The math says that with any combination of somewhere between two and four losses, the Dallas Stars will be pretty much toast. That would put 90 points out of reach. Mathematical elimination would come a little later- It always takes longer than you think.
Because you already know it's over. The next stop on the perfunctory tour is a trip out West to Western Canada and a swing through Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary. But first, a date with the San Jose Sharks.
The Sharks... the Sharks... Where the hell have the Sharks been all year long?
Had the Dallas Stars been where they expected to be, three games against the Sharks in late March would have been something to anticipate. It would have shaped playoff seeding. It would have been billed as a possible preview- an extended one- at a possible WCF series.
Had the Dallas Stars been at the very least in the playoff hunt, three games against the Sharks in late March could have been season defining, depending on well they match up with them- Or not.
As it is, it's a bit of a curiosity of scheduling and little more, though perhaps the repetition will make hearts grow fonder in a way that produces PIMs. There's little else to hope for at this point.
"It is weird" Stars coach Lindy Ruff of the fact that they haven't played the Sharks. "They play a real up-tempo, speed game. It's going to be a good test. Like Washington, deep at forward and they play a game where their defense is involved. It will be a similar style of test for us."
I, for one, cannot help but think about Brenden Morrow when a late night battle against the Sharks comes up on the schedule. It's a rarity these days, and say what you will about the woebegone bankruptcy era but these contests were always my favorite. It's been in the news this week that the former Stars captain is being treated for possible brain injury due to his NHL career. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.
The Sharks have a healthy lead in the Pacific Division over the Ducks and seem a lock to wrap that up down the stretch- The Stars will have a say in that, though, obviously. They'll get the stronger of the two Wild Card teams to start, which could be an inter-divisional affair.
San Jose dropped a 3-1 decision to the Preds last night at home- The first night of a back-to-back home set. This is the third game of a six-game set at the Shark Tank for San Jose, part of a stretch of seven-of-nine at home to start March. Quite a counterpoint to Dallas' road heavy schedule.
Speaking of advantageous schedules- The Sharks play the Stars next week as parts of two back-to-back situations. The Stars are the first night of both and not the second. Boy, would that have hacked us off if any of this were pertinent.
From Stars PR:
"DO YOU KNOW THE WAY TO SAN JOSE?"
The Dallas Stars travel to San Jose on Sunday night to take on the Sharks in the first game of a four-game road trip. Dallas and San Jose meet for the first of three matchups during the 2016-17 season, with all three contests occurring in a 13 day period (March 12 at San Jose, March 20 vs. San Jose, and March 24 vs. San Jose). During the 2015-16 campaign, the Stars collected points in every game against the Sharks (2-0-1). At SAP Center, Dallas is riding a five-game point streak (2-0-3) and collected three of four points (1-0-1) last season. In the most recent game between the two clubs in San Jose, the Stars defeated the Sharks, 4-2, on March 26, 2016. Forward Mattias Janmark lit the lamp for a career-best two goals (2-0=2) and tied his career-high for points in a single game. Two other Stars recorded multi-point outings including forwards Patrick Sharp (1-1=2) and Jason Spezza (0-2=2). Goaltender Antti Niemi stopped 34-of-36 shots for his second victory of the 2015-16 campaign against his former club, collecting points in all three games against them (2-0-1) last season. Amongst all Stars skaters, forward Patrick Sharp leads the club with 28 points (12-16=28) in 37 career contests against San Jose.
IT'S ONLY THE SEGUINING
Forward Tyler Seguin lit the lamp (1-0=1) on Wednesday night against Ottawa and now has points in four consecutive games (1-5=6) and has posted 23 points (7-16=23) over his last 20 contests. With his assist (0-1=1) on March 6 against the Capitals, he notched his 300th career point (129-171=300) in a Dallas Stars sweater. His 301 points (130-171=301) since the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign ranks fourth in the NHL behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby (343), Jamie Benn (318) and Chicago's Patrick Kane (310). This season, he leads the club and shares eighth in the NHL with 67 points (23-44=67) in 67 games and his 44 assists are tied for fourth in the League. Away from American Airlines Center, Seguin shares 10th in the NHL with 31 points (11-20=31) in 31 road games this season and has logged points in four of his last five road games (1-7=8). The native of Brampton, Ont. is riding a five-game point streak against the Sharks (5-5=10) and has registered a point in six of his seven career contests (6-5=11) against the Sharks wearing a Dallas Stars sweater. He has points in three consecutive games at SAP Center (1-4=5). Seguin has tallied 12 points (7-5=12) in 10 career games against the Sharks.