The Calgary Flames are going to the NHL Playoffs.
The Minnesota Wild’s loss on Sunday night guaranteed the Flames a place among the top 16 hockey teams of the 2018/2019 NHL season, landing them as one of the first to clinch a playoff berth with 20 days left in the regular season.
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The Flames, who have only seen the post-season seven times in the last 22 years, are also technically still in contention for the Presidents’ Trophy, sitting first in the Western Conference and second overall.
Only the Tampa Bay Lightning are ahead of them in points heading into the last three weeks of the season, though with the point spread being 114 to 95 in favour of the Lightning, the Flames will need to rally to take the top spot (and get seriously lucky) by winning all 10 of their remaining games and having the Lightning lose for the rest of the season.
Easy peasy, right?
Some pressure is being put on Calgary’s NHL team in the Western Conference as well, with the San Jose Sharks — also in the Pacific Division — sitting just one point behind with the same amount of games left.
The Winnipeg Jets (88 points), Nashville Predators (87 points), and Vegas Golden Knights (85 points) also are within reach to contest the Flames’ position at the top of the west.
The team currently has 10 games remaining, six of which will be played amid a Sea of Red at Calgary’s own Scotiabank Saddledome.
They’ll be playing the Winnipeg Jets on March 26 and the San Jose Sharks on March 31 — both crucial games that could either cement Calgary’s top spot or put their ideal playoff birth in hot water.
It’s clear that we’ll be seeing the Flames in the post-season, but the question now becomes: “Who will they be facing when the first playoff puck drops?”