A guess says it will take 55 points to make the playoffs in the NHL’s Western Conference. Maybe even 56. Which means the Calgary Flames are already in tough to make the second season. Having only accumulated 13 points through the first 15 games, including nine of those outings at home, the Flames need to compile a record akin to 19-10-4 the rest of the way just to be on the playoff bubble. Which means as they hit the one-third mark of the season, the Flames are already nearing must-win territory, even though players don’t like the thought of looking at such a big picture. “We need to just start winning games and racking up points,” winger Lee Stempniak said following Friday’s practice at the Saddledome. “We’ve given away too many games and not played well enough, but it’s tough to say, ‘If we don’t win three in a row, we’re dead in the water.’ ” The Flames may not be dead in the water if they don’t win their next three games, starting with Saturday’s clash with the Minnesota Wild (8 p.m., CBC), but if they don’t put together something of a winning streak, they’ll be up the creek without a paddle. In fact, if they don’t ring up some victories — say in three of their next four games — the Flames may as well start putting the wheels in motion for a firesale. Simply posting a .500 mark over the next couple of weeks won’t cut it. Before they know it, they’ll be halfway through the 48-game campaign and it would be too late to even think of reeling in a playoff spot.
Flames need wins now
Calgary Sun | Feb 23