Each year it happens. A team with underlying metrics that suggest it is quite good falls short of the postseason. The game isn’t played on a spreadsheet, as they say.
This year, the Calgary Flames are in danger of becoming “that team.” The Flames trail Anaheim — their opponent tonight — by six points in the Pacific Division with seven games remaining. (The Ducks will play eight more times in the regular season, so they have a game in hand.) Given the current state of the Western Conference standings, Calgary needs to catch Anaheim to earn a spot in the playoffs. Don’t you just love the smell of must-win games in the morning?
Here’s what you need to know ahead of tonight’s critical clash.
All info as of Tuesday evening. Check back during the day and keep an eye on our Twitter handle for any updates.
Anaheim Ducks (-110) @ Calgary Flames (-110) | O/U 5.5
9:30 p.m. ET
Anomaly: The fact that Calgary is sitting outside of the playoff picture right now is surprising because the Flames’ possession numbers are quite good. No team in the NHL takes more shots than the Flames, who average 65.8 shot attempts (also known as Corsi) per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 (score + venue adjusted). They also own the third-best Corsi For % (shot attempt differential, used as a barometer for possession and also known as CF%) in the NHL at 5-on-5 (score + venue adjusted). The Ducks, who dealt with a litany of injury issues early in the year, rank 20th in CF% at 5-on-5 (score + venue adjusted). — Michael Leboff