The Detroit Red Wings won 3-1 over Los Angeles last night to take over eighth place in the Western Conference. The Stars are now four points behind the Red Wings and three points behind Columbus, which is in ninth place.
The Stars’ tragic number, at least the way I calculate it, is down to one. Any point they lose or any point gained by Detroit eliminates them from the playoff race.
But with just two games left in the season, that number is what it is. The Stars still have a glimmer of hope. That hope consists of their games against both the Blue Jackets and Red Wings, and the Nashville Predators. The Stars need to those final two games and hope the Predators can knock off Detroit and Columbus over the next couple days.
Here’s how it breaks down for the Stars to make the playoffs.
First, the Stars have to hope that Nashville beats Detroit in regulation on Thursday. If Detroit wins that game or picks up one point in an overtime/shootout loss, the Stars are eliminated from the race. We’ll know the result of that game before the Stars-Blue Jackets game is over.
Second, the Stars have to defeat the Blue Jackets tonight. If Columbus wins, the Stars are eliminated from the race.
Anyway, let’s outline what it would take for the Stars to make the playoffs assuming those two little details above take place.
Scenario 1: Stars beat Blue Jackets in regulation on Thursday; Predators beat Red Wings in regulation on Thursday
The Stars would then need to beat Detroit in regulation on Saturday and Nashville would need to defeat Columbus in regulation, overtime or a shootout on Saturday.
That would leave the Stars with 52 points, Detroit with 52 points and Columbus with either 51 or 52 points. The Stars would get the eighth spot based on them winning the first tiebreaker, which is regulation/overtime wins. They’d have 22, Detroit would have 20 and Columbus would have 17.
Scenario 2: Stars beat Blue Jackets in overtime or a shootout on Thursday; Predators beat Red Wings in regulation on Thursday
The Stars would again need to beat the Red Wings in regulation on Saturday and the Predators would need to defeat the Blue Jackets in regulation.
That would leave Dallas, Detroit and Columbus with 52 points. Again, the Stars would take the eighth spot based on the regulation/overtime wins tiebreaker. Under this scenario they would have 21 or 22 (depending on whether they won in OT or a shootout), Detroit would have 20 and the Blue Jackets 17.
Easy, right? Not really, but not impossible.
Phoenix was eliminated last night due to Detroit picking up two points. The Coyotes can still max out at 52 points, but they can’t win the ROW tiebreaker because their maximum number in that category is 18.
The Stars’ playoff chances dropped with Detroit with last night. They are 2.0 percent, according to sportsclubstats.com.
Hockeyreference.com puts the Stars’ chances at 3.5 percent in its Playoff Probabilities Report.
|8||Detroit||46||22||16||8||52||20||+3||vs. LAK, W 3-1||vs. NSH|
Here are the remaining schedules for the Stars, Red Wings and Blue Jackets.
|Team||(8) DET||(9) CBJ||(10) DAL|
|4/25||vs. NSH||@ DAL||vs. CBJ|
|4/27||@ DAL||vs. NSH||vs. DET|