While the Flames have pushed themselves up the standings by winning four games in a row (never thought we would write that this season), the questions about the legitimacy of the team still remain.
The team has 54 points at the All Star break, having played 51 games. The benchmark for making the playoffs in the West is roughly 95 points. That leaves the Flames with 31 games to amass 41 points.
31 games means the Flames have the potential to collect 62 points. The Flames will need to get two points in at least 21 of those 31 games to make at least 41 points. That means winning 68% of the games remaining.
On the surface, looks like it isn't realistic.
Can we do it? How can we project?
Very simply. Of the 31 games remaining, let's say the Flames win every game they play against a team that isn't a division leader. Currently the division leaders are Vancouver, Detroit, and Dallas (and Philly, Tampa and Boston in the East). Of those 31 games remaining, we play a division leader six times. The team could afford 10 losses, so it would make the playoffs. This scenario, however, isn't very realistic.
So instead of winning against every team save division leaders, say we beat every team outside of our division, but we don't win a game against the Canucks, we beat the Oilers, but we split against the Avalanche. We take our 6 losses to division leaders, and since we play the Avalanche three more times this year, let's split that and say Calgary only loses one of those games. So we are at seven losses.
Let's go further. We think goal differential is a telling stat, and the only team out of the playoffs with a positive goal differential are the Kings, who sit one point out of the playoffs but have a goal differential of +19. We play the Kings two more times this season, so let's split those games. That's one more loss, to push us to eight. We still have a cushion for two losses.
And we probably will need that cushion, because we would still have to play Chicago twice, and we still have to play the Sharks twice, we still need to play the Ducks three more times, and we have to play the dreaded Coyotes twice.
That's nine games that could go either way. And that's us assuming we beat the Blues, Oilers, Thrashers, Senators, Canadiens, Blue Jackets, and the Predators every time we play them from here on out. If we split the nine games we think could go either way, we are out of the playoffs. If we lose more than two of them we are out of the playoffs.
Here is a visual representation of the above scenario, with the team only losing eight games. Why we included this is it will immediately show you that the team would need to go on multiple 5+ game winning streaks to make the playoffs, and the Flames have not yet shown the ability to do that.
Doesn't seem too plausible from this group. But since they have played themselves out of a lottery pick, you might as well start cheering for them to make the playoffs and catch lighting in a bottle. But by no means should Feaster trade away a draft pick to try and improve this club for the run, if that is what you were thinking. The risk of not making the playoffs is too great at this point to be taking gambles.
In other words, yeah, go ahead and feel good. The team is on a win streak. Just don't start planning the parade just yet.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.