Michael Cammalleri gets a chance to centre the top line with Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla in an effort to spark the Calgary Flames playoff run. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
To update, the purpose of this particular semi-regular post is just to do a quick update for everyone on the likelihood of the Calgary Flames making the playoffs. Ever since the organization made it abundantly clear that they would "go for it" I thought it would be nice to keep M&G readers apprised of the ongoing chase. The title "Embrace the Chase" simply refers to the fact that regardless of your belief on the direction of the team, you should probably just embrace the fact the team's going for it and enjoy the up and down ride.
Let's hope the Flames can find that upswing again as the recent four-game home stand was most certainly a down slide. Heading into the week at home the Flames were sitting alone in the organizations coveted 8 hole and facing a stretch of winnable games. 6 out of 8 points would be great, 5 out of 8 was perfectly reasonable and 4 out of 8 was, hopefully, worst case scenario. Well, they managed to outdo themselves with that one, scrounging together a measly 2 points amongst some very uninspired play.
Couple that with the roller-coaster week of General Manager Jay Feaster, culminating in the team holding steady throughout the trade deadline didn't exactly inspire Flames faithful and you've got the perfect storm of angst pointed towards the team from the fans.
Despite all of this, the fact remains that playoffs are still very much achievable for this team should they decide to step up and take it.
- The Flames have 19 games remaining, starting with a back-to-back mini road trip in Phoenix and then Anaheim. One, the hottest team in the NHL and the other... well, they're only 6-2-2 against the Flames and haven't lost at home to them since Large.
- Of those 19 games, 11 home, 9 road. 13 games against direct playoff competition, 3 must-win games against the bottom-feeders of the NHL and an unfortunate home and home vs the Canucks nearing the end of the season. This is a favorable schedule for the team, can't ask for much more.
- Dallas holds onto 8th spot with 70 points and a .555 points percentage. That has them on pace for 91 points as even despite the increase in 3 point games down the stretch, we haven't seen much change in the pace for 8th.
- The Flames are now trailing a lot of the competition in the ROW first tie-break so in order for them to finish with 92 points and finish ahead of the current pace of the Dallas Stars they'll need to go roughly 11-5-3 for a points percentage of .658. To put that in perspective, the Boston Bruins current points percentage is .631.
- Sports Club Stats lists the Flames playoff chances as 19.8% today. They were as high as nearly 45% last Saturday night.
Had you told Flames fans following the Blair Jones/Mikael Backlund injuries that they would be within 3 points of 8th when re-enforcements started returning, I think they'd of taken it. Unfortunately, the return of Curtis Glencross and Derek Smith thus far hasn't helped turn the teams fortunes.
It hasn't been announced yet, but it appears David Moss will return to action tomorrow against Phoenix as he's been skating on a line with Olli Jokinen and Glencross, reuniting a once-productive line. That pushes Michael Cammalleri up to centre the Alex Tanguay, Jarome Iginla line in what could be the beginning of an audition for that spot moving forward.
Now, if the top line can't generate more scoring chances and a better possession rate with those three on the top line... well, to sign or not to sign the likes of Moss/Comeau/Stempniak will be the least of Feaster's worries.