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Thursday, March 29, 2012
Playoff watch: Lots of movement in standings on Wednesday

By Mark Stepneski

It was another night of movement in the Western Conference standings. The Stars jumped from seventh to third, the Kings went from ninth to seventh, San Jose dropped from third to eighth and Phoenix slipped from eighth to ninth. In the middle of all that, the Kings were first in the Pacific for about five minutes.

The Kings got knocked out of the third spot when the Stars wrapped up their 3-1 win over Edmonton. That was a huge two points for the Stars, who needed to bounce back from the loss in Calgary on Monday. Still a tough road ahead with that back-to-back at Vancouver and at San Jose Friday and Saturday to close out the trip. The Stars need to find a way to get points out of those two games.

The Kings beat Calgary 3-0 Wednesday night. The Kings snapped a two-game losing streak and are now 7-2-0 over their last nine games. They close out their road trip with games at Edmonton and Minnesota.

The Sharks lost 2-1 at Anaheim. The Ducks won five of six against the Sharks this season. The Sharks are back at it Thursday night. They play at Phoenix. This kicks off a stretch that will see the Sharks play the rest of their games against teams battling for the Pacific Division title.

The Coyotes have been off the last three days and they ended up being one point behind both San Jose and Los Angeles and two points behind the Stars. It could have been worse from their perspective.

Colorado lost 1-0 at Vancouver. Huge loss for the Avalanche. They are two points out of a playoff spot and only have three games left to play. The teams they are chasing all have five. Their chances are very slim right now. Ditto for Calgary. The Flames are three back with four games left on their schedule.

It’s looking more and more like the four Pacific Division teams – Dallas, Los Angeles, San Jose and Phoenix – are going to be fighting it out for those three playoff spots.