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The stretch drive

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

As the end of the regular season approaches, the battle for playoff spots in the Western Conference has redefined the word tight.

Fourth through eighth place is separated by a mere six points and the two teams sitting just outside the bubble are, at most, two points away from eighth.

Here's a rundown of where the team sits now and what their final games look like:

The Flames

Points: 85

Conference standing: 10

Games remaining: 6

Current streak: Lost 3

Saturday, Mar. 26 vs. Edmonton at 8:00 PM MT (CBC, The FAN 960)

With two games against the NHL's worst team, the Flames have an excellent opportunity to pick up a much needed two points. Despite their ranking, the Oilers have been playing better thanks to a much more cavalier attitude so Calgary can't waltz into Rexall Place expecting an easy win. That being said, if they stick to their game plan, leaving Edmonton with at least a point would not surprise anyone. 

The Oilers

Points: 56

Conference placing: 15

Games remaining: 8

Current streak: Lost 2

Wednesday, Mar. 30 vs. Anaheim at 7:30 PM MT (TSN, The FAN 960)

By the time the last game of the month rolls around, the Ducks and Flames could very well be deadlocked. Both teams will desperately need the points in the final meeting of their four-game season series and the Flames will have home ice advantage to aid them in trying to knock out the Ducks from playoff contention.

The Ducks

Points: 87

Conference placing: 8

Games remaining: 8

Current streak: Lost 1

Friday, Apr. 1 vs. St. Louis at 6:00 PM MT (Sportsnet Calgary, The FAN 960)

The Flames have dominated the Blues this season, winning the first three games of the season series and outscoring their opponents 11-1. Calgary's 6-0 thumping of the Blues on Mar. 1 seemed to have killed any hopes of them making the postseason so the game isn't a proverbial four-point affair. With the Blues faltering late in the season, the Flames need to execute the same game they did in their first three. If they can do that, it could be an easy win to start the month.

St. Louis
The Blues

Points: 75

Conference placing: 13

Games remaining: 8

Current streak: Won 1

Sunday, Apr. 3 vs. Colorado at 6:00 PM MT (Sportsnet West, The FAN 960)

Teams that are out of the playoff race can become a big hassle for those chasing a spot late in the season thanks to their carefree approach to games. The Flames will need to clamp down defensively in this game so that the Avs aren't allowed to open it up to a run-and-gun affair.

The Avs

Points: 64

Conference placing: 14

Games remaining: 8

Current streak: Lost 1

Wednesday, Apr. 6 vs. Edmonton at 7:30 PM MT (Sportsnet West, The FAN 960)

The last edition of the Battle of Alberta promises to be a thriller as the Flames could be a single win or loss away from deciding if they make the postseason. The Oilers will undoubtedly want to play spoiler so they may not look like the League's worst when they walk into Scotiabank Saddledome. 

Points: 56

Conference placing: 15

Games remaining: 8

Current streak: Lost 2

Saturday, Apr. 9 vs. Vancouver at 8:00 PM MT (CBC, The FAN 960)

The Flames regular season closes with what may be a make-or-break game against the League-leading Canucks. Generally, the Flames have been able to hold their own against Vancouver this season, minus a 7-2 loss earlier in the year, and they'll need to be sharp against their divisional rivals if they want to end the year on a winning note.

The Canucks

Points: 107

Conference placing: 1

Games remaining: 7

Current streak: Won 2

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