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Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Stars Begin Their Final Fight for a Playoff Spot

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The next big obstacle: the next two games against the Wild. Plus, the Nashville Predators vs. everyone else, and the Stars’ ECHL team clinches a playoff spot.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars kept their faint playoff hopes alive with Tuesday’s win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Now they face a major test of resolve: an intradivisional home-and-away with the Minnesota Wild that begins tonight in Xcel Energy Center at 7 p.m. Central.

The Stars won’t catch the Wild, who currently hold 94 points and a game in hand, as well as third place in the Central Division. However, two wins could get the Stars back within striking distance of the second wild-card spot, if the Anaheim Ducks falter on Friday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

Head coach Ken Hitchcock is working on the lineup he wants to take into Minneapolis. It will likely involve a return to 12 forwards and six defenders, writes Mark Stepneski:

“We’re going to make some changes. We’ll make some changes. That’s all,” [Hitchcock] said. “We’ve got to get better combinations. We’ll make some changes for tomorrow.”

He also said he wouldn’t go with the configuration of 11 forwards and 7 defensemen he used in Tuesday’s win over the Flyers due to having a few defensemen dinged up.

”We got the health report on a couple of guys today and they’ll go full-go tomorrow, so that will bring us back to 12 and 6,” he said.

Starting goalie Ben Bishop skated in full gear yesterday, but Hitch warns that Big Ben’s injury status is unchanged:

“No, middle of next week give me a call then,” he said. “The same stuff. He’s in a guarded situation stopping pucks, so it’s [Kari Lehtonen’s] net until the weekend here, and then we’ll see starting Monday where Ben is at.”

Mark has more at the Stars’ official site. [Stars Inside Edge]


More Stars

Mark brought the official Stars-Wild preview, which you can enjoy alongside the DBD report.

And Stars digital correspondent Scott Burnside revisited what went right in the Stars’ Tuesday win.

The Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika examines the question many Stars fans have been asking: Can Hitch-style hockey still win the day in a faster, fleeter league?

Alexander Radulov has had an amazing season no matter what else happens.

Around the League(s)

#Death Takes A Holiday: The Colorado Avalanche are still four points ahead of the Stars – but they missed a chance to make progress toward a Western Conference wild-card spot with a 2-1 loss to the Flyers. [Broad Street Hockey]

Elsewhere, the Toronto Maple Leafs have set a new franchise wins record, and Steve Dangle must not have any idea how to feel right now.

Justin Cuthbert ranks the 2018 Stanley Cup contenders, from the Nashville Predators to, well, everybody else.

Huge defender Zdeno Chara just turned 41, and he celebrated by signing a one-year, $5 million extension with the Boston Bruins.

Roberto Luongo has his own way of staying in game condition. Let the Florida Panthers’ 38-year-old Masterton Trophy nominee tell you about it.

Ryan Kennedy takes a look at some of the top 2018 NHL draft prospects who are currently involved in postseason play.

Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park (and Beautiful Boise)

The Texas Stars lost 3-2 to the Grand Rapids Griffins last night, but they’re still hanging on to a Calder Cup playoff position.

Have you checked in lately with the Stars’ ECHL affiliate? The Idaho Steelheads have clinched their 2018 Kelly Cup playoff spot, and tickets are on sale now.

Finally

Even if you hate the idea of tanking for draft position, you can have fun with the Tankathon draft lottery simulator. Check out the latest odds in the Rasmus Dahlin sweepstakes, and enjoy.