Playoff watch: Idle Stars could take division lead tonight

The Dallas Stars don’t play Monday night, but they have a chance to jump from seventh in the standings to third. That will happen if Phoenix loses at Pittsburgh in regulation.

The Stars and Coyotes are tied at 75 points, but the Coyotes hold the Pacific Division lead and that third seed because they have played one fewer game and have the better points percentage. If the Penguins can win in regulation Monday night, the Stars would move ahead of the Coyotes because the number of games would be the same and the Stars own the regulation/overtime wins tiebreaker, 30-28.

There’s still a long way to go and it would take just a little slide for the Stars to be on the outside looking in again, but the Stars have made a pretty steep climb in the Pacific Division race here in the past couple weeks.

They were eight points out of the division lead at the All-Star break and now they are basically tied for the lead. They’ve gained 12 points on the Sharks in just over month, going from 10 points behind them to two points ahead of them.

And this is a four-team race in the division right now. The Kings are still in the mix as well. They are only one point behind San Jose and three back of the Coyotes and Stars. It’s shaping up to be a great final month or so here to close out the season.

Western Conference Playoff Race

The Western Conference playoff race. ROW = Regulation/Overtime wins. DIFF = goal differential.