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Thursday, March 1, 2012
Playoff race watch: Colorado lurks

By Mark Stepneski

With the point they picked up in last night’s shootout loss to the Penguins, the Stars are one point ahead of Colorado and Los Angeles in the race for the final playoff spot in the West.

Colorado, which has won four games in a row, has a chance to move into eighth place Thursday with a win over Columbus in Denver. Even if the Avs do move into eighth, the Stars will have a game in hand.

The Stars lost ground to Chicago, which moved into sixth place with a 5-4 win over Toronto. The Blackhawks have a four-point lead over the Stars.

San Jose is in seventh place, two points ahead of the Stars. The Sharks, who have two games in hand on the Stars and three on Chicago, host Buffalo tonight.

Calgary plays at Phoenix. The Flames are four points out of eighth and have a game in hand. The Flames, 0-2-2 in their last four games, could use the two points in a big way.

The Ducks lost to Buffalo last night. That’s a pretty big blow to the Ducks’ already slim chances. They are seven points out, have a bunch of teams to climb over and only 18 games to do it.

Game of the night is St. Louis at Vancouver. The Blues can take over the first overall in the Western Conference with a win over the currently top seeded Canucks.