Northwest: Flames still in the hunt for playoff slot

By Blake Benzel

Photo: A rematch of the Colorado Avalanche‘s 2-1 overtime win over the Calgary Flames takes place on Friday when the two teams collide in what could be a game with major playoff implications (courtesy of

Russell Lansford/Icon SMI)

It might not be much but, after Monday’s 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars, the Calgary Flames have a glimmer of hope with five games remaining in their season.

The Flames realize that the chances that they’ll be playing deep into April are slight but there is a chance that their season will extend beyond Apr. 7, small though it may be.

As of Mar. 27th, SportsClubStats.com listed the Flames’ playoff percentage as 19.4% with five games remaining in Calgary’s season using their “weighted method,” which takes into account opponent record and home ice advantage – the latter of which is something of extreme importance to the Flames.

Of their remaining five games, Calgary plays four in the friendly confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome, where they have the seventh-best home record (21-10-6) in the Western Conference. Throw in the fact that their record on the road (14-17-9) is ninth in the West and much less than stellar and you see just how important their schedule has become to them.

As it stands after their win over Dallas, the Flames sit two points back of seventh place, which happens to be Dallas, and from eighth, the Phoenix Coyotes, and three back from the current Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks. As far as games played, the Flames are even with the Coyotes, while Dallas, San Jose and Los Angeles (who sits one point ahead of Calgary in the ninth spot) all have a game in hand – something else that may hold significance once the dust settles on the season.

But the Flames know that, with five games remaining, they can only take care of their own business.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Flames forward Mike Cammalleri told the Calgary Herald after Monday’s win. “We won by one goal. Everyone is still counting us out.”

But, with their next two games being against teams that are directly ahead of them in the standings, it’s hard not to look at the standings and wonder.

On Wednesday, the Kings roll into Calgary and on Friday, it’s the Avalanche – both of whom currently sit one point ahead of the Flames in the standings. Two more wins before the Flames head out to Vancouver for a one-game road swing would be the shot of momentum that the team lost on their recent five-game losing streak.

Again, though, while we have the luxury of looking ahead and playing “What if?” the Flames focus has to be elsewhere.

Let’s not focus on April,” head coach Brent Sutter told the Herald. “Let’s just focus on each game and pick away at it. It doesn’t do us any good to scoreboard watch cause we have to win our games. Let’s just focus on ourselves.”

We are in this together and we know there is no easy task here, but we know it’s something that we can accomplish if we are really focused and stick together.”

In other words, you might just be able to consider the Calgary Flames to be the Lloyd Christmas of the NHL right now. Amidst all of the steep odds, there’s one thing that the party line seems to be uttering throughout it all.

So, you’re telling me there’s a chance!”

And, for Flames fans, that will likely be the attitude they adopt for their team’s final five games.

Northwest Division Notes

Minnesota-native David Eddy signed a two-year, entry level contract with the Calgary Flames last week. Eddy, who hails from the town of Woodbury and attended Woodbury High School, became the first Woodbury Royals player to sign an NHL contract. … The Wild could be missing Matt Cullen for the remainder of their season. Cullen broke his wrist this weekend in Minnesota’s 3-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. … The Vancouver Canucks revealed that Daniel Sedin indeed has a concussion after the elbow from Chicago Blackhawks‘ defenseman, Duncan Keith.