The Calgary Flames have been consistently surprising the entire NHL all season, far exceeding even the most extreme expectations. As the calendar changes to March, the Flames are in the playoff bubble and still playing meaningful games at this late stage of the season. After looking at the upcoming 10 games earlier, here is a brief look at the final 10 games for the Flames as the season enters its final quarter. I've broken this down into five game segments. Every game matters now!
Good News: We get to play both Edmonton and Phoen....Arizon.... the Coyotes during this crucial stretch.
Bad News: Difficult games against good teams, but hey they've pulled it out all year, why stop now?
Games 11-15 March 23 to March 30
- March 23: Colorado Avalanche @ Flames; Jarome Iginla makes his third return to the Saddledome, and like the last one, it won't be the love affair like his first game with the Bruins. It'll be business as the Flames can hopefully extinguish Colorado's playoff dreams. Just stay out of our way and we won't get mad at you Iggy.
- March 25: Dallas Stars @ Flames; The Flames play Dallas for the second of three times this season after they lost 2-1 back in December during the horrendous losing streak. Without Tyler Seguin, we hope Dallas will be running low on fumes and give the Flames a chance to end their playoff dreams, too.
- March 27: Flames @ Minnesota Wild; I'm going to say it now. This is going to be the game of the year up to this point. These two teams currently sit right beside each other in the playoff picture and this game will give one team a big edge. Hopefully the Flames will be able to solve Devan Dubnyk, who stole two games in Calgary this year. WATCH THIS GAME!
- March 29: Flames @ Nashville Predators; It seems like ages since Calgary played Nashville. And it has been with the last game occurring on Halloween. The Flames lead the season series 2-0 with one win in both cities. A sweep would be nice.
- March 30: Flames @ Dallas Stars; Would you look at that? The pesky Stars are on the schedule for the second time in six days. Hopefully the Flames won't be too tired after a tough game in Nashville, as it's the second of a back-to-back.
During these five games the Flames get to face four central division opponents. Calgary currently has a 6-5-1 record against these teams and hopefully they can improve that. Most importantly, the Flames MUST beat Minnesota in regulation. The Flames need to aim for six to eight points during this span to cement their position in the standings.
Games 16-20 April 2 to April 11
- April 2: Flames @ St. Louis Blues; Calgary takes on the Blues for the second time in the matter of weeks. This will be a tough game against a very good team in a loud arena. Expect the Flames to fight hard, as they have all season.
- April 4: Flames @ Edmonton Oilers; The Flames look to go 5-0 on the season against Edmonton and shouldn't have any problem as Edmonton will be going full out for McDavid in April.
- April 7: Arizona Coyotes @ Flames; The Flames face another McDavid-bound foe in the Coyotes as the Flames aim to also sweep their season series with Arizona.
- April 9: Los Angeles Kings @ Flames; This game could very well decide the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division. The Flames' final home game of the season will be a very exciting one as the matchup will definitely have a playoff like atmosphere. Calling it the GAME OF THE YEAR!
- April 11: Flames @ Winnipeg Jets; Calgary closes out their regular season with another matchup that could have huge playoff implications. This game could very well decide a wild card spot as the Flames and Jets are both battling it out right now. Calgary will be trying for yet another season sweep.
There is no fathomable excuse for the Flames to not get four points against Edmonton and Arizona. The Flames really need to get eight points in this stretch to make the postseason as they battle the Kings and Jets who are fighting for those final sports with Calgary. The last two games of the season are going to be the most exciting games since the Flames' last playoff appearance, as long as the Flames stay in the hunt.
The Flames need anywhere from 12-16 points during this final 10 game span in order to have a good shot at playoffs. These will be all tough match-ups as teams will be gearing up for playoffs or having players trying to win spots on their respective teams next year.
With the final 20 games considered, the Flames should aim to get around 25-30 points in order to have a really good shot at making the playoffs. Therefore, they need to win at least 12 or 13 games down the final stretch to make the playoffs. For us fans, let's gear up and get ready for an exciting stretch run!
Whether they end up making the playoffs or not this season, the Flames simply being in the mix has given us a reason to cheer on our team while also instilling a winning culture within their locker room. The rebuild is ahead of where many believed it would be and there is ample reason to believe that it can continue into next season. The culture that has been created by Bob Hartley and the rest of the Flames organization has given the Flames the push necessary this season. It has already been a very memorable season and a playoff berth would top it all off!