Mar 31, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) saves a shot in front of Dallas Stars center Jake Dowell (11) during the second period at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Stars Dominated 3-0 By Sharks, Drop Out Of Playoffs

The Stars were thoroughly outplayed in a 3-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks and dropped to ninth in the Western Conference, out of the playoffs.

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That's A Wrap: Stars Dominated 3-0 By Sharks

Ugly, ugly, ugly. That's all you can say about this game. Dallas fell behind early and never even got close to getting back into it. The back-to-back curse continues to haunt this team as they are now 1-11-2 on the second night of B2Bs. The Stars took bad penalties that compounded their mistakes in the first period and they never looked like they wanted to play this game.

The third period was pretty much just a 20 minute victory lap for San Jose. The only thing they had to do was not collapse and with the way this night had gone, there was no chance of that.

Steve Ott got a ten minute game misconduct midway through the period and sat the rest of the game.

The loss is a huge one as the Stars have now dropped to ninth in the Western Conference, one point out of the playoffs. Dallas has now dropped four out of five games against the Sharks this season an they return to the ice on Tuesday against these same Sharks, only this time in Dallas. That game will most likely be a win-or-the-season-is-over game.

This is also the first time that Dallas has been shutout since a Jan. 16 game against the St. Louis Blues.

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2nd Intermission Report: Stars 0 - Sharks 3

Dallas followed up that pitiful first period with another unimpressive 20 minutes of hockey. Dallas just couldn't get any kind of pressure on Antti Niemi let alone score a goal. Dallas had a power play in the first six minutes of the period but spent more time outside of the zone then inside of the zone. There's just no urgency to the team.

The Sharks would score a four-on-four goal as a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot was tipped in by Joe Pavelski again. Vlasic's shot was from the blue line and Pavelski got in front of Sheldon Souray and tipped the puck by Lehtonen to put the Sharks up 3-0.

Again, there's nothing positive for Dallas. The Stars look lethargic, which is the usual on the second night of a back-to-back. They aren't winning puck battles, or even trying to win them and they were outshot 14-8 in the period. They didn't reach double digit shots in the game until there five minutes left in the second and are being outshot 27-14 in the game. There's only been one good chance to score all game for Dallas.

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1st Intermission Report: Stars 0 - Sharks 2

Biggest game of the season. Division on the line. Playoff spot and the season on the line and guess what, the Stars gave up a goal less than a minute into the game. Joe Pavelski took the puck, skated into the slot untouched and easily shot one by Kari Lehtonen. I have no clue what the defense was doing on this one. Stephane Robidas and Sheldon Souray did absolutely nothing to stop Pavelski.

Dallas would get a power play a bit later and get their best chance of the game. Michael Ryder had an incredible opportunity to tie the game when he found himself with the puck and staring at a wide open net. The only problem was that Justin Braun stuck his stick out at the very last second and knocked the puck over the net.

The Sharks had three power play opportunities in the period but couldn't get past Lehtonen on the first two chances. They connected on the third chance though. Martin Havlat made a great pass to Jason Demers that Demers was able to put past Lehtonen. Havlat was standing beside the goal and put up a high saucer pass over two defenders to Demers.

There was nothing positive in this period for Dallas. They were outshot, outchanced and 100% outplayed in the opening 20 minutes of the game. They need to get back into the locker room and slap themselves awake. There's not a lot of energy in the team and the cheap penalties are doing them no good.

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NHL Playoff Picture 2012: Stars In A Wild Western Conference Race

The Dallas Stars have four games remaining on their regular season schedule, and could very well need to win all of them to stay alive in the Western Conference's wild, wild playoff race.


Western Standings

GP W-L-OT Pts
St. Louis Blues 78 48-20-10 106
Vancouver Canucks 78 48-21-9 105
Los Angeles Kings 78 39-27-12 90
Nashville Predators 78 45-25-8 98
Detroit Red Wings 78 46-27-5 97
Chicago Blackhawks 78 43-26-9 95
Dallas Stars 78 42-31-5 89
Phoenix Coyotes 78 38-27-13 89
San Jose Sharks 78 39-29-10 88
Colorado Avalanche 80 41-33-6 88
Calgary Flames 79 35-29-15 85
Anaheim Ducks 77 33-33-11 77
Minnesota Wild 77 32-35-10 74
Edmonton Oilers 78 31-38-9 71
Columbus Blue Jackets 78 26-45-7 59

Dallas dropped from the Pacific Division leader's automatic top-seed last night with a loss at Vancouver, bumping them from the No. 3 seed to the No. 7 with just one loss. The Stars (89 points) are one behind L.A. (90 points) for the Pacific lead , tied with No. 8 seed Phoenix (89 points), and just barely ahead of ninth place San Jose (88 points). Colorado (88 points) and Calgary (85 points) are still within striking distance as well.

That makes a total of six teams vying for spots 3, 7 and 8 in the Western Conference. The Pacific Division winner will likely play the Blackhawks in the opening round. Here's a look at Saturday's action for Stars fans:

  • Los Angeles plays at Minnesota Saturday night. Obviously a Kings' loss would be huge for the Stars, who with a win over San Jose, could retake the Pacific and the No. 3 seed.
  • Phoenix hosts Anaheim, who is out of the race but still hot of late. A Ducks win would give the Stars space between the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds if they can't win the Pacific.
  • Calgary, the team with the slimmest shot of making the playoffs, goes to Vancouver, who beat Dallas Friday and who are chasing St. Louis for the No. 1 overall seed. The Canucks and Blues will go 1-2, meaning they'll likely play two Pacific teams in the first round.

For more on the Dallas Stars, check out Defending Big D and SB Nation's NHL page.

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Stars Vs. Sharks: Game Preview, TV Info And More

The Stars are headed for a photo-finish down the stretch of the NHL's final week in the regular season. To capture a playoff berth - or the Pacific Division title - they'll need every point possible, especially against rival San Jose.

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