Flames Seek to Retain Playoff Position Against the Senators Tonight

AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Larry MacDougal

8th place has never sounded so sweet.

This feeling of pure bliss was welcoming us Flames fans in on Monday after a win against the Chicago Blackhawks put the Flames back in a playoff position for the first time since October.

But Miss Playoff Position is a cruel, fickle b****, and the Flames will certainly not be getting any help from other Western Conference teams in this playoff race. The standings are as follows (via NHL.com):

  Western DIV GP W L OT Pts GF GA Diff Home Away S/O L10 Streak
1
NW 54 35 10 9 79 183 127 +56 19-3-5 16-7-4 2 – 5 6-1-3 Won 6
2
CEN 53 32 15 6 70 176 156 +20 16-7-4 16-8-2 2 – 2 5-4-1 Won 1
3
PAC 53 30 18 5 65 152 150 +2 16-7-4 14-11-1 4 – 4 5-5-0 Lost 3
4
PAC 54 29 19 6 64 152 144 +8 13-10-3 16-9-3 3 – 2 8-1-1 Won 4
5
CEN 54 28 19 7 63 141 129 +12 12-5-6 16-14-1 6 – 3 4-5-1 Lost 1
6
PAC 55 27 19 9 63 156 156 E 12-10-5 15-9-4 2 – 3 4-6-0 Won 2
7
PAC 54 29 21 4 62 146 150 -4 17-8-1 12-13-3 4 – 2 7-3-0 Won 1
8
NW 55 27 21 7 61 157 161 -4 15-9-2 12-12-5 7 – 5 7-1-2 Won 1
9
PAC 53 29 22 2 60 150 129 +21 17-9-1 12-13-1 6 – 1 6-3-1 Won 2
10
NW 52 27 20 5 59 135 138 -3 12-11-2 15-9-3 1 – 4 6-4-0 Lost 1
11
CEN 53 27 22 4 58 168 150 +18 16-13-0 11-9-4 3 – 2 5-4-1 Lost 2
12
CEN 53 26 22 5 57 145 163 -18 13-12-1 13-10-4 4 – 2 6-2-2 Won 3
13
CEN 52 24 20 8 56 140 154 -14 16-8-3 8-12-5 3 – 4 4-4-2 Won 1
14
NW 53 25 22 6 56 164 175 -11 14-13-3 11-9-3 3 – 0 3-7-0 Lost 4

As one can see, except for the top two teams and Edmonton (who aren’t included, for good reason), the race is tight all the way to 14th place. Some games of significance tonight include: SJS v. CBJ, NSH v. DET, COL v. MIN, PHX v. DAL, CHI v. EDM, and ANA v. VAN. As far as the standings go, Minnesota is the only team tonight that could take the Flames out the 8th spot with a win, assuming Calgary loses.
So what’s the game plan? Same as always; this is entirely up to the Flames. If they stick to what they’ve been doing, they should be able to hand the struggling Sens their 11th straight loss.
The only problem with this though is the loss of Alex Tanguay. Yes, at one of the worst times possible, the Flames have lost a top player (currently with 42 points, second to Iginla). Tanguay will be out indefinitely with a concussion, its origin unknown. This is a devastating blow but it also opens up an opportunity for Rene Bourque (taking Tanguay’s place on the top line) to get back on top of his game, rather than skating in slow motion. Hopefully the empty-netter against the Blackhawks sparked something in him.
**Update: Good news for Flames fans: Tanguay is out with a neck strain, not a concussion, and is listed as day-to-day.

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