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Blues lose, Stars with chance to extend lead

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars will have a chance to create some separation today in the race for the top spot in the Central Division and Western Conference.

St. Louis had its five-game winning streak snapped with a 6-5 loss to Boston last night, so the Blues missed out on a chance to tie the Stars at 103 points. Now, the Stars will have a chance to extend their lead to four points over the Blues when they take on the Los Angeles Kings this afternoon.

Los Angeles has a similar goal in mind. The Kings, who are in first place in the Pacific Division, will have a chance to extend their lead to three points over second-place Anaheim.

Chicago defeated Winnipeg 5-4 in overtime last night. The Blackhawks are four points behind the Blues and six points behind the Stars. They are six points ahead of Nashville. It appears they are locked into that third spot in the Central Division, but there are four games left, and you never know.

The big news with Chicago was that defenseman Duncan Keith was suspended six games for high-sticking Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle. Keith will miss the rest of the regular season and the first game of the playoffs.

Minnesota lost 3-2 at Detroit and Colorado lost 4-2 to Washington in Denver last night. The Wild still have a five-point lead over the Avalanche for the second wild-card spot in the West. Even with one game in hand, the Avalanche still have a slim chance of catching Minnesota at this point.

Nashville, which was idle last night, clinched a playoff spot when the Avalanche lost to Washington in regulation.

Out West, Anaheim lost 3-2 to Vancouver, so the Ducks missed out on a chance to retake first place from Los Angeles in the Pacific Division. The Ducks and Kings meet Thursday in Los Angeles.

The Sharks play at Nashville tonight. If the Sharks win, they would pull to within two points of Anaheim and three points of Los Angeles. Even if they do close the gap, the Sharks would have three games left while both the Kings and Ducks would have five remaining.


Here’s a look at the most likely first-round opponents for the Stars, according to Sportsclubstats.com. These are the top three following Friday’s games:

Minnesota (73.5%)

Chicago (14.6%)

Nashville (9.8%)


Boston 6, St. Louis 5

Chicago 5, Winnipeg 4 (OT)

Detroit 3, Minnesota 2

Washington 4, Colorado 2

Vancouver 3, Anaheim 2


Dallas at Los Angeles

San Jose at Nashville


Dallas

Los Angeles

Anaheim

St. Louis

Chicago

San Jose

Nashville






CENTRAL DIVISION PACIFIC DIVISION WILDCARD IN HUNT
1st
2nd
3rd
1st
2nd
3rd
WC1
WC2
DAL
STL
CHI
LAK
ANA
SJS
NSH
MIN
COL
Points
103
101
97
97
96
92
91
87
82
Wins (ROW)
45
41
44
44
40
40
35
35
35
Games Left
4
4
4
5
5
4
4
3
4
Home
2
2
3
3
2
2
3
2
2
Road
2
2
1
2
3
2
1
1
2
                   
 
DAL
STL
CHI
LAK
ANA
SJS
NSH
MIN
 COL
Apr. 2
@LAK
-
-
DAL
-
@NSH
SJS
-
-
Apr. 3
@ANA
@COL
BOS
-
DAL
-
-
@WPG
STL
Apr. 4
-
ARI
-
@VAN
-
-
-
-
-
Apr. 5
-
-
ARI
@CGY
WPG
@MIN
COL
SJS
@NSH
Apr. 6
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Apr. 7
COL
@CHI
STL
ANA
@LAK
WPG
ARI
-
@DAL
Apr. 8
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Apr. 9
NSH
WSH
@CBJ
WPG
@COL
ARI
@DAL
CGY
ANA
Apr. 10
-
-
-
-
@WSH
-
-
-
-

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter 
@StarsInsideEdge.

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