As you'll see, the sky isn't nearly as cloudy as it may seem.
As for the Sharks -- tied in points with Calgary, the Flames also have two games in hand on them and own the tie-breaker so again, things are very much in Calgary's control.
So over the last 48 hours, with the Jets only mustering one point out of Toronto on Saturday and the Sharks losing to Los Angeles in the outdoor game that night, Calgary's playoff chances have actually improved despite falling out a playoff spot yesterday with Minnesota's victory.
For me, those two teams have solidified themselves as locks to make the post-season in the Western Conference and it would not surprise me nor should it concern Flames fans if they are beyond reach in no time.
Here's a team that has played a lot of post-season hockey lately and what they're building towards is peaking in May, not in January. They've demonstrated before it's all about just getting in and for them, the urgency kicked in once they arrived briefly in 12th place in the conference a couple weeks ago. I would be shocked if the Kings finish anywhere other than second in the Pacific Division. Heck, first place could still be within reach if Anaheim falters.
If you're wondering if Dubnyk is a flash-in-the-pan, he's been doing this all season. It came without the same fanfare given the lousy team in front of him in Arizona but Dubynk was also very good with the Coyotes before the Wild pulled off the heist of the century by plucking him out of the desert for a third round draft pick. His cumulative numbers on the season are not far behind Pekka Rinne, Carey Price, and Marc-Andre Fleury. Welcome to the Vezina discussion, Devan.
The way those clubs are rolling, it will not be the Kings and Wild, who will keep the Flames out of the post-season. Instead, Calgary will need to beat out two of Winnipeg, San Jose and I'd put Vancouver in that mix also. It won't take 100 points to get in but as I explained a couple weeks ago in this piece, I'm sticking with my guess of 95 points. The playoff spots up for grabs, as I see it, are third place in the Pacific and the second wild card spot.
As well, don't forget that Ducks loss was the first time all season Calgary has blown a third period lead so this is hardly a trend. Every team in the NHL has coughed up a third period lead at least once this year except for Chicago.
- October 9-19 - Six-Gamer (included tough stops in Stl, Chi, Nsh, Wpg), went 4-2-0
- November 2-10 - Five-Gamer (included tough stops in Mtl, Wsh, TB), went 3-2-0
- January 10-21 - Five-Gamer (included tough stops in Van, SJ, LA, Ana), went 4-1-0
- Canucks - 23 games left, 13 at home, 10 vs non-playoff teams, plus Wpg (2), SJ (2)
- Flames - 23 games left, 9 at home, 12 vs. non-playoff teams, plus Wpg
- Jets - 21 games left, 12 at home, 5 vs. non-playoff teams, plus Van (2), SJ, Cal
- Sharks - 21 games left, 10 at home, 9 vs non-playoff teams, plus Van (2), Wpg
If you look at that, Calgary -- from an opponent perspective (number of non-playoff teams faced) and Vancouver -- from a home-road split perspective, have the easiest schedules left.
The coaching staff, the players, they always keep saying the same thing over and over. You can't get too high and you can't get too low. It's as cliché as it gets but as a fan, it also doubles as some sage advice. Still a long, long way to go.
Recent Related Flames Reading
- Fifty Days of 2015: Reflecting on the Calgary Flames Calendar Year so Far - According to the Chinese zodiac, 2015 is the year of the sheep. In that case, perhaps it's supposed to be pronounced Lance Baa-ma. We're 50 days into the calendar year and as you'll see, a case could be made that Lance Bouma has been the Calgary Flames best forward so far in 2015.
- The Cardiac Kids: Fun Facts About the Third Period Comebacks - A comprehensive look back at the Flames 10 come-from-behind victories. Also included are a bunch of fun facts that will make you go "hmm..." and a look at the historical significance of it all.
- Eight From 80 Feet - Glencross Debate, Tie-Breaker Status, and More - Edition six of my eight Flames thoughts broaches a number of topics from what to do with Curtis Glencross, how to deal with Sam Bennett, and the state of the Flames tie-breaker situation with surrounding teams just in case they finish up even.
- How Many Points Will it Take to Make the Playoffs in the West? - What's the number going to be? Will it be 91 last last year, or 92 based on current projections? Taking three factors into consideration, I fearless predict exactly how many points teams will need to make the playoffs.
- So Close They Can Taste It: Flames Vets Thirsty for a Return to Playoffs - Eighteen lousy, stinkin' days. Over the past three seasons prior to this one, that's how many days total the Calgary Flames found themselves in a playoff spot. But this year has been different and Giordano, Glencross and Stajan talk about the fun had so far and what to expect down the stretch.
- The 411 on What the Flames Can do and May do with Sam Bennett - Inquiring minds what to know what is the plan for the team's top prospect, who is entering the final stages of his recovery from shoulder surgery. Here's a summary of what the Flames CAN do along with some thinking out loud around what they MAY do.