Dallas Stars Playoff Outlook: Friday 3/18/2011

If other Dallas Stars fans are anything like me, they were walking down the stairs at the AAC (unless they're those rich, snobby kind of fans already downstairs) trying to figure out where to place a 5-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in the context of the playoff race.

Here we had Chicago who, on national television, completely demolished the Sharks on Monday. San Jose then came to Dallas and demolished the Stars, and Chicago followed, getting pummeled and annihilated in the process. So...Who is the better team? It just depends on what night it is, evidently.

What is for sure is that Dallas held on to a top 8 spot with the two points and now hold the first tie breaker (head to head points) against the Hawks having gone 3-1-0 in the season series.

Winning was the only acceptable alternative because it's all anyone else did on Thursday night.

Phoenix vs Edmonton (yawn), Nashville vs an Eastern Conference team (the east is a joke), Calgary vs Colorado (yawn), Los Angeles vs St. Louis (whoops!)...nearly all the enemies of the Dallas Stars earned points against lesser competition while the Stars were taking out the defending champs to stay afloat.

GP W L OTL Points ROW
4 Phoenix 72 38 23 11 87 34
5 Los Angeles 71 40 26 5 85 33
6 Dallas 71 38 25 8 84 33
7 Chicago 71 38 25 8 84 33
8 Calgary 73 37 27 9 83 29
9 Nashville 71 36 25 10 82 30
10 Anaheim 70 38 27 5 81 34

The math would have been flat out ugly the rest of the way had the Stars lost to Chicago, but the two points takes them away from the ledge and means they must only play "good" hockey the rest of the way, not "great".

Sport Club Stats says the likelihood of Dallas making the playoffs went up nearly 10% last night.

With two games against Anaheim remaining it's clear what's most important as things move along. The Ducks must be defeated, and defeated twice if the Stars are to keep them out of the top 8. The game in Nashville should also be considered a must win. Those W's must be part of five or six wins found in a scant eleven game schedule remaining.

The Stars saved their season last night, ensuring they don't have to chase "lights out hockey" the rest of the way to get in. Yet. Let's see if they can save it again on Saturday.

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