The Flames could clinch a playoff spot sometime this week
Photo credit:Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike9 months ago
Folks, the Calgary Flames began the season with a simple goal: to be a playoff team. Heading into their final 10 games of the regular season, they’re on the verge of achieving that goal.
The Flames could qualify for the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs as early as this week. Let’s walk through the various things they can clinch as they march towards the end of the season.
Here’s a quick rundown of how magic numbers and clinching scenarios work. The Flames have 97 points. When another team’s potential total points are less than 97 points – meaning that team cannot possibly tie the Flames in the standings – the Flames are guaranteed to finish ahead of them.
For the record, the six tiebreakers are:
- Regulation wins
- Regulation and overtime wins
- Wins (of any kind)
- Points earned head-to-head against other tied teams. (If they’ve played an odd number of games against each other, the earliest extra home game will be dropped.)
- Goal differential
- Goals for
For the Flames’ purposes, we only really care about teams in-division – the wildcard spots will likely both go to the Central Division. Three teams mathematically cannot catch the Flames: Seattle, Anaheim and San Jose. Vancouver can only get to 98 points, so they’re on the verge of not being able to catch the Flames either.
The Flames have 10 games remaining against the Kraken, Golden Knights, Coyotes, Blackhawks, Predators (twice), Stars, Canucks, Wild and Jets.
Clinching a divisional spot
The Los Angeles Kings can reach a maximum of 102 points. Their maximum of 38 regulation wins has already been surpassed by Calgary’s 39, so the Flames hold the standings tiebreaker.
Right now, the Flames’ magic number against Los Angeles is 2.5. Any combination of Flames wins or Los Angeles losses totalling 2.5 results in the Flames getting an X next to their name in the standings. This would guarantee the Flames a top three finish in the Pacific Division and, therefore, a post-season berth.
The Kings have eight games remaining. This spot could be locked up as early as Wednesday, but that would rely on the Kings losing their games on Tuesday and Wednesday (at least one of them in regulation) and the Flames beating Seattle on Tuesday.
Clinching first round home ice
The Vegas Golden Knights can reach a maximum of 102 points, with a maximum of 41 regulation wins. The Flames are three regulation wins (and/or Vegas losses) from holding the standings tiebreakers outright.
Right now, excluding the tiebreaker, the Flames’ magic number against Vegas is 3. Assuming the Flames have already clinched against Los Angeles, any combination of Flames wins or Vegas losses totalling 3 results in the Flames being guaranteed a top two finish in the Pacific Division and home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
The Golden Knights have nine games remaining. The Flames could lock this spot up before the weekend, especially considering the Flames play Vegas on Thursday. A Flames win in that game could be the decider.
Clinching the division
The Edmonton Oilers can reach a maximum of 108 points, with a maximum of 43 regulation wins. Any combination of five Flames wins or Edmonton losses give the Flames the standings tiebreaker.
Currently, the Flames’ magic number against Edmonton is 6. Assuming the Flames have already clinched against Vegas and Los Angeles, any combination of Flames wins or Edmonton losses totalling 6 clinches the Pacific Division title for Calgary. (This also guarantees the Flames home ice in the first two rounds of the playoffs.)
The Oilers have nine games remaining. If the Flames are destined to clinch the division, it likely won’t happen for a couple weeks.
The Flames haven’t clinched anything yet, but they can clinch a lot of things over the next couple weeks.
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