The Calgary Flames still have some fight left.
The Flames, on the outside looking into the Stanley Cup Playoff picture, have been given new life by way of a 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings coupled with the Winnipeg Jets’ 3-0 loss against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.
“Big two points,” keeper Jacob Markstrom said. “Put them in the books and then go back to work.”
The swing, which closed Calgary’s gap to two points behind Winnipeg for the second wild card berth into the playoffs from the Western Conference, nearly doubled the Saddledome-dwellers playoff projection.
The Flames were projected to have an 18.4% shot on Tuesday morning. They awoke Wednesday with a statistically significant 31.5% chance, according to popular analytics site MoneyPuck.
MoneyPuck projected the Flames to have just a 10.3% five days ago.
The Jets currently hold down the second wild card by way of a 41-31-3 record for 85 points and a .567 points percentage. The Flames, on the other hand, sit a pair of points back with a 34-26-15 record for 83 points and a .553 points percentage.
“We’ve got to be a desperate team,” Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness told media after their latest setback. “It’s down to crunch time. We’ve just got to embrace that fight and embrace it together as a group and keep fighting. Fight with each other and put it all out there. That’s all we can do.
“The inconsistencies with some of our players is hurting us. Some of these guys think they’re giving us everything in their tank. They’re dreaming. We have a lot of guys in there giving us everything they can. We just need a few more guys to jump on board.”
The Nashville Predators still lurk in the equation, too, with a 37-28-8 record for 82 points and a .562 points percentage — nine digits higher than the Flames. Nashville has played two fewer games than Calgary or Winnipeg.
Slowly but surely, ground is closing.
Winnipeg is 5-5-0 in their past 10 games, including back-to-back losses. Calgary has made up a pair of points over that long haul by way of a 5-3-2 record.
Time, however, is ticking.
Seven games remain for each of the two clubs, with the pair going head-to-head in a critical, potentially season-defining clash on Wednesday, April 5. It’ll serve as the second of a home-and-away back-to-back for the Flames, who will travel to Winnipeg to play the well-rested Jets.
Calgary does boast another advantage: the strength of schedule.
The Flames have the easiest course through their remaining seven skates on the docket, according to Tanathon, which includes games against the Chicago Blackhawks, Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, and a pair against the Vancouver Canucks.
By comparison, the Jets have the 15th-hardest remaining campaign, which includes contests with the Colorado Avalanche, New Jersey Devils, and Minnesota Wild.
So there’s a chance.
And those odds seem to be growing.