NHL Playoff Push: Flames fall out of playoff spot

The Calgary Flames need to bounce back on Friday.

The NHL playoff push is our daily look back and ahead at the post-season picture as teams position themselves for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

If the season ended today…

(M1) vs. (WC2)

(A1) vs. (WC1)

(A2) vs. (A3)

(M2) vs. (M3)

Note: The NHL changed the playoff format last season. Click here for full details.

east-standings-march27

Series we’d love to see: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings — It’s a battle for Steve Yzerman’s heart. The Lightning general manager played his entire NHL career with the Red Wings.

What’d I miss? The New York Rangers chased Andrew Hammond in a 5-1 rout of the Senators to reclaim the top seed in the Eastern Conference. With the win, the Rangers became the first team this season to clinch a playoff berth…Montreal dropped to the second seed following a 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Dustin Tokarski started in place of Carey Price and he allowed five goals on 22 shots…The Lightning couldn’t take advantage of a Canadiens loss as they fell 3-2 to the Nashville Predators. They remain one point out of the Atlantic Division lead…Detroit maintained their position despite losing 5-4 to the San Jose Sharks.

The Bruins picked up a point in an overtime loss to the Ducks, but were unable to move back into a playoff position…The Capitals beat the Devils in overtime to move within one point of the Penguins, who were outclassed in an ugly loss to the Carolina Hurricanes…The Islanders continued their recent skid with a 3-2 loss to Los Angeles. They have lost six of their last seven games…Florida kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 4-1 victory over the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs. They remain three points back of the second wild card spot.

Friday’s game to watch: Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Chicago Blackhawks — The Blue Jackets are the only Eastern Conference team in action riday night. However, the game has no impact on the playoff picture from an Eastern Conference standpoint.

The rest of tonight’s sked: N/A

Fun Fact: Matt Niskanen became the first Capitals player to score an overtime goal versus New Jersey since current Devils co-coach Adam Oates did so in January, 2000.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

If the season ended today…

(P1) vs. (WC2)

(C1) vs. (WC1)

(C2) vs. (C3)

(P2) vs. (P3)

west-standings-march27

Series we’d love to see: St. Louis vs. Chicago Blackhawks — The Blues haven’t been able to get out of the first round the past few years and would be in tough against a battle-tested Blackhawks squad. Can St. Louis find enough offence to make a deep playoff run?

What’d I miss? The Kings beat the Islanders to move back into a playoff position. They jumped past Calgary in the Pacific Division standings and lead the Flames by one point…Nashville moved to the top of the Central Division standings with a victory over the Lightning while the Ducks reclaimed the top seed in the conference after Ryan Getzlaf scored an overtime winner to beat Boston…The Jets got another stellar performance from Ondrej Pavelec to roll past the Price-less Canadiens…Colorado bounced back from a loss to Edmonton to beat Vancouver 4-1…San Jose beat Detroit in a wide open offensive affair but the Sharks’ playoff hopes still look like a long shot.

Friday’s game to watch: Calgary Flames vs. Minnesota Wild — Calgary will begin a five-game road trip with a matchup in Minnesota. The Flames fell out of a playoff spot Thursday after L.A. beat the Islanders. Calgary is one point back of Los Angeles in the Pacific Division and trail Winnipeg by three points in the wild card race. Jonas Hiller is expected to start for Calgary while Devan Dubnyk will start his 33rd consecutive game for the Wild. Minnesota is 2-3 in their past five home games but have won three straight overall.

The rest of tonight’s sked:
-Dallas Stars vs. Edmonton Oilers: Stars hanging by a thread in their late-season push.

-Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Chicago Blackhawks: Chicago will be without forwards Joakim Nordstrom and Daniel Carcillo.

Fun fact: Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec is 6-0-0 with .946 save percentage in his last seven home games.