NHL Death Watch: Oh, look, Dallas Stars screwed themselves again

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

Just a guess, but Dallas Stars fans are probably sick of seeing their team use its own foot for target practice.

Like two years ago, when all the Stars needed to do was defeat a Minnesota team with nothing to play for in order to earn a postseason berth. Instead, they gave up two third-period goals, lost in the last game of the regular season and stayed home.

Or like last season, when the Stars had a shot at the division title and instead dropped its final five games.

This season, the Stars controlled their own destiny and had a 2-1 lead at the San Jose Sharks deep into the third period on Tuesday night. Then a Brad Stuart shot was tipped by Joe Pavelski and went in. Then a brutal turnover on a miscommunication between Alex Goligoski and Ray Whitney resulted in a Logan Couture goal that sent the home fans into hysterics and the visiting team into disarray.

The Stars’ tragic number is down to one. Mike Heika attempts to find the silver lining:

Officially, the Stars still have a chance at this. They could beat Columbus in regulation Thursday, see some games fall just the right way, and have a chance to beat Detroit in regulation on Saturday with the playoffs on the line. The fates say all of that is possible, but do you reallly want to be sitting on your couch Saturday waiting for another punch, just knowing that it’s coming?

Many of you say sure, that you can handle it. Heck, let’s play this out until there’s no playing left. And maybe that’s the best attitude.

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 (3) 7th/52/19 - 94.4 31 34
New York Rangers (2) 8th/52/20 - 93.4 36 35
Winnipeg Jets (1) 9th/51/22 2 12.1 1 11

The Jets battled the Capitals before losing, 5-3, and in the process losing the Southeast to Washington.

They have one game left against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Thursday, with Montreal desperately trying to turn its fortunes around before the playoffs hit. Unless, of course, they’re tanking for a first-round series against the Leafs …

The Rangers are at Carolina and host the Devils in their last two. The Senators play at Washington, who has nothing to play for, and then host Philly (ditto) before going to Boston on Sunday for that make-up game. They trail the Islanders by two points, with the Isles having two games left.

The Caps and Islanders clinched playoff spots last night. Yes, the Islanders.

Team (Games Remaining) Place/Pts/ROW Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
Minnesota Wild (2) 7th/53/21 - 97.3 73 14
Columbus Blue Jackets (2) 8th/51/17 - 38.8 4 35
Detroit Red Wings (3) 9th/50/19 5 59.1 13 47
Dallas Stars (2) 10th/48/20 1 4.8 - 5
Phoenix Coyotes (3) 11th/46/15 1 OUT - -

Via Puck-Rakers: “Two regulation wins for the Jackets coupled with a regulation loss by Detroit in any of the Red Wings’ three remaining games would secure a playoff berth for Columbus.”

The Red Wings host the Kings on Wednesday night with a chance to leap-frog over the Blue Jackets via their game in-hand. They host Nashville and travel to Dallas; the Jackets travel to Dallas and then host Nashville.

So, in summary, the Stars and Predators will determine the last seed in the Western Conference.

The Sharks and Blues clinched playoff spots last night.