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Push to the Playoffs: How can Stars cement spot? Just grab 1 point

A win or an overtime loss against Philadelphia on home ice will get the job done for Dallas

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Let's try this again.

The Dallas Stars will get another shot at clinching a playoff spot when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at American Airlines Center (7:30 p.m. CT; FS-SW+; KTCK).

The Stars, who are in the first wild-card spot, have a magic number of one, meaning they need just one point in Tuesday's game to clinch a playoff berth.

"It's a lot of excitement at this point," Stars defensemen Taylor Fedun told media Monday. "It's a lot of fun to be playing meaningful hockey, and we have been for a while now. To know that next point can punch our ticket into the postseason, it's pretty exciting."

 

[OFFICIAL PLAYOFF TRACKER: Follow the Stars' postseason push with daily matchups to watch, standings and more]

 

A win in any fashion or a loss in overtime or the shootout will do the trick. If the Stars were to lose in regulation to the Flyers, they'd have to rely on Arizona losing to Los Angeles to get it done on Tuesday.

St. Louis defeated Colorado in a shootout Monday night, so the Avalanche picked up one point and are now three points behind the Stars in the wild-card race. St. Louis moved ahead of Nashville and into second place in the Central Division based on tiebreakers with those two teams tied at 94 points and 79 games played.

The race for first in the Central has become interesting this final week of the regular season. Winnipeg won last night in overtime over Chicago and is two points ahead of both St. Louis and Nashville with three games to play for all three teams. Whoever comes out on top among those three teams is most likely the Stars' opponent in the first round of the playoffs.

There are a couple of big games in the race for the final playoff spot in the West. Colorado hosts Edmonton and Arizona hosts Los Angeles. The Avalanche have a two-point lead over the Coyotes for the second wild-card spot with three games remaining for both teams.

 

Tonight's clinching scenarios

The Stars will clinch a playoff spot Tuesday:

  • If they win in any fashion against Philadelphia, or ...

  • If they get 1 point in an overtime or shootout loss, or ...

  • If Arizona loses in any fashion against Los Angeles.

 

Stars' playoff chances

The Stars' playoff chances are still sitting close to 100 percent, but not there yet.

  • Hockeyreference.com: 99.5%

  • Sportsclubstats.com: 99.8%

  • Moneypuck.com: 99.7%

 

If the playoffs started today

Central Division
1-Winnipeg vs. WC1-Dallas
2-St. Louis vs. 3-Nashville

Pacific Division
1-Calgary vs. WC2-Colorado
2-San Jose vs. 3-Vegas

According to sportsclubstats.com, the Stars, who are projected to finish with around 93 points, have a 72 percent chance of playing Winnipeg in the first round, a 15 percent chance of playing St. Louis and a 13 percent chance of facing Nashville.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mark Stepneski has covered the Stars for DallasStars.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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