What’s the difference between 5 wins, anyway?
The way the standings sit right now, for the Flames, the difference between 5 wins means missing the playoffs or winning the Northwest Division title.
If that doesn’t seem right, allow me to explain. The only team that has secured a playoff spot as of today is Detroit. The Red Wings got their 101st point (and 9th consecutive 100+ point season) with their win in Columbus last night. Mathematically, the 9th Place team (Nashville) cannot catch Detroit, even if they won every single one of their last 13 games to finish their season.
The Flames, with 86 points would need 7 more wins to reach the 100 point plateau and secure a playoff berth. A combination of Flames wins or Nashville losses would make that number decrease.
The Vancouver Canucks beat Colorado last night, moving them to within 5 points of the Flames for the lead atop the Northwest Division. To guarantee 1st place in the NW, and secure 3rd place in the West heading into the playoffs, Calgary would need 12 of 13 wins to finish the season. Again, a combination of Flames wins and Canuck losses would achieve the same result.
But it’s interesting to see how things shape up each year. After a 7-game, make-or-break road trip and 13 games remaining in the season, the difference between missing the playoffs and being top in the NW is 5 wins. Ten points.
Since the probability of the 7th-9th place teams winning all of their next 12-13 games is pretty slim, the realistic numbers look a bit different. Realistically the Flames need about 5 more wins to secure a playoff spot, and about 8 wins to finish in 1st in the NW division.
Oh what a difference a road-trip win in Toronto and Atlanta would have made!