Only two games were played last night that impacted the Western Conference Playoff race.
- Chicago 3, Carolina 2 (SO) - The Blackhawks overcame a game tying power goal against from Carolina's Tuomo Ruutu with 26.5 seconds left in regulation to defeat the Hurricanes in the shootout to further solidify their hold on the 4th seed.
- Anaheim 4, Vancouver 3 (OT) - Scott Niedermayer scored 3:37 into OT during an unusual 3-on-3 situation setup by Pavol Demitra's hook 2:13 into the extra session which was negated by Teemu Selanne's hold 1:07 later. The win allowed the Ducks to pull even with the Stars at 70 points apiece.
So how does the playoff race look now?
As you can see, the projected point total for making the playoffs for the field is 88. But as mentioned days earlier, Dallas isn't positioned to win many tiebreakers amongst their competition at this point because of their comparitively low win total.
Which got me to thinking about some of those games in which the Stars squandered a chance at some points because they surrendered a late regulation goal to either cost themselves a win or at least a tie, or an OT or shootout loss.
- 11-8 at San Jose - San Jose 2, Dallas 1 - This was yet another tight contest between the Sharks and the Stars that appeared to be headed to at least OT and would have garnered the Stars at least a point. That is, before Marty Turco decided he was going to try and backhand Brad Lukowich's dump in up the ice. Instead, the puck hit the forechecking Patrick Marleau in the skates and was gathered by the Sharks' captain and put into the empty net with just 28.3 seconds left on the clock.
- 1-10 at Phoenix - Phoenix 1, Dallas 0 (SO) - Recognizing this was a goaltender duel that went into a shootout (double coin flip as a result), the Stars still had a chance to pull this win out of the desert a few months ago after James Neal scored in the 4th round of the shootout to give Dallas the upper hand. Had Turco stopped Steve Reinprecht, they win the game.
Instead, this Stars kills scored to prolong the shootout, Mike Modano's attempt was stopped by Ilya Bryzgalov, and Kyle Turris scored to end it.
- 1-15 at Dallas - Buffalo 5, Dallas 4 (SO) - I witnessed this live. Amongst more Buffalo fans than I care to ever be around, again, in my life. Dallas scored two goals in the first and then one early in the second to open up a 3-0 lead. The Sabres got that goal back then scored early in the third to cut the deficit to 3-2. Brad Richards' restored Dallas' lead to 4-2 48 seconds later at the 3:49 mark.
Then Dallas collapsed in a span of 15 seconds during the middle part of the period as Paul Gaustad and Clarke MacArthur scored to tie it at 4-4. It stayed that way through the end of regulation and OT, so to the shootout we went where Turco had a chance to win it in the 5th round after Jere Lehtinen scored to give Dallas the upper hand.
But just like 4 nights earlier, Derek Roy scored to extend the shootout, Mark Parrish was stopped to open the 6th round and Jason Pominville ended it, sending thousands of Sabre fans into a frenzy.
- 3-5 at Los Angeles - Los Angeles 5, Dallas 4 (OT) - James reminded me of this game in the comments. For some reason, I blocked this one out. Just like all the other bad losses to the Kings at Staples Center over the years I suppose.
Anyway, this one was recent enough that I don't think I have to remind anyone what happened that night.