Flames path to the playoffs isn't pretty, but it's still possible

Apr 5 2023, 8:45 pm

Are the odds in the favour of the Calgary Flames?


Is there still a path to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Saddledome dwellers?


The Flames, who fumbled a 4-3 loss to the then last-place Chicago Blackhawks — one that torpedoed their odds nearly 20%, still have an opportunity to make a push for the postseason with a win against the team they’re tasked with chasing down in what’s undoubtedly their biggest game of the year.

Their season is all but extinguished if they don’t.

But should the Flames be successful in besting the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday, it’d move them into a tie for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference — albeit with Winnipeg having played one fewer game and just three remaining on the overall docket for Calgary.

The problem lies in the fact that the Flames can’t just tie their way in.

They’ve lost that right.

Calgary has to best the Jets for multiple reasons, including the fact the latter holds each of the first two tie-breakers, with more regulation wins (33 versus 29), and more regulation and overtime wins, at a 42-34 split.

“I mean, we can just control what we control,” forward Mikael Backlund told Flames TV Wednesday morning. “We’ve got to go out there, have a really big game tonight. If we win tonight, still a good chance for us. Yeah, we need some help. Looking down the stretch, they finish off with two tough games on the road. At the same time, we have to win all our games that are left. We know that.

“If we do that we’ve just got to hope we get some help.”

Even a win in Winnipeg requires help the rest of the way.

Should the Flames draw even to the Jets with a regulation victory, they’ll still need to snag a single point over their final three games — with the massive assumption Winnipeg will close out the season on a five-game losing streak.

MoneyPuck Playoff Odds - April 5

MoneyPuck Playoff Odds – April 5

Two points in the remaining three games gets them to 91, but a single win in the final four from the Jets ruins that thought.

Should Winnipeg simply play .500 hockey in their remaining four, that’d mean the Flames would have to net five of a possible remaining six points. In the event that the Jets land six points, either via a 3-1-0 record or a 2-0-2 mark, the Flames are eliminated altogether.

If the Flames only win two of three following a victorious match in Manitoba, that’d settle them on the season at 93 points, leaving Winnipeg the option of earning four points in four games to stay ahead of Calgary.

Wrinkle in the Nashville Predators, who have one fewer skate and sit at 86 points — one back of the Flames and three back of the Jets — and there’s even less margin of error for Calgary. Both the Predators and Flames sport identical .558 point percentages on the season.

Not the easiest route.

But, as Backlund mentioned, they’re going to need some assistance.

And with that, there remains a path to the postseason for the Saddledome dwellers.

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