The Calgary Flames are officially the best in the West. By way of their win on Sunday night over the San Jose Sharks, the Flames have clinched first place in both the Pacific Division and Western Conference.
The two clinches tonight have implications on home ice for the Flames during the postseason.
- Clinching first in the Pacific Division guarantees them home ice for the first two rounds of the playoffs (should they qualify), as those series are played within the Pacific bracket.
- Clinching first in the Western Conference guarantees them home ice for the Western Conference Final (should they qualify).
Considering that having home ice means hosting up to four games during a series – and having last change – it could be a significant advantage for the Flames going forward.
Tonight’s results mean that the Flames will win their first division title in 13 seasons (2005-06) and their best in-conference finish since 1989-90. It’s their seventh division title in franchise history and fourth conference regular season title.
With their playoff position sewn up, the last three games of the regular season are functionally meaningless for the Flames. With the club carrying five extra healthy bodies, plus Sam Bennett, expect to start seeing some new faces in the lineup as early as Monday night in Los Angeles.