The Dallas Stars didn't get any help in the playoff race Sunday. A Minnesota win over Arizona would have clinched a playoff spot for the Stars, but the Coyotes shut out the Wild, 4-0, at Gila River Arena, so Dallas will have to wait until Tuesday to clinch a playoff spot.
The Stars, who hold the first wild-card position in the West, need just one point in Tuesday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers at American Airlines Center to secure a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Sunday's win was big for the Coyotes, who pulled to within one point of Colorado for the second wild-card spot in the West. The Avalanche have four games remaining while the Coyotes have three.
The loss to the Coyotes was a big blow for the Wild, who are four points out of the final playoff position with just three games remaining.
Calgary clinched the Pacific Division title and the top seed in the Western Conference last night with a win over San Jose. That means the Flames will play the second wild-card in the first round of the playoffs and the Central Division winner will get the first wild card. That top spot in the Central is still up for grabs
The game worth watching Monday night is Colorado at St. Louis, the two teams closest to the Stars in the playoff race. The Stars trail the Blues by three points in the race for third place in the Central Division, and they are four points ahead of Colorado in the wild-card race. The Avalanche also are in a tight battle with Arizona for that final playoff spot in the West.
Magic numbers remains 1 for Stars
The Stars' magic number stayed at one with Arizona's win on Sunday. So for the Stars to clinch a playoff spot Tuesday, they need to gain one point in their game against Philadelphia. That means a win, overtime loss or shootout loss will put them in the playoffs.
If the Stars fail to get a point, they can get in Tuesday if Arizona loses in any fashion to Los Angeles, or there may be other scenarios, but it's too early to see if those will materialize.
But the best and most compelling way for the Stars to clinch is to pick up points Tuesday against the Flyers -- and a win would be especially fitting.
Stars' playoff chances
The Stars' playoff chances remain just shy of 100 percent.
If the playoffs started today
1-Winnipeg vs. WC1-Dallas
2-Nashville vs. 3-St. Louis
1-Calgary vs. WC2-Colorado
2-San Jose vs. 3-Vegas
According to sportsclubstats.com, Winnipeg remains the most likely first-round opponent for the Stars, who are projected to finish with 92 or 93 points. That site puts the chances of a Stars-Jets matchup at 59 percent if Dallas finishes with 93 points and 57 percent if the point total is 92.
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.