So...seven straight wins does really seem to help your playoff chances. Last week the Flames had only started moving into the Pacific Division playoff conversation, and now they’re tied with the Ducks and only two points behind Edmonton!
All % courtesy of sportsclubstats.com as we look at Wild Card and Divisional playoff spots.
Calgary Flames (36-26-4, 76 pts) 1st Wild Card Spot; Playoff Chances 92.4% (+18.6%)
Division Odds: Finishing 2nd 9%, Finishing 3rd 34%
Last Five Games: 5-0-0
Next Five Games: 09/03 vs MTL, 11/03 @ WPG, 13/03 vs PIT, 15/03 vs BOS, 17/03 vs DAL
When you’re on a seven game winning streak, there’s not much more that can be going right. Everything has been clicking for the Flames lately and their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is dropping almost nightly. Luckily this upcoming slate of games features East teams and West teams outside the playoff picture so there won’t be a lot of extra pressure to win or extra implications if they lose. Things continue to look very good for the Flames.
Option A: Wild Card Race
Perhaps this is one of the last Wild Card team updates as the Flames continue to pull further and further away from the teams below them.
St. Louis Blues (32-27-5,69 pts) 2nd Wild Card Spot; Playoff Chances 77.3% (-6.4%)
Last Five Games: 1-4-0
Next Five Games: 07/03 @ MIN, 10/03 vs ANA, 11/03 vs NYI, 13/03 @ LA, 15/03 @ ANA
Prior to a victory over league-worst Colorado on Sunday (who I’m pretty sure an Atom team could beat), the Blues had been struggling having lost five in a row and playing poorly. With Kevin Shattenkirk out the door, will the Blues be able to pull together and make a playoff push? According to our counterpart at St.Louis Game Time, making the playoffs may not be right for the Blues.
Los Angeles Kings (31-28-6, 68 pts) 9th in West; Playoff Chances 40.3% (-9.6%)
Last Five Games: 2-1-2
Next Five Games: 09/03 vs NSH, 11/03 vs WSH, 13/03 vs STL, 14/03 vs ARI, 16/03 vs BUF
My first reaction to the Kings acquiring Jarome Iginla...”Huh, that’s too bad. I really wanted to see him in the playoffs this year.” Things haven’t been great for the Kings lately but more than anything they’ve been victims of just how good the Flames have been over the last month or so. If I had to bet, I’d say they pass the Blues by the end of the year.
Option B: Pacific Division Spot
Thanks to an Anaheim loss to the Canucks on Sunday, the Flames are now tied with the Ducks although Anaheim does hold one game in hand. The teams meet twice before the end of the season, can’t wait!
Edmonton Oilers (35-22-8 , 78 pts) 2nd in Pacific; Playoff Chances 99.7% (+0.8%)
Division Odds: Finishing 2nd 60%, Finishing 3rd 19%
Last Five Games: 3-2-0
Next Five Games: 07/03 vs NYI, 10/03 vs PIT, 12/03 vs MTL, 14/03 vs DAL, 16/03 vs BOS
It pains me to admit this but the Oilers are a heck of a good hockey team. They’ve also just started an eight game homestand which will make them tough to catch. It will be interesting to see how they play down the stretch with a lot of inexperienced young guns.
Anaheim Ducks (33-22-10, 76 pts) 3rd in Pacific; Playoff Chances 95.5% (+0.2%)
Division Odds: Finishing 2nd 16%, Finishing 3rd 41%
Last Five Games: 2-3-0
Next Five Games: 07/03 vs NSH, 09/03 @ CHI, 10/03 @ STL, 12/03 vs WSH, 15/03 vs STL
With a loss to Nashville on Tuesday the Flames can pass the Ducks in the standings, something nobody thought could ever happen back when the Flames were ten points behind. Of course with Calgary visiting Anaheim once more this season, we could argue that we might as well give those two points to the Ducks now, but who knows? If any Flames team can win in that horrific building, it’ll be this team.
It was another terrific week for the Flames as they move into the final 15 games or so of the regular season. Following Thursday’s game against Montreal the schedule will condense to a checkerboard with a game every second night the rest of the way. I’ll save my next update for the 14th after the Penguins game. Until then, Go Flames Go!