NHL playoffs 2019: Flames clinch top spot in Western Conference

The road to the Stanley Cup Final will go through Calgary.

The Flames (49-23-7) clinched the top spot in the Pacific Division and Western Conference overall with its 5-3 win over the Sharks on Sunday.

The win also pushed the Flames eight points ahead of the Sharks (44-26-9), who are now second in the Pacific Division with three games left in the regular season.

“We’ve had a good year, a good regular season, but we know the work lies ahead in the playoffs,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said, via NHL.com. “But we won’t take this for granted. It’s an accomplishment by our team to finish first in the West. It’s not an easy thing to do.”

It marks the first time Calgary has won its division since 2006 and the first time it has returned to the playoffs since 2017, when it lost in the first round to the Ducks. It also marks the first time since 1990 the team has earned the top spot in the West.

“It’s huge,” Sean Monahan said. “I’ve been here a long time now and it’s tough enough to make it to the playoffs, so I think to do what we did is pretty special and it’s something I’ll always remember.

“We’ve got a lot of work of ahead of us, and as a group we know what we’re in for.”

For the start of the playoffs, the Flames will open play against the second wild card from the West.