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The Calgary Flames are in a three-horse race for the final Western Conference playoff spot

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Photo credit:Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
10 months ago
Friends, as we head into the final week of the 2022-23 regular season, three teams are separated by one point for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators are neck-and-neck(-and-neck) for the second wild-card playoff spot.
Let’s delve into how the race is shaping up right now.

The standings

Games LeftPts (Max)RW (Max)ROW (Max)W (Max)
Jets489 (97)33 (37)42 (46)43 (47)
Flames389 (95)30 (33)35 (38)37 (40)
Predators488 (96)29 (33)35 (39)40 (44)
If two or more teams are tied in points at the end of the season, the following are used to break the tie (in order):
  1. Regulation wins (RW)
  2. Regulation and overtime wins (ROW)
  3. Wins of all kinds (W)
  4. Points in games between the tied teams
    1. Because some teams play uneven amounts of games, the first game hosted in the city that hosted the “extra” game is dropped off.
    2. If more than two teams are tied, they look at points percentage in head-to-head games.
  5. Goal differential
  6. Goals for
The Jets have clinched the tiebreaker on both the Flames and Predators via regulation/overtime wins and would finish ahead of either team if they tied in points. The tiebreaker between the Flames and Predators is still up in the air because either team could conceivably hold an edge in regulation or regulation/overtime wins at the end of the season.
If there’s a three-way tie in points, Winnipeg would make the playoffs.

The (remaining) schedule

  • Apr. 8 (Sat.): Predators at Jets (5pm MT; SNW/City), Flames at Canucks (8pm MT; CBC/SN/City)
  • Apr. 10 (Mon.): Sharks at Jets (5pm MT; SNW), Predators at Flames (7:30pm MT; SNW/SN1)
  • Apr. 11 (Tues.): Jets at Wild (6pm MT)
  • Apr. 12 (Wed.): Sharks at Flames (8pm MT, SNW/SN1)
  • Apr. 13 (Thu.): Wild at Predators (6pm MT), Jets at Avalanche (6pm MT)
  • Apr. 14 (Fri.): Avalanche at Predators (6pm MT)

The math

The Flames make the playoffs if:
  • The Flames earn and/or the Jets fail to earn 9 combined possible points
  • The Flames earn and/or the Predators fail to earn 8 combined possible points
The Jets make the playoffs if:
  • The Jets earn and/or the Flames fail to earn 6 combined possible points
  • The Jets earn and/or the Predators fail to earn 7 combined possible points
The Predators make the playoffs if:
  • The Predators earn and/or the Flames fail to earn 8 combined possible points
  • The Predators earn and/or the Jets fail to earn 10 combined possible points
Based on their respective schedules, each team still has a viable path to the playoffs. The Jets are the only one of the three teams that wouldn’t need one of the other teams to lose another game (aside from games with the Jets) to qualify for the playoffs. Both the Flames and Predators would need help from elsewhere to qualify.

The best-case scenario for the Flames

  • Nashville (over Winnipeg) and Calgary (over Vancouver) regulation wins on Saturday
  • San Jose (over Winnipeg) and Calgary (over Nashville) regulation wins on Monday
  • A Minnesota (over Winnipeg) regulation win on Tuesday
  • A Calgary (over San Jose) regulation win on Wednesday
These outcomes would make Thursday and Friday’s remaining games irrelevant, as the Flames would have clinched a playoff spot.

The worst-case scenario for the Flames

  • A Winnipeg overtime win (over Nashville) and Vancouver regulation win (over Calgary) on Saturday
  • A Winnipeg win of any type (over San Jose) and a Nashville regulation win (over Calgary) on Monday
At this point, the Flames would be unable to catch Winnipeg and they would be eliminated from post-season contention.
Based on how this season has unfolded for all three teams, it seems that the likely scenario is that nothing is settled definitely by the time the Flames play San Jose on Wednesday and everybody involved sits nervously during Thursday’s (and possibly Friday’s) games.

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