The already tight Western Conference playoff race got even tighter Thursday night, and if you're a Dallas Stars fan, it was a rough night to be scoreboard watching.
With the Stars 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks and the combination of other Western Conference results that you can read more about in the links below, the Stars now sit in eighth place in the Western Conference, one point behind third-place Los Angeles and seventh-place Phoenix and tied with ninth-place Colorado.
The good news for Dallas? The Stars have games in hand on all the teams involved, including two on the Avalanche.
It could push us out," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "Maybe it's a good reality check of how delicate these next eight games are."
After the jump, more on the loss to the Canucks, the identity of the best teams in the league and reasons for both optimism and pessimism.
- The change in playoff positioning was the obvious story from last night's loss, and the Stars did have their chances to at least get one point but could never take advantage of opportunities like a Mike Ribeiro penalty shot. [ESPN Dallas]
- All the notes and quotes you need, at least from a Stars perspective. [DallasNews.com]
- Our friends over at Nucks Misconduct might be great fun when they migrate over for a game thread, but I get the sense they still don't like the Stars very much. [Nucks Misconduct]
- The strong-to-very-strong night of Cory Schneider was one of the biggest stories from the Nucks side of things. [The Vancouver Sun]
- Before Stars color man extraordinaire Daryl Reaugh called the snot out of Thursday's game, he jumped onto the Puck Daddy podcast. He makes his appearance about 30 minutes into the show. [Puck Daddy]
- With all the talk of bounties in the NFL, it was natural that questions about a similar system would come up in hockey. But Glen Gulutzan, who's been involved with hockey at every level, says he's never seen anything of that nature. [DallasNews.com]
- Gulutzan may not have been pleased with the play of his team, but he did think the three-game suspension for Shane Doan was fair. [ESPN Dallas]
- I'm sticking with a theme of "looking at the bright side" today, so think of how much worse things could be if the Stars were already in the proposed realignment scenario and stuck in a division with no hope of making the playoffs at this point. [Puck Daddy]
- The Bill Simmons column linked in this story is also worth a read, but Justin Bourne takes it a step further with his quest to discern the identity of some of the better teams in the NHL. It also begs the question - what is the Stars identity? [Backhand Shelf]
Duncan Keith will have a hearing today with Brendan Shanahan for his elbow that left Daniel Sedin almost certainly concussed. [Chicago Sun-Times]
- Meet the enemy: About the only good news on the scoreboard front was the fact that the Minnesota Wild staged a comeback against the Calgary Flames to take the game 3-2 in a shootout. Calgary will now be even more desperate for points on Saturday. [Calgary Herald]
- Around the Pacific Division: The Stars got absolutely no help from the divisional rivals tonight, who were all in tough games. The San Jose Sharks beat the Boston Bruins 2-1, the Los Angeles Kings beat the St. Louis Blues 1-0 in a shootout, and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in blessed regulation. [San Jose Mercury News/Los Angeles Times/Arizona Republic]
- Down Goes Brown gives us reasons for optimism and pessimism in the way only they can. [Down Goes Brown]
- I know I should link a cranky post-game interview video. But as your resident rules and refereeing nerd, I found this video of a mic'd up AHL linesman to be most intriguing, and if I don't share it with you all now, I'll forget. It's been that type of week.