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Playoff Race: Down to the final game

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars


The race for the Central Division title and No. 1 seed in the Western Conference gets settled tonight. The Stars can wrap up both with a win over the Nashville Predators. If the Predators prove to be uncooperative, then that opens the door for St. Louis to win its second straight Central Division crown and grab the top spot in the West.

The Stars and Blues have identical 49-23-9 records. The only thing separating them is the Stars’ 47-44 advantage in the regulation/overtime wins (ROW) tiebreaker. That has Dallas in first place heading into tonight’s games and means St. Louis has to finish ahead of Dallas in points to win the Central and West.

The Stars host the Predators at 7:00 p.m. tonight. The Blues and Washington play in St. Louis at 7:00 p.m. as well.


Here are the various scenarios for the Stars to win the Central Division and top spot in the Western Conference.

*Scenario 1: If the Stars win over Nashville in any fashion, they win the Central and West. It doesn’t matter what St. Louis does.

*Scenario 2: If the Stars lose in overtime or a shootout and pick up one point, they will win the Central and West if the Blues lose to Washington in any fashion. St. Louis would win the division and conference with a win in any fashion.

*Scenario 3: If the Stars lose in regulation, they will win the Central and West if St. Louis loses in regulation. The Blues would win the division and conference with at least one point against Washington.


The winner of the Central Division and top seed in the West will play Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs. The team that finishes second in the Central will play Chicago to open the playoffs.

It’s a big night in the Pacific Division as well. The Kings, who have a two-point lead over the Ducks, have a chance to clinch that division in a few different ways, including with a win over Winnipeg. The Ducks are playing at Colorado.


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%)


None


Nashville at Dallas

Washington at St. Louis

Winnipeg at Los Angeles

Anaheim at Colorado


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. 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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