Friday, March 9, 2012
Playoff watch: A good night for the Stars
By Mark Stepneski
Last night was a good one for the Dallas Stars. Not only did they rally to beat the San Jose Sharks in a shootout, but none of the teams chasing them in the standings picked up two points.
The Sharks, obviously, only got one. Phoenix only picked up one, losing in a shootout at Minnesota. The Coyotes are winless in five (0-4-1). The Kings lost 3-1 at Columbus, ending their three-game winning streak. Those Blue Jackets, who have won five in a row, continue to make life miserable for teams in the playoff chase. Colorado lost as well, falling 4-2 in Nashville.
All that just helped add to the Stars’ lead over these teams. The Stars are three points up on Phoenix, four points up on the Sharks and five points on both Los Angeles and Colorado.
They’ve also tied Chicago at 79 points. Not significant in the standings since the Stars hold the third seed and Chicago is sixth, but worth a mention.
There’s still a long ways to go, but the Stars are in decent shape as long as they continue to pick up points and avoid a string of regulation losses. Those regulation losses, the ones where you get no points, are the ones that really, really hurt.
Here’s a sign of how much the Stars have improved their playoff chances with this 8-0-1 run. After they lost to Nashville on Feb. 19, the Stars chances of making the playoffs were 9.9 percent, according to sportsclubstats.com. After last night’s win over the Sharks, those chances are now 86.4 percent.
Games worth noting tonight: the Kings are at Detroit, Chicago hosts the New York Rangers and Calgary hosts Winnipeg.