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NHL Standings 2012: Dallas Stars Eliminated From Western Conference Playoff Race

The Dallas Stars failed to score a goal in their most important game of the season Thursday night, and the results was a 2-0 loss at the Nashville Predators and a mathematical elimination from the Western Conference playoff race. The loss kept the Stars at 89 points (42-34-5), three behind the eight-place San Jose Sharks (92 points), who cemented a postseason spot after the Stars and Colorado Avalanche lost.

Dallas does have one game remaining, but even a victory against the visiting St. Louis Blues on Saturday wouldn't be enough to catch the Sharks even if they lost their final two contests.

Meanwhile, for the second straight season the Phoenix Coyotes clinched a playoff berth due to a Stars' late, regular-season loss. The Coyotes currently sit in the seventh spot, but a loss and a Sharks victory would result in a flip-flop in the standings.

For more on the Dallas Stars, check out Defending Big D, while all your NHL Playoff news is at SB Nation's NHL page.

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