SPORTS

Flames continue playoff push vs. Stars

03/25/2015 11:30 EDT | Updated 05/25/2015 05:59 EDT
The Calgary Flames will try to move a step closer to earning a playoff spot for the first time since 2009 when they host the Dallas Stars tonight. 

Here are three things to know ahead of the Flames matchup with the Stars. 

Plenty of motivation 

Both the Flames (40-27-6) and Stars (35-28-10) have a lot to play for tonight.

The Stars enter the night eight points back of the second wild card spot with nine games to play, while the Flames will be hoping to strengthen their hold on the third seed in the Pacific Division. Currently, Calgary and Los Angeles are tied with 86 points, but the Flames hold third place since they have more wins.

Calgary will be closing out a five-game homestand where they have gone 2-1-1.

Dallas has been hot since the all-star break and ranks second overall with 3.08 goals per game. However, Calgary has been finding the net too, averaging 2.88 goals per game, good for sixth in the league. 

A win for the Flames would put a serious dent in any hopes the Stars have of playing beyond April 11. 

The Flames might also want to win one for birthday boy Lance Bouma. Of course, Bouma did his part with a game winner against the Avalanche on Monday. 

A race to the finish

Despite a season-ending injury to Mark Giordano that Flames fans are probably tired of hearing about, the team has kept things together and is poised to clinch a playoff spot. 

But the playoff picture is jumbled. The Flames could realistically finish as high as second in the Pacific if they can catch the Canucks and are also in contention for a wild card spot if they fall out of the division race. 

After hosting the Stars tonight, the Flames will play their next five games on the road before coming home to finish out the final three games of the season.

Considering that the playoff picture seems to change virtually everyday, there is a very good chance that Calgary's fate won't be determined until the final horn sounds on the regular season. 

Their last game on the schedule, a meeting with Jets, could end up having serious implications for two Canadian teams trying to get to the post-season. 

Key performers 

Credit is due up and down the roster for what the Flames have accomplished this season, but it doesn't hurt to highlight a pair of outstanding performances. 

Johnny Gaudreau has been amazing. He leads all rookies in scoring with 57 points and an impressive 20 goals to his name. 

Gaudreau also happens to be a very entertaining player to watch.

The 21-year-old has logged significant ice time and isn't showing any signs of slowing down. 

Second-year centre Sean Mohahan has also given the Flames a big lift.

After tallying 22 goals and 12 assists as a rookie, the 20-year-old has already followed that up with 29 goals and 26 helpers.

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