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Thursday, March 15, 2012
Playoff watch: Coyotes gain ground on Stars

By Mark Stepneski

The Dallas Stars lead in the Pacific Division is down to two points after last night’s games, which saw the Stars lose in Winnipeg and the Phoenix Coyotes win at Vancouver.

The Coyotes overcame an early 2-0 deficit to beat the Canucks, 5-4. The Coyotes, who have picked up points in four straight (2-0-2), play at Calgary tonight.

If the Coyotes win they would tie the Stars in points, but Dallas would still be in the division lead due to having played one fewer game (points percentage).

It’s a big game for Calgary, which has won four in a row and is just two points out of a playoff spot.

San Jose, which is five points behind the Stars with two games in hand and two points out of a playoff spot, hosts Nashville tonight. The Sharks, who are 1-3-3 in their last seven games, play six of their next seven at home. If they are going to get back on track, this is their chance.

The Predators are in a battle with Detroit for that fourth seed in the West and home ice in the first round of the playoffs. They can take over that spot (by points percentage) with a win in San Jose, where they are 2-0-1 in their last three games.

Colorado moved into eighth place last night, scoring with two seconds left to tie Buffalo and then winning the game in a shootout. The Avs have won three in a row -- all of them beyond regulation -- and five of six. They play again tonight, this time at New Jersey.