Stars Playoff Chances Looking Grim
Tonight would have been the night to get some luck. But the Dallas Stars got none of it.
Chicago fought a tough fight against the Red Wings. The game went to overtime, and the Hawks ended up with the overtime victory, placing them at 90 points, and in sole possession of the 7th seed in the Western Conference. On a five point night by Teemu Selanne, the Ducks toughed out a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Things were looking good for the Stars when the Avs took a 2-0 lead early. However, the Avalanche have not been very good at all this season, and the feeling was there--that lead was not going to last.
The Ducks now move 3 points ahead of the Stars through 75 games. The Stars have played 74 games. Their remaining schedule is as follows: Phoenix, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Columbus, Colorado twice, and Minnesota to round out the season. It will sound cliche, but it all begins with a tough fight against the defensive-minded Coyotes. Every game from now on is must-win.
But one game stands out. I hope you didn't just glaze over the Anaheim game. That game is at the Honda Center on April 3rd, and it will prove to be the Stars' biggest game of the year. Should the Stars continue to keep pace in some tough games early and beat the Ducks in that matchup, the rest of their schedule favors them, playing three teams that are completely out of the playoff picture in the Blue Jackets, Avalanche and Wild.
Also, that game on April 3rd will be payback. The loss to the Ducks must still be lingering. It was unacceptable by every stretch of the imagination, and it would serve the Stars right to get a huge boost out of a victory in Anaheim as well as close the standings.
It won't be easy at all for the Stars to secure a playoff spot as the toughest part of the Stars' schedule begins now. Games against all playoff teams as well as division mates to start (Coyotes, Sharks, Kings, Ducks) will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination. The Stars cannot expect a lacking effort from their opponents because the West is that tight. Everyone wants the best position.
Realistically speaking, the Stars can only really aim for the eighth seed and hope to play the Vancouver Canucks. For the Stars, the fighting attitude that got them to the tops of their division back in December and January needs to come back now. It's all about a win on Tuesday against the Coyotes. It would be a statement, and it would help the Stars keep pace.
One game at a time, as they say.