While the NHL standings certainly show a disparity between the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference, it’s interesting to analyze just how big the separation is through the eyes of the second-from-bottom in the West, Calgary Flames.
The Flames sit on 69 points with a record of 31-36-7 through 74 games. In a season where Flames fans search high and low for reasons of optimism, the Flames do currently hold a winning record of sorts. Through 27 games played against the East heading into Sunday’s tilt against the Ottawa Senators, the Flames own a positive 13-10-4 record against their Eastern foes.
Correspondingly, that means the Flames possess a 18-26-3 record within their own conference. To get a grasp of what kind of record within the conference one needs to be competing for a playoff berth, it appears the final playoff spot in the West will go to one of the Dallas Stars or Phoenix Coyotes. The Stars own a strong 25-13-9 record within the conference while the Coyotes sit at 19-17-8.
It is clear the Flames have another notch or two to hit on their way to vying for a playoff spot. First, they must be able to hit that .500 mark against conference opponents (a la the Coyotes’ record) and then build on that and produce a higher winning percentage to truly compete.
Focusing on the positives for the Flames is the fact that they have taken 30 points through 27 games against the Eastern Conference. That mettle and mojo will no doubt be tested as the Flames are set to play their five remaining games against Eastern opponents on the road over the next nine days.