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2012 NHL Playoff Race: Stars Are Alive In Ninth Place, But Need Help

Dallas is three points out of the final playoff spot with two games - both against playoff teams - remaning. They'll need at least three points and some help to get to the postseason.

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With every team in the NHL's Western Conference having played 80 games through Wednesday night, there are only two regular season contests per team left, and the Dallas Stars are 3 points out of the eighth and final playoff spot. However, there's still a small chance they could win the Pacific Division.

Western Standings

Vancouver Canucks 80 50-21-9 109
St. Louis Blues 80 48-21-11 107
Los Angeles Kings 80 40-27-13 93
Detroit Red Wings 80 48-27-5 101
Nashville Predators 80 46-26-8 100
Chicago Blackhawks 80 44-26-10 98
Phoenix Coyotes 80 40-27-13 93
San Jose Sharks 80 41-29-10 92
Dallas Stars 80 42-33-5 89
Colorado Avalanche 80 41-33-6 88
Calgary Flames 80 35-29-16 86
Minnesota Wild 80 34-35-11 79
Anaheim Ducks 80 33-35-12 78
Edmonton Oilers 80 32-39-9 73
Columbus Blue Jackets 80 27-46-7 61

Dallas' two remaining games are at Nashville, who is fighting Detroit (and potentially Chicago) for home ice in the 4/5 matchup and vs. St. Louis, who is only two points behind Vancouver for the No. 1 overall seed in the Western Conference. While both teams have already clinched playoff berths, neither are expected to rest starters. In order to make the playoffs, Dallas must earn at least three points:

Here are scenarios for Stars fans to watch out for, provided Dallas can find three or four points in two games:

  • The best case for the Stars is to win both games, however, a win and a point from an overtime loss would mathematically keep them alive in potential tiebreaker scenarios. Three points is a must, but four is preferred.
  • San Jose and L.A. are both ahead of Dallas in the Pacific Division race and the Western Conference, and play each other twice. The best case for the Stars is for one team to lose both games in regulation. San Jose is three points ahead of Dallas, L.A. four.
  • Phoenix is tied with San Jose and only three points ahead of the Stars, but have the No. 7 seed by virtue of tiebreakers. That means they too could be caught, if the Coyotes lose out (in regulation) in their final two road games (at St. Louis, at Minnesota).

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

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.