Fight for Pacific Division, West’s bottom two seeds enters season’s final stretch
After having the night off on Friday, Saturday night's games featuring Western Conference teams did little to provide any separation at the bottom of the playoff pack. The Colorado Avalanche and Phoenix Coyotes each earned points in overtime and shootout losses, respectively, while the Los Angeles Kings were dropped in regulation by the Boston Bruins. Only the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars were able to pick up the full two points.
Heading into Sunday's schedule, with the Coyotes the only team of this bunch in action, here's what the Western Conference playoff picture looks like:
Much like the Southeast Division was looking not too long ago, the Pacific Division is coming down to a four-way dance with the Stars, Coyotes, Kings and Sharks all in line for the throne with the potential safety net of the No. 7 or No. 8 seed.
The Calgary Flames sit on the outside three behind the pack and have lost five straight. Their only hope of getting in? Running the table; and a huge factor in attempting that will be playing five of their last six games at home, a place where they've had good success this season (20-10-6).
From the Calgary Herald:
The hole they've dug is massive.
But they believe, even if they do need all 12 available points to become a spring-time threat.
"We're realists about it," said Michael Cammalleri. "We'll have to use that as a liberating feeling. Everyone here is going to write or comment . . . and all the talk is going to be that our season is over in six games.
"In our room, we'll feel like we have nothing to lose — that's usually a fun way to play — and try to be the Cinderella story that gets to the dance."
With the Northwest Division locked up already, Colorado will have to find its way through the Pacific party in order to make the postseason. Losing in overtime to the Northwest champion Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night, they picked up a point to settle into the three-way tie at 86 points. Not good for the Avs is that San Jose and Los Angeles have two games in hand on them and Phoenix has one. Of course, a wise man once said that games in hand don't mean anything unless you win them, but you'd like to control your own destiny and not rely on the scoreboard bulbs to flicker in your favor.
The Stars are today's Pacific leader and working in their favor has been winning seven of their last 10 games and the tiebreaker, should that be needed. Dallas holds 34 regulation and overtime wins (ROW), while those chasing them have 30 or 31. They play the Flames on Monday and have a home-and-home series with San Jose next Saturday and Tuesday. The way points have been distributed of late, the dust still won't be settled in a week's time and we'll enter the season's final week with with one division and two playoff spots still up for grabs out west.
How do you see the bottom of the Western Conference playoff picture shaking out?
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy