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Flames climb into wild card spot as Flyers squander similar chance

Calgary Flames v Philadelphia Flyers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 29: Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers gets tripped up by the stick of Dougie Hamilton #27 of the Calgary Flames during the second period at Wells Fargo Center on February 29, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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Heading into Wednesday’s game, both the Calgary Flames and Philadelphia Flyers were essentially a win for grabbing the last wild card spot in their respective conferences.*

The Flames essentially stepped on the Flyers’ heads to go up an extra rung on the ladder today. With a 3-1 win, Calgary ends the night in the West’s wild card spot while Philly lost a step or two.

It’s fair to wonder if the Flames will last long there, but really, that just cements that this was a key win:

West wild card ranks

1. Predators - 62 points in 56 games
2. Flames - 61 in 58

Kings - 60 in 55
Canucks - 56 in 57
Jets - 56 in 59
Stars - 54 in 58

Yep, it’s easy to envision the Kings climbing ahead of the Flames with those three extra games, but Calgary’s nonetheless in a better spot than they were yesterday. They could also conceivably benefit from, say, the Predators stumbling a bit.

Meanwhile, the Flyers really soothed Toronto’s wounds from the Maple Leafs’ frustrating loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets:

Abbreviated look at race for last wild card spot

Last spot: Maple Leafs - 63 points in 56 games

Flyers - 61 points in 57 games
Islanders - 60 points in 55 games
Panthers - 58 in 54 (in action later tonight vs. San Jose)
Devils - 58 in 56
Sabres - 58 in 57

With the New York Rangers more interested in stepping into the Metro’s top three than their wild card opponents considering their 75 standings points, many of these teams are eyeing that lone wild card spot.

The New York Islanders stand as one of the big winners in seeing the Maple Leafs and Flyers lose in regulation on Wednesday. It might feel strange to see the Flames hand the Flyers a fairly costly loss, but that’s how it goes when everything is so tight in both conferences.

* Technically, the Maple Leafs would lead the Flyers thanks to games in hand, but it would have been a virtual tie. The greater point remains that Philly could have made up some serious ground.