Flames officially clinch a playoff spot

We’ve known it was coming for a while, but now it’s here: the Flames are officially back in the playoffs.

With 10 games remaining and 95 points already accumulated, the Flames cannot be mathematically passed when it comes to qualifying for a playoff spot. By way of the New York Islanders beating the ninth place Minnesota Wild in overtime, the Flames have officially clinched.

Though they’re in now, the Flames didn’t exactly have a start that made one think of an undisputed playoff team. Their first game of the season looked a lot like the way they closed out a disappointing 2017-18 campaign, and kicking off with a 5-5 record didn’t do a lot to inspire confidence – especially when said fifth loss was of a 9-1 nature.

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But then the Flames started to put it together. More than that, they started to dominate teams. They got back on their feet, they won, they scored an absurd amount of goals, they kept blowing teams out, and by early December they suddenly found themselves in first place in the Western Conference: a spot they haven’t relinquished for most of the year, though they’re in a close fight for it now.

The Flames, slowly but surely, turned themselves into a top team. They won games convincingly. They won games they shouldn’t have won. Their top forwards set a ridiculous pace, and mostly kept to it. When they couldn’t, they had the depth to tread water. Their oldest defenceman set himself on a path to make history with the best season of his career. Three rookie defencemen proved they were ready for the NHL. David Rittich did, too. They came together – far better than likely anyone really expected them to.

It’s been two years since they last made the playoffs. Most of their top players are still present, but they’ve also added Elias Lindholm and Travis Hamonic. Older, less talented depth players have been replaced with younger ones with far more scoring potential, several of whom were prospects developing in the system. The entire defence is now mobile. Goaltending is still a question, but the Flames are now pretty much free of deadweight – the weak links are much more difficult to identify than they were two years ago.

And, the possibility this is the best season of Mark Giordano’s career aside, this is a team that looks largely on the upswing. Yes, they’re a playoff team this year – but they weren’t supposed to look this ready for the postseason this soon. If the team continues on its current path, then this is only the beginning.

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But what a beginning it’s already become. The Flames will be playing hockey in the spring once again, and it’s shaping up to be a good one. Welcome back.

  • slapshot444

    I simply can’t wait for the playoffs, I have my new Flames license plate to celebrate. I can’t see one first round possibility that would give us an issue, including Vegas, we are so much better. Bring on Dallas, Minny, Coyotes or maybe even the Av’s. Might even see a sweep.

    • Flamesfanforever

      I’d guess 5 1/2 . 5 wins and 1 ot loss or 5 reg Los and a ot loss for vegas. Or a combo of both. Example if Vegas loses tonight. It’s down to 4 1/2

  • deantheraven

    This team has a few guys having career years as individuals that have made everyone better. Only one of them is in contract year, but he’s the kind of player who can drag his team into the fight and carry them on his back if necessary. Chucky is going to be a big part of the Flames’ playoff success.

  • MontanaMan

    Great accomplishment for the club. No, there won’t be a Stanley Cup this year (we don’t think!) but the strides the team has made with a very young core has been remarkable. Tre did not add at the TDL but also didn’t sell the farm for future years. The next five years look great for the Flames.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    Ok, fine we are in the playoffs. I think we’re good enough to make it through the first, maybe second round, but please temper your enthusiast. We’re on the right track, but I think we’re missing a few pieces to grab the elusive Stanley Cup.
    But boy I can’t wait for the second season to begin. Go Flames Go!

    • slapshot444

      Totally,, I’m 100 per cent till we lose,, getting to the finals vs Tampa would be my goal in view of our goaltending and so many young forwards. However, stranger things have happened when a group really believes in “itself”, a synergy develops that can drive it beyond expectations, we might see that here.

  • RKD

    The worst kept secret hope we make a run because a lot of the guys are having career seasons, Gio’s never looked better. I have to tip my hat because they’ve kept that top spot for a while now. Hope we can win the division and have home ice for some big game 7 wins.

  • Weirddave

    Well, why not us? To get to the final at least. Here’s how we’ve done this year against the teams currently holding playoff spots:
    SJS 1-2, with one game left to play. Could still be a season split
    VGK 2-2
    ARI 3-1
    WPG 2-1
    NSH 2-1
    STL 1-2
    DAL 0-2 with one left to play

    Judging by that, all we have to look out for this the bottom contenders from the central. We’ve split (or can still split) or beaten everyone else in the season series this year.

    Look, I’m not saying we’re a shoe-in for the final, of course not, it’s playoff hockey. But it’s not like we’re tiptoeing in on April 6th either. We clinched a spot the day after Tampa clinched theirs, and they’re ungodly good this year (but…that also means they have a much harder row to plow to make it to the final against strong East teams too). So…

    Why not us?

  • buts

    The goal is to win the Stanley cup. So making the playoffs is one step towards that goal. First place or last playoff spot in the league/division means squat. It’s win the trophy or nothing.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I just watched Markstrom steal 2 points for the Canuks against Dallas, which included stopping Benn, Seguin, and Radulov in the shootout. When did VANCOUVER get elite goaltending?

  • Rookie Veteran

    I understand that we’re still 9 games away from the beginning of the playoffs but as soon as NYI scored their OT goal I attached the Flames flag on my car. Sad thing is I’ve been out and about tonight and seen ZERO flames flag on the streets. I can’t be the only Flames enthusiast/die hard fan out there..

  • magoo sassybone

    I’m stoked; it might be a perfunctory hurdle but we made it, and it’s more than that to me. I’m just a fan and I’ve cheered and I’ve cursed, but it really has been just a huge amount of fun to watch this team this year.

  • CalgaryBornandRaised

    This is most enjoyment I’ve had watching a Flames team in the last ten years, even more so than the Find away Flames year. Thank you Tre, you kept your promise to us to make the Flames better and they delivered…..cannot wait for April