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NHL Western Conference Playoff Update (Jan 27)

A lot of teams are separated by a few points

Calgary Flames v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

For the second year in a row, the Flames are right in the middle of a pack of teams pushing for the final few playoff spots in the Western Conference. Last year we did a playoff update approximately every week and I’ll do the same this year as we look at how the Flames are doing, as well as the teams around them.

Four teams are currently tied with 57 points and there are seven teams fighting for four playoff spots all between 60 and 57 points. The stretch run of the season will be very entertaining!

We’ll look at both the divisional and wild-card playoff teams as well as the teams just outside the playoffs that are pushing.

*All playoff possibilities are from

Pacific Division Playoff Spots

Calgary Flames (25-16-8, 58 pts) 3rd in Pacific: Playoff Chances = 51.6%

Last Five Games: 1-0-4

Next Five Games: 30/01 vs VGK, 01/02 vs TB, 03/02 vs CHI, 06/02 at CHI, 08/02 at NJ

The Flames had a very odd 0-0-4 stretch between their five day break and the All-Star Game. They’ve had points in 11 straight games but will tested heavily following the break with games against the league’s top two teams followed by a pair against Chicago which starts a six game road trip against teams all in or just outside the playoffs.

San Jose Sharks (26-15-7, 59 pts) 2nd in Pacific: Playoff Chances = 75.4%

Last Five Games: 2-2-1

Next Five Games: 30/01 at PIT, 31/01 at DET, 02/02 at CBJ, 04/02 at CAR, 06/02 at COL

The Sharks playoff chances took a blow with Joe Thornton being put on the IR for a while with a knee injury. Thornton had the second most points on the Sharks at the time of his injury so they’ll have to adjust with him out. San Jose comes back from the break with a five game road trip.

Wild Card Playoff Spots

Dallas Stars (28-18-4, 60 pts) 1st Wild Card Spot: Playoff Chances = 72%

Last Five Games: 3-1-1

Next Five Games: 30/01 vs LA, 01/02 at ARI, 03/02 vs MIN, 05/02 vs NYR, 08/02 at CHI

Dallas has quietly had a nice bounceback season after an abysmal 2016-17 campaign. They are finally get decent goaltending from Ben Bishop and have the offensive skill to outscore their opponents consistently. Barring anything crazy, the Stars are a playoff team.

Colorado Avalanche (27-18-3, 57 pts) 2nd Wild Card Spot: Playoff Chances = 68.3%

Last Five Games: 3-2-0

Next Five Games: 30/01 at VAN, 01/02 at EDM, 03/02 at WPG, 06/02 vs SJ, 08/02 at STL

So yeah who had Colorado back in the running for a playoff spot AFTER trading Matt Duchene, yeah nobody did. A ten game winning streak really helped the Avs get into the conversation but they have since lost two in a row. Nathan MacKinnon is having an MVP calibre season for the Avs. Colorado already has five more wins than they did all last year.

Los Angeles Kings (26-18-5, 57 pts) 9th in West: Playoff Chances = 69.1%

Last Five Games: 2-3-0

Next Five Games: 30/01 at DAL, 01/02 at NSH, 03/02 vs ARI, 07/02 vs EDM, 09/02 at FLA

The Kings had a very cold month of January which featured a six game losing streak to fall outside of a playoff position. Expect the Kings to continue to push as the season continues.

Minnesota Wild (26-18-5, 57 pts) 10th in West: Playoff Chances = 36.7%

Last Five Games: 3-1-1

Next Five Games: 30/01 at CBJ, 02/02 vs VGK, 03/02 at DAL, 06/02 at STL, 08/02 vs ARI

The Wild are also right in the mix for a playoff spot as they are the third of four teams currently tied with 57 points. The Wild are consistently a playoff team and I wouldn’t expect anything less with Bruce Boudreau at the helm.

Anaheim Ducks (24-17-9, 57 pts) 11th in West: Playoff Chances = 39.1%

Last Five Games: 4-1-0

Next Five Games: 30/01 at BOS, 01/02 at OTT, 03/02 at MTL, 05/02 at TOR, 06/02 at BUF

The Ducks will return from their break for a five game swing to the Atlantic division. Anaheim has been playing well recently, going 8-3-1 in their last dozen games. The Ducks may not have all of the swagger they once did but are a still a very good team that suffered through a lot of injuries early in the year.