Flames Weekly: Nail in the Playoff Coffin

Flames Weekly is our new series on how the Calgary Flames performed the previous week. Be sure to check in every Monday for our take on the week that was and find out which storylines and players took center stage. Feel free to use the comment section below to let us know how you thought the team performed this past week or to post any other ideas or questions you have about the Flames.

Monday Blues

Heading into this past week, the Flames somehow found themselves back in the playoff race after having beat the Montreal Canadiens in back-to-back games on April 23 and 24. With a win on Monday night, they would have been just two points behind the Habs for the final playoff spot in the Scotia North Division.

Elias Lindholm Calgary Flames
Elias Lindholm, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It wasn’t meant to be, however, as the Canadiens were able to walk away with a 2-1 regulation win, which put them six points ahead of the Flames. While there have been many crushing defeats for Calgary this season, this one certainly tops the charts. Like so many other times this year, they were unable to do much offensively, as Elias Lindholm accounted for their only goal on the night.

Shutting Down McDavid

While their playoff hopes took a serious blow after Monday night’s loss, the Flames insisted they were not giving up on this season and their play in Thursday night’s game versus the Edmonton Oilers proved just that. Not only were they able to walk away with a 3-1 win, but what was even more impressive was the fact they were able to hold Connor McDavid pointless on the night. Lindholm once again led the way with two goals, while Jacob Markstrom was sharp, stopping 30 of 31 shots.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to repeat that same valiant effort on Saturday night in a rematch versus the Oilers. This time, McDavid was unstoppable as he has been on so many occasions this season, scoring a goal and adding two assists in a 4-1 Oilers win. Once again, the offence was not there as on this night, Johnny Gaudreau scored the lone tally.

Playoff Probabilities

While it was a relatively quiet week for the Flames in terms of their schedule, it was a very impactful one. As of today, they sit eight points back of the Habs for the final playoff spot. They have just six games remaining on the year, meaning they can pick up a possible 12 points at most. Given how they have played this season, that seems extremely unlikely.

Even if they were to do that, the Habs also have six games remaining and would only need to pick up five points in that span. Though the Flames aren’t mathematically eliminated yet, it is only a matter of time at this point.

A Look Ahead

This week marks an even quieter schedule for the Flames, as they have just two games. Up first is a game versus the Winnipeg Jets, who they are 3-4-1 against so far this season. It will be interesting to see whether or not Darryl Sutter is able to get his players up for a game that doesn’t mean a whole lot for them.

Darryl Sutter
Darryl Sutter. (Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE)

If he isn’t able to, it could be an ugly result for the Flames, given that it is a huge game for the Jets. While they currently sit third in the division, they have been struggling as of late and find themselves just two points ahead of the Canadiens. Whoever ends up in the fourth spot will likely face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs, which is a task neither would like.

The Flames’ second and final game of the week will come on Sunday versus the Ottawa Senators. The young rebuilding team has struggled in the Scotia North Division this season, aside from games against the Flames. For reasons unknown, they have not had much of any success against the Sens this season, going just 2-5-1 through their first eight matches this year.

Once this season is over, you can look at the Flames’ lack of success against the Senators as a major reason, perhaps the main, as to why they missed out on the playoffs. Their provincial rivals in the Oilers feasted on the Senators this season, going 9-0-0, but for whatever reason, Calgary was not able to have that same success. We will see if they are able to figure things out against them on Sunday.