Two weeks ago the Stars were in seventh place in the Western Conference. Anaheim and Nashville were on the outside looking in. The West was so close when I posted THIS I included teams from 3rd-10th. Oh, how things have changed.
The top three seeds are unreachable for Dallas, and the next three are probably out of reach too. That means we can safely say that the Stars sights should be realistically set on postseason spots seven and eight. This involves jumping over at least two teams. But since this is the Internet and not reality anything is possible.
Current standings per nhl.com:
A new tie-breaker wrinkle this year is the importance of wins in regulation and overtime
(ROW), not including wins that come by way of the shootout. Looking at the chart above it is apparent Dallas and Calgary need non-shootout wins. Not just for the points but for the tie-breaker implications.
Once again let’s take a deeper look into the remaining games for each team; Home (H), Away(A) and against rivals (r) with which they are jockeying for position. We will begin with places 4-6 in the standings.
- Los Angeles: 4 games remaining, 2H(2r) and 2A(1r). LA has a tough remaining schedule and have recently lost a couple of their top scorers, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. But they only need two points to lock into the playoffs.
- Phoenix: 3 games remaining, 1H(0r) and 2A(1r). Phoenix also has a tough schedule. They play in LA and then have a home-and-home with San Jose to close out the year. Of course gaining just two points would get them into the playoffs.
- Nashville: 3 games remaining, 2H(0r) and 1A(0r). Nashville has a pretty easy schedule as they do not play any teams who will make the playoffs. They should win their home games and would make the playoffs if they did so.
This brings us to spots 7-10 where the Stars would likely end up even if they ran the table.
- Anaheim: 3 games remaining, 2H(1r) and 1A(0r). Anaheim plays all their games in California with San Jose at home and then a home-and-home with LA to finish the year. If they need points they are there for the taking. If they split with the Kings and lose to San Jose they could be in trouble
- Chicago: 4 games remaining, 3H(0r) and 1A(or). The Blackhawks are tied for the most games left of anyone and could finish with 100 points. They do have a pretty tough schedule though with two games left against Detroit and another Eastern Conference playoff team in Montreal.
- Calgary: 2 games remaining, 2H(0r). Both games at home, but they are the Battle of Alberta against Edmonton and against the #1 seed Vancouver Canucks. Even if they won them both, they’d need some help to get in.
- Dallas: 4 games remaining, 2H(0r) and 2A(0r). Dallas has a relatively “easy” schedule. None of their last four games is against a playoff team. Winning out would leave them with 97 points and almost assuredly a playoff spot. They also play the final game of the NHL schedule on the road in Minnesota.
Anything can happen over the next week. Any of these teams (4-10) could falter and fall out of the playoffs. It would take a historic collapse but like we said, it’s the Internet and anything is possible. Hopefully a postseason in Dallas is a reality.
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