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Playoff Race: March 24

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Stars have a chance to keep the heat on St. Louis and Chicago tonight in the Central Division race. The Stars are the only team playing among the top three in the division, and they have an opportunity to extend their lead over the Blues to four points and push the Blackhawks eight back with a win over the Arizona Coyotes.

Winning the division would be a nice accomplishment for the Stars, and it would allow them to avoid a first-round matchup with St. Louis or Chicago. But the Stars would still end up with a strong first-round opponent in either Colorado or Minnesota. If they can’t hold off Los Angeles for the best record among the Western Conference division winners, the Stars could end up with Nashville in the first round. The Predators are playing as well as anybody right now.

The Predators host Vancouver tonight and with a win can pull within two points of Chicago for third in the Central. If Nashville passes Chicago and knocks the Blackhawks into the first wild-card spot, then those first-round matchups could take an interesting twist. Perhaps even a Los Angeles-Chicago meeting in the first round. Or the Stars could win the division, finish behind Los Angeles and get Chicago in the first round if Nashville grabs third in the Central. Still lots of possibilities out there, but all just speculation for now.

It’s another key night in the race for the second wild-card spot in the West. Minnesota hosts Calgary and Colorado hosts Philadelphia. The Wild have a one-point lead over the Avalanche, who have one game in hand. The Wild and Avalanche play in Denver Saturday as well.

The big three in the Pacific all play tonight. The Kings are at Winnipeg. Anaheim is at Toronto. The Sharks host the Oilers. The Ducks and Sharks both have opportunities to clinch playoff berths.


None


Dallas at Arizona

Vancouver at Nashville

Calgary at Minnesota

Philadelphia at Colorado

Los Angeles at Winnipeg

Anaheim at Toronto

Edmonton at San Jose


Dallas

Los Angeles






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
97
95
91
93
89
88
87
81
80
Wins (ROW)
42
38
41
42
37
38
34
32
34
Games Left
8
8
8
9
10
9
9
8
9
Home
4
5
3
5
4
6
6
5
5
Road
4
3
5
4
6
3
3
3
4
                   
 
DAL
STL
CHI
LAK
ANA
SJS
NSH
MIN
 COL
Mar. 24
@ARI
-
-
@WPG
@TOR
EDM
VAN
CGY
PHI
Mar. 25
-
VAN
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Mar. 26
@SJS
@WSH
@CGY
EDM
@OTT
DAL
CBJ
@COL
MIN
Mar. 27
-
-
@VAN
-
-
-
-
-
-
Mar. 28
-
-
-
@SJS
@EDM
LAK
COL
-
@NSH
Mar. 29
NSH
COL
@MIN
-
-
@VAN
@DAL
CHI
@STL
Mar. 30
-
-
-
-
CGY
-
-
-
-
Mar. 31
ARI
-
-
CGY
-
VAN
@PIT
OTT
-
Apr. 1
-
BOS
@WPG
-
VAN
-
-
@DET
WSH
Apr. 2
@LAK
-
-
-
-
@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
-
-
-
-
 
DAL
STL
CHI
LAK
ANA
SJS
NSH
MIN
COL

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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