Eye on the Scoreboad

With two games left in the regular season and the Dallas Stars sitting in ninth place in the West, a lot of help will be needed from other teams in order to get Dallas into the playoffs. I’ll be giving a quick look at the teams that the Stars have a chance of catching in the playoff race, and how they have fared against their next opponents. Tiebreakers could also come into effect at the end of the season and they are decided like this:

  1. Regulation and Overtime Wins: The team with the most regulation and overtime wins will win this tiebreaker.
  2. Head-to-Head Record: Pretty self-explanatory here.
  3. Goal Differential: The team with the better goal differential will win this tiebreaker. Goal differential is decided by the total number of goals scored during the season minus the total number of goals allowed.

And here is the look at the teams that Dallas is chasing:

  • Chicago Blackhawks – Eighth seed in the West. Two points ahead of Dallas and holds the first tiebreaker by one more regulation win than Dallas. Dallas has a 3-1-0 head-to-head record against Chicago.
    • Chicago plays their final two games against the Red Wings, one game in Detroit and the last game in Chicago.
    • Blackhawks own a 3-1-0 record against Detroit this year and have won both games in Detroit. They are outscoring the Red Wings by a 13-7 margin.
    • Starting goaltender Corey Crawford is 3-0-0 against Detroit with a 1.33 goals-against average and .962 save percentage.
    • Chicago is 6 for 14 (43%) on power-play chances against Detroit.
    • Patrick Sharp returned for the Blackhawks in their last game.
    • Detroit’s leading point-getter, Henrik Zetterberg, will miss the Red Wings’ last two games of the season with a lower body injury. He has one goal in the season series.
  • Anaheim Ducks – Seventh seed in the West. Two points ahead of Dallas and the Stars can not beat them in the first tiebreaker.
    • Anaheim plays their final two games of the season in a home-and-home series against the Los Angeles Kings.
    • The Ducks are 2-2-0 against LA this year.
    • The Kings are without goalscorer Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar, their leader in assists and points.
    • Corey Perry, the NHL’s leading goalscorer, has a goal in eight of his past ten games. He has multiple goals in five of them.
    • Anaheim, the 3rd ranked power-play in the NHL, are 1 for 8 (13%) against the Kings 2nd ranked penalty-kill.
  • Phoenix Coyotes – Sixth seed in the West. They are four points ahead of the Stars and are ahead of them by one game in the first tiebreaker. They hold the second tiebreaker over the Stars with a 4-2-0 record against them this season.
    • Phoenix only needs one point to clince a playoff spot.
    • They play San Jose in a home-and-home series for their final two games.
    • San Jose is 4-0-0 against Phoenix this year, outscoring them 17-7. They scored at least four goals in each game and won each time in regulation.
    • The Sharks have won eight straight against Phoenix, dating back to last year. Their last loss regular season loss to the Coyotes was in Dec. 12, 2009.
    • Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi has won eight of his last nine games. His only loss was a 4-3 shootout loss to Los Angeles.
    • Phoenix will have Lauri Korpikoski and Ed Jovanovski back in this game.
    • San Jose is 5 for 15 (33%) on the power-play against the Coyotes this season.
  • Nashville Predators – Fifth seed in the West. They are four points ahead of the Stars and are ahead of them by one game in the first tiebreaker. They split the season series 2-2. Nashville holds the goal differential advantage over Dallas. They are +24 in the differential while Dallas is -5.
    • Nashville needs one points to clinch a playoff spot.
    • They play home to Columbus and then at St. Louis for their final two games of the regular season.
    • They are 3-2-0 against Columbus and 2-2-1 against St. Louis this year.
    • Nashville has won 16 straight games at home coming into their next game against Columbus.
    • Columbus is without Rick Nash, their leader in all offensive categories, for what looks to be the rest of the season. They have lost all four games without him and have managed seven goals in their last four games.
    • Columbus is also without starting goaltender Steve Mason. His backup, Mathieu Garon, is 0-5-1 in his career playing at Nashville.
    • Columbus is 2-5-3 in its last ten games so it looks like Nashville is almost a lock to make the playoffs.