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A First Glance at the Western Conference Playoff Picture

It’s already a tight race and we’re only halfway into the season

Chicago Blackhawks v Calgary Flames Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

As we hit the halfway mark of the Calgary Flames 2017-18 season, the playoff picture is starting to come into focus. The value of every single game is increasing and will continue to increase down the stretch.

Heading into Monday’s action, the Flames sit at 21-16-4 for 46 points and are 12th in the Western Conference. Now usually you’d say “Oh, they’re 12th? They’re so far behind!”, but not in this year’s tight Western Conference.

In fact, there is one measly point separating 8th and 12th in the West, that’s five teams separated by just one point! Not to mention the San Jose Sharks are at 48 points, which gives six teams separated by two points.

Here’s a look at the current wild card race, which has the Colorado Avalanche sitting in the final playoff spot with 47 points in 41 games.

It’s very tight, so games against each of these opponents will matter a lot. This makes the Flames last second victory over Anaheim on Saturday even more impressive because they were able to make up two big points on the Ducks and now have two games in hand as well.

Of course now Tuesday’s game against the Wild is their next most important game of the year as a Flames victory would allow them to leapfrog all of these teams into a playoff spot.

The Flames will need to take care of business of these opponents to give them the best shot at making the playoffs this season. Here’s a look at how they’ve done against each team and how many matchups they have left:

Flames Record vs Wild Card Teams

Opponent Record vs Games Left
Opponent Record vs Games Left
Colorado 1-0-0 (2) in CGY, in COL
Minnesota 0-1-1 (1) in MIN
Anaheim 2-1-0 (1) in CGY
Chicago 1-0-0 (2) in CGY, in CHI

Each team presents a different challenge for the Flames. The Avalanche have taken off since the Matt Duchene trade, and Nathan Mackinnon is absolutely tearing up the NHL. The Wild are always a challenging team, especially with Devan Dubnyk when he’s on his game. The Ducks and the Blackhawks have the skill and experience to make late season runs.

Once we get further into January, I’ll start up the Flames Playoff Updates again like I did last season. For those wanting to know, currently gives the Flames a 29.3% chance of making the playoffs, but don’t worry, last year after the all-star break it was 26.2%.

25 of the Flames final 41 games are against teams currently in the playoff picture so it’ll be tough sledding for the Flames. I guess the main takeaway from this is that the Flames can make the playoffs, but it certainly won’t be easy.

But would you expect the Flames to do it any other way? Let’s gear up for a fun second half!


Which other team in the Wild Card Race poses the biggest threat to take the final spot?

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