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Playoff Race: Down to the final day

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars


The race for the Central Division and the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference will come down to Saturday – the final day of the regular season – for the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues.

The Stars had an opportunity to clinch last night with a win over Colorado and a St. Louis regulation loss to Chicago. And they came close. The Stars held up their end, beating the Avalanche, 4-2, at American Airlines Center. Chicago had a 1-0 lead over St. Louis late in regulation, but when the Blues scored with 1:16 remaining in the third period to force overtime, the Stars’ opportunity to wrap up the division and top spot in the West would have to wait until the weekend. And when St. Louis won in overtime, it left the Stars and Blues tied at 107 points with one game to go.

The Stars are still in first place based on the regulation/overtime wins (ROW) tiebreaker, which they lead 47-44. Dallas’ edge in the tiebreaker means the Blues would have to finish ahead of the Stars in points to finish in the top spots. The Stars would win the division and conference with a victory over Nashville even if St. Louis beats Washington because of the ROW tiebreaker. A tie means second place for St. Louis.

As for the Blackhawks, their chances of winning the Central Division came to an end last night. They are now guaranteed to be the third place team in the Central and will have a first-round playoff date with either St. Louis or Dallas, whichever team comes up short in the race for first place.

In the Pacific Division, Los Angeles is back in first place after a 2-1 win over Anaheim last night. The Kings lead the Ducks by two points. Los Angeles has one game remaining, and the Ducks have two games. But the Kings have a 46-41 edge in the ROW tiebreaker, so they could win the division by beating Winnipeg on Saturday. The Ducks will need some help from the Jets to have a chance at the Pacific.

With both division titles still up for grabs, the playoff matchups for round one won’t be finalized until the weekend.


As for possible first round opponents for the Stars, it is down to two teams. It will be Minnesota if the Stars win the Central Division and top seed in the West. If the Stars don’t win the Central and West, they’ll play Chicago in the first round. Here are the percentages as of today according to Sportsclubstats.com.

Minnesota (77.6%)

Chicago (22.4%)


Dallas 4, Colorado 2

St. Louis 2, Chicago 1 (OT)

Los Angeles 2, Anaheim 1

Winnipeg 5, San Jose 4

Nashville 3, Arizona 2 (OT)


None


Dallas

Los Angeles

Anaheim

St. Louis

Chicago

San Jose

Nashville

Minnesota



CENTRAL DIVISION PACIFIC DIVISION WILDCARD
1st
2nd
3rd
1st
2nd
3rd
WC1
WC2
DAL
STL
CHI
LAK
ANA
SJS
NSH
MIN
Points
107
107
102
101
99
96
96
87
Wins (ROW)
47
43
46
46
41
41
37
35
Games Left
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
1
Home
1
1
0
1
0
1
0
1
Road
0
0
1
0
2
0
1
0
                 
 
DAL
STL
CHI
LAK
ANA
SJS
NSH
MIN
Apr. 8
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Apr. 9
NSH
WSH
@CBJ
WPG
@COL
ARI
@DAL
CGY
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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