Calgary might almost be buried with only four games remaining compared to six for the Hawks and seven for the Stars. But the Flames have an easy schedule and could conceivably garner all eight points available to them. Even so, they will need some help to get in.
The Hawks’ main rival right now is the Stars. They can close the gap on Thursday when they play in San Jose but no matter the outcome, the Hawks will remain the No. 8 seed heading into Friday’s game in Columbus. The Stars also have a fairly easy finish though they play seven games in the final 11 days of the season. The Hawks have six in 10 days.
Nashville is the No. 7 seed after being jumped by Anaheim. They are two points ahead of the Hawks and have played one more game. It will be two extra games after Thursday’s contest in Colorado. If the playoffs started today, the Hawks would face the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks in the opening round.