- Mark Stepneski, ESPNDallas.com
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It wasn’t a busy night in the Western Conference playoff race, but it was a significant one.
11:11 p.m. – The Anaheim Ducks defeated the Calgary Flames 4-2 behind two goals from Corey Perry and a 23-save performance by Ray Emery. The game had its moment of controversy when the Flames thought they had scored a goal that tied the game at 2-2, but no call was made by the ref on the ice. The play went to review and it was ruled no goal. Upon further review, it appeared that Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf pulled the puck out of the net without the ref or replay officials catching it. The Ducks would eventually extend their lead to 3-1 and the Flames, whose already slim playoff hopes took a devastating blow, could never catch up.
Anaheim moved into sixth place and six points ahead of the Stars. Even with two games in hand and another game against Anaheim, the Stars are going to have a hard time passing the Ducks in the standings. They’d had to gain seven points on the Ducks in the final week-and-a-half of the season and finish with more points because Anaheim has the edge in tiebreakers. That’s a tall order.
That leaves eighth place Chicago and seventh place Nashville as the focus right now as far as the teams the Stars are chasing. The Stars are three points behind the Blackhawks with one game in hand. Nashville is five points ahead, but the Stars have two games in hand there.
But the Stars have to win in in San Jose on Thursday to keep pace and hope they get some help from Colorado, which hosts Nashville Thursday night.
The Blackhawks don’t play until Friday, when they take on the Blue Jackets in Columbus.
Western Conference Playoff Race
The Western Conference playoff race through Wednesday March 30. ROW = Regulation/Overtime wins. DIFF = goal differential. z = clinched conference