            The intangible that I am talking about is his contribution to a culture of leadership and winning that several players (and coaches) didn’t bring before him. Maybe it is through his demeanour, or confidence, or humour (I don’t know…). But this team has been a cohesive and hard working unit all season with him in the mix. Winning seems to happen when he is around. Just take a look at Nashville and Vegas over the past couple of seasons (Do I have to tell anyone that he was on these teams – I just did). Regardless, I’m still hoping he will be a statistical contributor.

            After all…he could be a Flame for quite some time…

      • Ralph Waldo Emerson

        Yes we come down on the players, including myself, pretty hard. blah blah blah…blah blah…blah…

        Finally when I see a guy like James Neal float around the ice and not give an S because his $200,000.00+ every two weeks is guaranteed and there is not a damn thing you, I, coach or any generally manager can do about it your freaking rights I want to see another player hit him in the head so hard it ends his career. That way I dont have to see him put another flaming C on his chest again.

        You do realize that all of this is Sports Entertainment, correct? It is literally entertainment. Nothing more. It does not serve any other purpose beyond entertainment and some residual economic gains to a city. It does not solve our societal problems, it does not solve global issues, it does not even solve any domestic problems in your own personal life.

        What is wrong with you? Can you have a little perspective on life?

  • The Sultan

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if, after all this talk of finishing first in the division/conference to avoid a potential first-round matchup with Vegas, Arizona passes them for third and we end up having to face Vegas anyways?

  • Avalain

    Wow. If Arizona and Vegas both play their final 10 games with the same results as their last 10, Arizona will be at 93 points with 1 game left and Vegas will be at 94 points with 2 games left. It could be really close. If Arizona pushes Vegas out, Vegas would very likely play in the Central against Winnipeg or Nashville. The big question is, would there really be much of a difference between playing Arizona and playing St. Louis in the first round?

  • Off the wall

    Two weeks ago we were 7 points up on the Sharks. That 4 game losing streak cost us valuable points. Thank goodness we had a healthy gap on the Sharks.

    With the loss to Florida last night, we have a chance to retake the lead in the Division.
    I hope the boys take advantage of this against the Rangers tonight!

    Having home ice advantage is going to be important in the playoffs. Both Vegas and SAN Jose are difficult barns to win in.

    The lucky number is 12. Isn’t that the number waving high in the rafters at the Saddledome?

    Yeah, 12 is a great number. Make it happen Flames!?

    • slapshot444

      It’s gonna happen for sure, after the first line explosion vs the Devils, the whole gang is rocking. Watch for James Neil to play vs the Jets tomorrow, he’s going to be like a mad dog trying to show he deserves to be back in a red hot line up.

    • Getpucksdeep

      Couldn’t agree more. The Flames have a game against a weaker opponent and the concern is they’ll play down to the Rangers level. I think tonight is entirely about a chance to get back in first and they couldn’t care if the opposition was Tampa, they will be very motivated tonight.

  • KootenayFlamesFan

    Regardless of how good a season we’ve been having, we want the team to do even better. When we lose, it’s just human nature to try and find a scapegoat. That scapegoat usually happens to be the guy who made a poor choice at a bad time. We blame the loss on him even though in reality, most losses are team losses (there are a few exceptions, but it proves true in general.)

    I know I’m guilty of this, and as a result, Brodie gets a lot of flak from me. The reality is that he is a D man that any team would love to have. The reason I think he will be traded is not that we should actively be trying to get rid of him. It is the fact that he can be replaced, and the teams needs what he would bring us in a trade more than what he brings us as a player.

    • JC333

      You must mean last game of the month. We still have 3 regular season games in April as well as many playoff games!!! Last game of the year should be against an Eastern team!!