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Playoff watch: Stars increase division lead but it's still tight

With their big win at Vancouver last night, the Stars increased their lead in the race for first in the Pacific to two points over Phoenix and they have a three point lead over San Jose and Los Angeles. The Sharks have two games in hand and the Kings, who are ninth in the conference, have one. That just goes to show how tight the race is.

Phoenix lost last night at Columbus. After an 11-0-1 run, the Coyotes have now dropped four straight games. San Jose lost 3-2 in a shootout to Edmonton. The Sharks are 2-7-2 in their last 11 games. The Kings won last 5-4 last night at Nashville. The Kings have won three in a row for the first time since November 12-17.

Colorado and Calgary both won last night, so both those teams continue to hang around that final playoff spot. The Avalanche have won six of their last eight games (6-2-0). For the Flames, it was just their second win in the last eight games (2-3-3).

With help from the Stars, St. Louis - a 5-1 winner over Chicago – moved into the top spot in the West. The Stars are now within two points of Chicago as far as total points.

Everybody in the Western race is off tonight, so enjoy a night of no scoreboard watching.

Western Conference Playoff Race

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