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Stars and Kings move up in West

NHL.com @NHL
Friday was a good night for the Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings; not so much for the Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes.

The Stars jumped three places and the Kings two in the wild, wacky Western Conference playoff race. Dallas moved from seventh place into fourth with 82 points by shutting out Minnesota 4-0 at the American Airlines Center, while L.A. jumped from eighth to sixth with a 4-2 win at Columbus.

The loss capped a tough two-day stretch for the Wild, who lost back-to-back 4-0 games in Nashville and Dallas on consecutive nights.

In the East, Carolina was one period away from jumping into the top eight, but gave up a pair of goals and lost 2-1 at Washington to remain two points out of the last playoff spot.

Here's a look at how the races in each conference shape up after Friday night's games:

Eastern Conference

Division leaders:

Philadelphia (90 points) has a quick stop at home for a Saturday game against Atlanta before heading out for three games on the road next week.

Washington (88 points after Friday's 2-1 home win against Carolina) is the hottest team in the NHL after rallying for two third-period goals to extend its winning streak to seven. Alex Ovechkin and Matt Hendricks scored in the third to overcome a 1-0 deficit. The Caps host Chicago on Sunday before hitting the road next week.

Boston (85 points after Friday's 4-2 loss at Long Island) blew a 2-0 lead for the second time in two nights -- but this time, the Bruins went home empty-handed. The Islanders scored with 2 seconds left in the second period and twice more early in the third as the Bruins surrendered 41 shots, meaning that Tim Thomas saw 86 shots in a little more than 24 hours.

The next five:

Pittsburgh (86 points) had the last of three straight days off before hosting back-to-back afternoon games against Montreal and Edmonton.

Tampa Bay (84 points after Friday's 2-1 home loss to Ottawa) continues to struggle. Martin St. Louis' 5-on-3 power-play goal was the only tally for the Bolts, who've dropped four points behind Washington in the Southeast Division and start a four-game trip at Florida on Saturday.

Montreal (81 points) has an early call on Saturday -- the Canadiens visit Pittsburgh for a 2 p.m. ET start.

Buffalo (74 points) completes its seven-game trip in Toronto on Saturday. The Sabres are 4-1-1 after six games.

New York Rangers (74 points) had to spend the last two days watching everyone else try to help themselves. The Rangers play again Saturday night in San Jose, a place they haven't visited since December 2008. New York is 9-3 with two ties in its 14 visits.

On the outside looking in:

Carolina (72 points after Friday's 2-1 loss at Washington) was 20 minutes away from jumping over the Rangers, but couldn't hang onto a 1-0 lead. It wasn't for lack of trying -- the 'Canes had 41 shots at Washington rookie Braden Holtby, but only Tuomo Ruutu's shot in the final minute of the second period went in the net. Carolina gets another crack at eighth place when Columbus comes to the RBC Center on Saturday.

Toronto (68 points) hosts Buffalo on Saturday in what became even more of a must-win game after Thursday's 3-2 loss to Philadelphia. The Leafs have dropped three in a row.

Atlanta (68 points after Friday's 3-2 home overtime loss to New Jersey) got one point by getting to overtime, but couldn't convert a pair of one-goal leads and a power-play opportunity in overtime into the extra point. The Thrashers visit Philadelphia on Saturday.

New Jersey (66 points after Friday's 3-2 OT win at Atlanta) continues its amazing second-half run. The Devils trailed 1-0 and 2-1 before forcing OT, then killed off a power play in the extra period before capitalizing on one of their own when Travis Zajac scored the winner. The Devils head home for a Saturday night meeting with the Islanders.

Western Conference

Division leaders:

Vancouver (97 points) goes for a perfect 5-0 road trip Saturday night in Calgary. The Canucks completed a four-game blitz of the Pacific Division by winning 5-4 in a shootout at San Jose on Thursday.

Detroit (88 points after Friday's 2-1 home OT win against Edmonton) was less than 30 seconds from a 1-0 loss to the NHL's 30th-place team. But Nicklas Lidstrom's goal tied it and Pavel Datsyuk scored the winner with 42 seconds left in OT as the Wings snapped a four-game losing streak and reached the 40-win mark for the 13th consecutive season.

San Jose (85 points) concludes a six-game homestand with a Saturday night visit from the New York Rangers.

The next five:

Dallas (82 points after Friday's 4-0 home win against Minnesota) completely dominated the Wild. The Stars limited Minnesota to just 14 shots on goal and blew the game open with three goals in 91 seconds late in the second period.

Chicago (81 points) spent Friday in Washington being feted at the White House in honor of their Stanley Cup triumph last June. The Blackhawks are off until facing the Caps on Sunday afternoon.

Los Angeles (81 points after Friday's 4-2 win at Columbus) jumped three spots in the standings thanks to a hat trick by Anze Kopitar.

Phoenix (81 points) has a two-day break before beginning a tough four-game trip in Anaheim on Sunday.

Calgary (81 points) is back home Saturday against Vancouver after splitting two games in the Southwest.

On the outside looking in:

Anaheim (79 points after Friday's 6-2 win at Colorado) did exactly what it needed to do -- beat the struggling Avs. Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and a pair of assists as the Ducks shook off Colorado after the Avalanche tied the game at 2-2 in the second period. Anaheim is off Saturday.

Nashville (78 points) continues its five-game homestand by facing the Avs on Saturday.

Minnesota (77 points after Friday's 4-0 loss at Dallas) is off Saturday and will have to regroup after two dreadful efforts. The Wild managed just 33 shots and was outscored 8-0 in losses at Nashville and Dallas.

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