Playoff race: April 23

The Detroit Red Wings beat Phoenix last night to move to within one point of No. 7 Minnesota and No. 8 Columbus and move two points ahead of the Stars, who are in tenth place.

The win was just the second in the last seven games for the Red Wings, and it kept them in control of their own fate in the playoff race. Detroit, which now has 50 points, has three games remaining on its schedule.

The Detroit victory wasn’t a big blow to the Stars, but it does reduce the Stars’ margin for error moving forward in the race.

The Coyotes, who are still mathematically alive, have basically no shot at this point. They are on the brink of elimination.

Tonight’s games

The Stars are at San Jose tonight and a win means they continue to control their destiny in the playoff race.

Even with the one point they would get in an overtime or shootout loss, they would lose control of their fate versus Detroit. A regulation loss would be a huge blow, since they would lose control against Columbus as well.

The bottom line is the Stars need a win tonight to stay in control of their fate, or they are going to have start scoreboard watching and cheering for other teams to knock off Detroit and Columbus.

Minnesota hosts Los Angeles. As I said yesterday, Minnesota is not out of the woods as far as locking up a playoff spot yet. The Wild are tied with Columbus at 51 points and just one point ahead of Detroit. The Wild still control their destiny, but a loss tonight to the Kings and thing start getting tight for them.

Playoff chances

Last night’s Detroit win didn’t really do much as far as the Stars’ playoff chances. Their chances went down slightly according to one site and up slightly according to another.

The Stars’ chances are 19.0 percent, down from 21.3 percent yesterday, according to sportsclubstats.com

Their chances are 22.1 percent, up from 21.6 percent yesterday, according to the Playoff Probabilities Report on hockeyreference.com.

Rank Team GP W L OT Pts ROW Diff Yesterday Today
7 Minnesota 45 24 18 3 51 20 -3   vs. LAK
8 Columbus 46 22 17 7 51 17 -3    
9 Detroit   45 21 16 8 50 19 +1 vs. PHX, W 4-0  
10 Dallas 45 22 19 4 48 20 -6   @ SJS
11 Phoenix 45 19 18 8 46 15 -8 @ DET, L 4-0  

Remaining schedules

Here are the remaining schedules for the teams ranked 7th through 11th in the Western Conference.

Team (7) MIN (8) CBJ (9) DET (10) DAL (11) PHX
Points 51 51 50 48 46
ROW 20 17 19 20 15
GR 3 2 3 3 3
Home 2 1 2 2 2
Away 1 1 1 1 1
4/23 vs. LAK     @ SJS  
4/24     vs. LAK   vs. SJS
4/25   @ DAL vs. NSH vs. CBJ  
4/26 vs. EDM       vs. COL
4/27 @ COL vs. NSH @  DAL vs. DET @ ANA

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