In the end, it’s the Avalanche.
The Calgary Flames had to know one of the teams they were chasing would eventually start to stumble.
Turns out it’s the team which has been the Northwest Division’s most pleasant surprise, the Colorado Avalanche.
Starting with Calgary’s 3-2 win in Denver on St. Patrick’s Day, the Avalanche have limped to a 1-4-1 record. The lone win and overtime loss came during a home-and-home set with the Los Angeles Kings.
Curiously, the Kings also remain in Calgary’s sights.
As a result of Colorado’s struggles over the past couple of weeks, the Flames are now four back of the Avs with six games to play.
(Those disappointing defeats to the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins on the most recent road trip sure look worse now.)
Colorado has seven games remaining, starting with a Wednesday night home clash against the Anaheim Ducks.
Bigger on the books, though, is Friday night’s game in Denver when the Flames play their final clash with the Avs.
Colorado has won four of the first five meetings, and therefore has claimed the season series, so Calgary would need more wins to advance if they ended up tied in the standings.
As for the Kings, the Flames are in dire need of help from some seemingly unlikely sources to have a hope of reeling them in.
Los Angeles has a pair of games against the Anaheim Ducks, who the Kings have bounced in three of the four previous meetings, plus a clash with the cellar-dwelling Edmonton Oilers among the eight games left heading into Monday night’s trip to Minnesota.
For those who love to look at the horizon, here’s an interesting way it could all shake down.
If the Flames cobble together a winning streak during what stacks up to be a tough schedule, their hopes could all come down to the final Sunday of the regular season.
Colorado plays host to the Kings to finish the season.