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NHL Death Watch: Dallas Stars surging; Avalanche near death

Greg Wyshynski
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Since we're down to the final moments of postseason life for teams in contention, Puck Daddy solemnly begins a daily countdown to annihilation.

The Dallas Stars’ 5-2 at Nashville dropped the Predators’ playoff chances to nil and their tragic number to five.

Conversely, it gave Dallas a strong playoff heartbeat with eight games remaining.

The Stars now have 43 points, tied with Phoenix and two in back of the No. 8-seeded Detroit Red Wings.

They didn’t play well, writes Mike Heika, but they got it done vs. Nashville:

Bottom line, the Stars did what they had to do Friday. They pushed the dream forward and won their fourth straight game. They made Saturday’s contest vs. San Jose that much more important. The Sharks have a 21-12-7 record, good for 49 points, so the Stars probably aren’t going to catch them. But they can catch somebody if they keep winning.

The Stars are 20-17-3, good for 43 points. They are two points behind eighth place Detroit with one game in hand. They have a one-game lead on the first tiebreaker (Regulation or Overtime Wins). They are sitting pretty.

Coming up, the playoff pictures for the East and West, as we shift the focus to playoff seeding. The full NHL standings and schedules can be found on Y! Sports.

All playoff percentages are from Sports Club Stats; tragic numbers and other figures via the NHL. A team is eliminated from play-offs when their "Tragic Number" hits 0.

Team (Games Remaining) Place/Pts/ROW Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
Ottawa Senators (7) 6th/48/17 - 97.8 25 11
New York Islanders (7) 7th/46/18 - 86.5 30 27
New York Rangers (8) 8th/44/16 - 86.8 19 30
Winnipeg Jets (6) 9th/44/20 12 38.3 19 32
New Jersey Devils (7) 10th/40/13 10 2.0 0 2
Buffalo Sabres (7) 11th/38/11 8 0.3 0 0
Philadelphia Flyers (8) 12th/37/16 9 0.8 0 0
Tampa Bay Lightning (8) 13th/36/16 8 1.1 0 0
Carolina Hurricanes (8) 14th/34/16 6 0.0 0 0
Florida Panthers (8) 15th/32/10 4 0.0 0 0

So the Devils are just about done, going from Stanley Cup Finalist to the draft lottery thanks to two timely injuries (first Marty Brodeur, then Ilya Kovalchuk) and a roster that couldn’t generate enough offense this season. Their 2-0 loss to the Senators on Friday night pushed Ottawa firmly into the playoffs, just a point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for fifth.

Big game today in the conference: The New York Rangers visit the New York Islanders in a de facto playoff game.

Team (Games Remaining) Place/Pts/ROW Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
Minnesota Wild (8) 7th/46/18 - 90 35 15
Detroit Red Wings (7) 8th/45/17 - 55.3 16 31
Dallas Stars (8) 9th/43/18 14 32.3 9 19
Phoenix Coyotes (7) 10th/43/15 12 16.6 4 11
Columbus Blue Jackets (7) 11th/43/14 12 11 3 8
Edmonton Oilers (8) 12th/39/14 10 2.3 0 2
Nashville Predators (6) 13th/38/13 5 0.0 0 0
Calgary Flames (8) 14th/34/15 5 0.0 0 0
Colorado Avalanche (7) 15th/32/12 1 OUT - -

If the Avalanche lose to the Canucks in regulation or overtime on Saturday night, they’re eliminated.

That’s the bad news. The good news is VEGAS, BABY!

The Anaheim Ducks have clinched a playoff spot, joining the Blackhawks in the conference playoffs.

Huge game Saturday between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild in Lumbus, as a regulation win would push the Jackets close to 20-percent probability for a playoff spot.

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