- Mark Stepneski, ESPNDallas.com
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The Dallas Stars started Sunday in sixth place, but by the time the night was over they had fallen into ninth place.
But while the Stars are in ninth place, they are only one point out of fifth place. That’s how tight it is right now.
And the Stars have games this week against two of the teams that moved ahead of them Sunday night. They play Anaheim Wednesday at American Airlines Center and then they play at Nashville on Saturday. They still have a game at Anaheim and games at Los Angeles and Phoenix as well.
“We don’t control what other teams do,” Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said after Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Philadelphia. “All we control is how we prepare and how we play. If you look at all the upcoming games it’s all teams that if we win those games, they don’t get points and we get points that we’ve got to have. I think we have control over the situation. It’s not like we have to win and hope the other teams lose.”
The Stars didn’t have control over what happened Sunday and it didn’t go their way as far as where they ended up in the standings at the end of the day, but it was a pretty exciting day of hockey with late game-tying goals and overtime victories.
Here’s how it went.
6:34 p.m.: Martin Erat caps off a spectacular Nashville rally, scoring on one-timer 27 seconds into overtime to give the Predators a 4-3 victory at Buffalo. Nashville’s Blake Geoffrion, who registered his first career hat trick, scored two goals in the final 2:27 to tie the game. The two points moved the Predators ahead of the Stars, who fell from sixth to seventh place at that point in the evening.
9:29 p.m.: Chicago holds off Phoenix 2-1 in regulation. Chris Campoli’s power play goal with 6:34 remaining snapped a 1-1 tie and held up as the game-winner. Chicago, which was 2-2 on the power play in the game, moved from eighth place in the West to fifth place, and dropped the Stars into eighth. All the news was not good for Chicago. Forward Patrick Sharp left the game in the first period with what appeared to be a knee injury and did not return.
9:52 p.m.: Just seconds after Bobby Ryan failed to convert on a penalty shot, a Toni Lydman shot from the point deflects off Corey Perry and into the net to give Anaheim a 5-4 overtime win over Calgary. It was Perry’s second OT winner in two nights. The Ducks, who blew a 3-0 lead in the game, forced overtime when Teemu Selanne score a power play goal with 2:01 remaining. The two points gave the Ducks 85, tying them with the Stars, but Anaheim took over eighth and the Stars dropped to ninth because the Ducks hold the advantage in regulation/overtime wins, 36-33. Calgary now sits in tenth place with 84 points, but has played two more games than several of the teams in the race.
The playoff race
There is one key game Monday night. Calgary is at Los Angeles. This will be Calgary’s 75th game of the season and they really need two points in this game. This is the third game of five straight at Staples Center for the Kings, who are 0-1-1 on the homestand so far.
Western Conference Playoff Race
The Western Conference playoff race through Sunday March 20. ROW = Regulation/Overtime wins. DIFF = goal differential. y = clinched division.
The Dallas Stars started Sunday in sixth place, but by the time the night was over they had fallen into ninth place.But while the Stars are in ninth place, they are only one point out of fifth place.