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Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Stars Still Hold the Cards in the Divisional and Conference Game

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The stats show Our Gang still controls its own destiny in the standings. Plus, the Islanders seek high-level help for the "awful" Barclays Center ice, and a revised draft lottery has a supporter in Shane Doan.

Make no mistake, the Blues are still chasing – and the Stars can keep it that way.
Make no mistake, the Blues are still chasing – and the Stars can keep it that way.
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The St. Louis Blues beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2 last night, but the race for the Central Division – and the Western Conference – is still the Dallas Stars' to lose.

In the Hunger Games-style battle royale that is the #MurderDeathKill Division, the odds are (still) ever in the Stars' favor, writes Mark Stepneski:

The Stars have an 82 percent chance of winning the division, according to sportsclubstats.com and a 77.6 percent chance of taking the division, according to hockeyreference.com's playoff probabilities page.

The Blackhawks beat Boston, 6-4, Sunday so they are four points behind the Blues and six points behind the Stars. The Blackhawks are still mathematically alive in the race for first in the Central, but their chances are almost zero. They have a somewhat better chance to move up to second place. We'll see where things stand when the Blackhawks and Blues play Thursday.

There's much more at Mark's blog, including a breakdown of likely first-round opponents and a look at key games from Sunday and Monday. [Stars Inside Edge]

*****

The Stars may have dropped a clinker to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, but Mike Heika writes that their confidence in their game is starting to peak. [SportsDayDFW]

This week's Stars Sunday podcast is online and ready for your time-shifted listening enjoyment.

Difficult news about Brett Ritchie, who has suffered a setback in his injury recovery and will not play in the Stars' last two regular-season games. [SportsDayDFW]

Meanwhile, former Stars first-rounder Scott Glennie has recovered from shoulder surgery (and the excesses of his early professional life) and is "more determined than ever" to get his career back on track. [Winnipeg Free Press]

So yeah, about that Blues win last night....

The Blues also did this without David Backes or Jake Allen, whose injuries will prevent them from suiting up for what's left of the regular season.

The ice at Barclays Center has gotten so terrible – with Kyle Okposo, Thomas Hickey and John Tavares using descriptors such as "awful," "horrendous" and "like skating in mud" – that the New York Islanders have an NHL special agent on the case. [Lighthouse Hockey]

The Isles did manage to take advantage of the Tampa Bay Lightning's injured roster last night to tighten their grip on a playoff spot, 5-2. [CBS Sports]

Meanwhile, the crosstown-rival New York Rangers clinched a spot of their own with a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. [Blueshirt Banter]

And in the Atlantic Division, the Florida Panthers hit 99 points for the first time in their history with a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs that also locked up home-ice advantage. [Associated Press/WRAL]

Matt Duchene got his 30th goal of the season as his team, the Colorado Avalanche, saw its playoff hopes all but vanish with a 5-1 loss to the Blues. Should he have, y'know, toned down the celly? Coach Patrick Roy thought so. [ESPN]

Will the Leafs look back on Nazem Kadri's season-ending suspension as the final rivet in the tank that let them draft Auston Matthews? Allan Muir makes the case. [Sports Illustrated]

Speaking of the draft lottery, Coyotes captain Shane Doan has a good reason to support a new system that rewards points accrued after playoffs elimination.

Sean McIndoe talks about the so-called Gold Plan, and takes the temperatures of the injured stars of NHL playoff teams, in his latest Down Goes Brown column.

An Alex Carpenter goal gave Team USA the victory over Team Canada in an overtime thriller for the Women's World Championship Monday night.

Finally: Jamie Benn and the league's most tastefully restrained goal celebration are the subjects of this week's Bud Light Frozen Moment. Enjoy.