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Western playoff picture: Ducks flying up the standings, Flames hopes take huge hit

Ray Emery, Curtis Glencross

Anaheim Ducks goalie Ray Emery, left, makes a save as Calgary Flames’ Curtis Glencross looks for the rebound during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Alberta, Wednesday March 30, 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Larry MacDougal)


Western Conference playoff race

z - 1. Vancouver - 111 pts
2. Detroit - 98 pts
3. San Jose - 97 pts
4. Phoenix - 95 pts
5. Los Angeles - 94 pts
6. Anaheim - 93 pts
7. Nashville - 92 pts
8. Chicago - 90 pts
9. Dallas - 87 pts
10. Calgary - 87 pts

z - clinched conference title
y - clinched division title
x - clinched playoff spot

St. Louis 10, Detroit 3

First and foremost, that is not a typo. The St. Louis Blues did, in fact, walk into Joe Louis Arena and promptly put up a touchdown and a field goal to beat the Red Wings by a football-like 10-3 score. The game showed the Blues are taking pride in competing for the rest of the season—at least fans can take comfort that their team isn’t packing it in. For the Wings, the loss dropped their record to 1-2-2 for their homestand. It’s no secret the team is dealing with injuries up and down their lineup, but there’s no excuse to give up 10 goals. Even if the back-up goaltender gives up 7 goals and his back-up allows 3 goals on 8 shots. There’s simply no excuse for that kind of performance at this time of year. For most of the season it seemed like they’d enter the playoffs as the #2 seed in the West, but now they have the Sharks only one point behind them. Not only have the Sharks closed the gap, but they also have a game in hand on Detroit. They may have clinched a playoff spot, but they haven’t clinched their seed yet.

Anaheim 4, Calgary 2

The Ducks went into a hostile environment and took care of business. There was an extremely controversial call that went against the Flames in the 2nd period that clearly changed the momentum of the game, but Anaheim still went into the Saddledome and earned the victory. The win pushes them all the way to the 6th seed in the Western Conference and only 2 points behind the 4th place Coyotes with a game in hand. For the Flames, this loss may prove to be the death-blow. They’re still not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but they’re three points out of the playoffs and everyone ahead of them has multiple games in hand. Making up three points wouldn’t be impossible with 4 games left—but each team they’re chasing has plenty of opportunities to increase the distance between themselves and the sinking Flames. Long story short: Calgary needed this one and they didn’t get it.