The Calgary Flames could actually make the playoffs
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike2 months ago
It’s safe to say that the 2022-23 season hasn’t exactly gone to plan for the Calgary Flames. They have set a league record for games lost when out-shooting their opposition by 10 or more shots. Their overtime record could charitably be described as underwhelming. They have yet to run a winning streak beyond three games.
Yet the Flames head into the final two weeks of the regular season still having a decent shot at qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
A standings snapshot
So here’s where things sit heading into the weekend:
In the event that Calgary or Nashville finish tied with Winnipeg in points, they probably lose the Regulation Wins (RW) tiebreaker to the Jets. So all that means is to finish ahead of them in the standings, either team would need to have more points than the Jets.
(A Calgary/Nashville tiebreaker scenario is much more chaotic, and we’ll discuss that at another time.)
The Flames are two points back of Winnipeg and games played are even. Nashville is three back of Winnipeg with two games in hand. The Flames play Winnipeg on Apr. 5 and Nashville on Apr. 10, while the Jets and Predators face off on Apr. 8. If the Flames can take care of business in their two head-to-head battles, they have a good chance.
Another thing in Calgary’s favour? Strength of schedule.
- The Flames’ seven remaining games are against Vancouver (twice), Anaheim, Chicago, Winnipeg, Nashville and San Jose. (That’s one current playoff team.)
- The Jets seven remaining games are against Detroit, New Jersey, Calgary, Nashville, San Jose, Minnesota and Colorado. (That’s three current playoff teams.)
- The Predators have nine games left, against Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Dallas, Vegas, Carolina, Winnipeg, Calgary, Minnesota and Colorado. (That’s seven current playoff teams.)
The Flames cannot rely on the out-of-town scoreboard, but if they simply take care of their own business, it seems probable based on the relative strength of schedules that they’ll get some help.
The Flames’ magic numbers to finish ahead of Winnipeg and Nashville are 8.5 on Winnipeg and 9 on Nashville. (Flames wins or Winnipeg/Nashville losses reduce those respective numbers by 1, overtime losses by 0.5.)
The Flames’ tragic numbers to finish behind Winnipeg and Nashville are 6.5 on Winnipeg and 8 on Nashville. (Winnipeg/Nashville wins or Calgary losses reduce those respective numbers by 1, overtime losses by 0.5.)
There’s no guarantee that the Flames make the playoffs. The odds are still against them if you look at betting markets or forecasts. But they’re in a position where, at the very least, the final seven games will be meaningful in the standings.
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