Playoff race: Stars can move into top eight tonight

The Dallas Stars have a chance to move back into a playoff spot with a win tonight in St. Louis. The Stars put themselves in that position with last night’s win over Vancouver along with Columbus losing 2-1 at Los Angeles.

The win was big for the Stars. Every win is huge in a tight race, but they also bounced back admirably from Monday’s loss in Chicago.

While Columbus holds the eighth spot based on points right now, the Stars and Detroit Red Wings are tied for eighth when you look at points percentage.

They are tied with Detroit in points and both teams have played the same number of games, but the Stars hold that all important first tiebreaker, which is the regulation/overtime wins category. They lead that 20-18. The Stars and Red Wings both have four games prior to their meeting in the regular season finale in Dallas on April 27 and a lot can happen over that stretch, but there is still a good chance the final playoff spot in the West could be riding on that final game.

The Blue Jackets had a five game winning streak snapped with the loss to the Kings. Columbus still has a two point lead on the Stars and Red Wings, but they’ve played two more games than both those teams. They’re still in the thick of things, but they need help from other teams now.

The Coyotes lost in a shootout in St. Louis last night, but they did pick up a point. Phoenix is still in it, but barely. The Coyotes would have to win all five of their remaining five games to get to 54 points, and it’s probably going to take that much to get in.

The Blues moved into sixth place with the win over Phoenix. Minnesota, which lost 6-1 at San Jose, dropped to seventh.

Tonight’s games

The only one that matters in the battle from the Stars’ perspective is their game against St. Louis. As I mentioned earlier, they win and they are in the eighth spot with four games left on their schedule. Even if they don’t win, they still control their destiny. A win, though, and the grip on that destiny is a little bit stronger.

In case you are wondering, Detroit’s next game is Saturday at Vancouver.

Playoff chances

The Stars’ playoff chances went up considerably after last night’s games. Their chances are 40.3 percent, according to sportsclubstats.com.

Hockeyreference.com puts their chances at 39.2 percent in its Playoff Probabilities Report.

Rank Team GP W L OT Pts ROW Diff Yesterday Today
6 St. Louis 43 25 16 2 52 20 +8 vs. PHX, W 2-1 (SO) vs. DAL
7 Minnesota 44 24 17 3 51 20 E @ SJS, L 6-1
8 Columbus 45 21 17 7 49 16 -4 @ LAK, L 2-1
9 Dallas 43 22 18 3 47 20 -4 vs. VAN, W 5-1 @ STL
10 Detroit 43 20 16 7 47 18 -2
11 Phoenix 43 18 17 8 44 15 -5 @ STL, L 2-1 (SO)

Remaining schedules

Here are the remaining schedules for the teams ranked 6th through 11th in the West.

Team (6) STL (7) MIN (8) CBJ (9) DAL (10) DET (11) PHX
Points 52 51 49 47 47 44
ROW 20 20 16 20 18 15
GR 5 4 3 5 5 5
Home 4 3 1 2 3 2
Away 1 1 2 3 2 3
4/19 vs. DAL @ STL
4/20 @ VAN @ CHI
4/21 @ COL vs. CGY @ SJS @ LAK
4/22 vs. PHX @ DET
4/23 vs. COL vs. LAK @ SJS
4/24 vs. LAK vs. SJS
4/25 vs. CGY @ DAL vs. CBJ vs. NSH
4/26 vs. EDM vs. COL
4/27 vs. CHI @ COL vs. NSH vs. DET @  DAL @ ANA

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