Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

The 2020 Playoff Chase: eight weeks to go

There’s just eight weeks to go until the end of the 2019-20 regular season. With roughly 24 games remaining on the docket, the Calgary Flames’ playoff hopes can be summarized as follows: they’re in the mix.

Let’s see where the Flames slot in and who’s chasing them in our weekly check-in.

The Pacific Division

GP Pct. Pts Reg W ROW This weekend
Canucks (P1) 58 .595 69 25 29 2/16 vs ANA
Oilers (P2) 56 .589 66 26 28 2/13 at TBL, 2/15 at FLA, 2/16 at CAR
Golden Knights (P3) 58 .552 64 22 25 2/13 vs STL, 2/15 vs NYI
Flames (WC1) 58 .552 64 19 23 2/13 at ANA, 2/15 vs CHI
Coyotes 59 .542 64 21 23 2/13 at OTT, 2/15 vs WSH
Ducks 56 .473 53 16 18 2/13 vs CGY, 2/16 at VAN
Sharks 56 .464 52 18 22 2/14 at WPG, 2/15 at MIN
Kings 58 .388 45 14 20 2/15 at COL

Notable Central teams

GP Pct. Pts Reg W ROW This weekend
Jets (WC2) 58 .543 63 22 26 2/14 vs SJS
Wild 55 .536 59 21 24 2/13 vs NYR, 2/15 vs SJS
Predators 56 .536 60 24 26 2/13 vs NYI, 2/15 at STL, 2/16 vs STL
Blackhawks 56 .509 58 18 22 2/15 at CGY, 2/16 at WPG

The tiebreakers are, in order:

  1. Points percentage.
  2. Regulation wins.
  3. Regulation and overtime wins (ROW).
  4. Wins of any kind.
  5. Points earned in head-to-head games between tied teams. (If they’ve played an uneven amount of games head-to-head, the first “extra” home game is thrown out.)
  6. Goal differential.
  7. Goals for.

Typically-speaking, it’s rare that tiebreakers go further than a couple levels down. But the “regulation wins” distinction is new this season, and the idea is to de-emphasize the shootout.

The race

Once more, we’re looking at points percentage because every team has played a weird number of games and it’s difficult to make apples-to-apples comparisons otherwise.

As with last week’s check-in, the Blues, Stars and Avalanche are locked into the Central’s divisional spots.

In the Pacific, currently Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers seem to be in good shape. Beyond there, Vegas holds down the final divisional spot – the Flames are tied in points but lose out on tiebreakers.

The wildcard spots are Calgary and Winnipeg, but Arizona is hot on their heels – though sliding, with just two wins in their last 10 outings. Nashville and Minnesota are further back and need to go on a bit of a hot streak to catch the pack.

The Flames are still in a tenuous position, but they play three games against teams well below them over the next several days – Chicago once and Anaheim twice – which could allow them to make their lives easier going forward. The challenging thing for the Flames is the low number of regulation wins they currently have – they’ll likely lose out to any team they tie with in points based on that tiebreaker, so it’s incumbent on them to finish ahead of everybody and find ways to earn points by hook or crook.