The Calgary Flames have been consistently surprising the entire NHL all season, far exceeding even the most extreme expectations. As the calendar changes to March, the Flames are on the playoff bubble and still playing meaningful games at this late stage of the season. Here is a brief look at the first 10 of the final 20 games for the Flames, as the season enters its final quarter. The games are broken into five game segments (Bob Hartley would be so proud). Also included is a points total the Flames should aim to achieve in those games.
Good News: The Flames get to play the Maple Laughs
Bad News: The Flames aren't very good against the East this year
Games 1-5; March 3 to March 11
- March 3: Flames @ Philadelphia Flyers; First meeting of the season between these two teams, both fighting for a playoff spot. Philadelphia won both meetings last season. Johnny Gaudreau plays his first NHL game in the city closest to his hometown.
- March 5: Flames @ Boston Bruins; The Flames won the first meeting back on Feb. 16 with that thrilling comeback, culminating in that crazy TJ Brodie overtime winner. However, Calgary hasn’t won in Boston since 2003, going 0-4 while being outscored 19-2.
- March 6: Flames @ Detroit Red Wings; The Red Wings won 3-2 in Calgary back in January and the Flames need some revenge at the Joe.
- March 8: Flames @ Ottawa Senators; The Flames take their road trip back to Canada to play the Senators. The Flames won 4-2 way back in November and attempt to duplicate that success as they wrap up their road trip as well as the span of four games in six nights.
- March 11: Anaheim Ducks @ Flames; The Flames return to the ‘Dome as they take on the Ducks. Big game for the Flames as they try to scorch the Ducks and get payback for the 6-3 loss prior to the road trip.
This span of games features Johnny Gaudreau’s homecoming as well as a chance for the rookies to visit the historic Joe Louis arena for the first time. The Flames need to aim for six to eight points during this span as they play good teams in some of the loudest buildings in the league.
Game 6-10; March 13 to March 21
- March 13: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Flames; The Leafs won the first meeting of the season. But that’s back before they decided to have a fire sale.
- March 14: Flames @ Colorado Avalanche; The Flames make their first trip this season to the Mile High City to take on their old pal Jarome Iginla. Calgary won the first meeting in overtime and you can expect a battle between these two former division rivals.
- March 17: St. Louis Blues @ Flames; These teams haven’t met since the third game of the season in what was a solid 4-1 victory by the Blues. Hopefully the Flames use that rest day after Colorado to fully recover for a tough test against an elite team. Jay Bouwmeester is back in town that night.
- March 19: Philadelphia Flyers @ Flames; Yeah, Philly again, see above for more info on the Philly Cheesesteaks.
- March 21: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Flames; This afternoon matinee involves the Flames trying to beat Columbus at home for the first time in the last four tries. You know the Flames have to win when the team they’re playing has the same name as an article of clothing. Clothing is flammable.
The Flames should be shooting for eight points on during this span since they're playing four teams outside the playoff picture. These are the games they have to win in order to be a true playoff team.
Overall the Flames should be aiming for around 15 points in these 10 games in order to make the postseason. These will be exciting games as all the teams continue to battle towards playoffs. Or some perhaps towards McDavid. With only three out of ten games against the West, this a stretch that probably won't make the season, but could easily break it.
Stay tuned for Part 2 soon!
by Michael MacGillivray