2014 Playoff Tracker for April 6

Sunday, 04.06.2014 / 10:49 AM
Mark Stepneski

The Dallas Stars moved back into the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with their 5-2 win at Tampa Bay Saturday night. They are one point ahead of Phoenix and they still have one game in hand, which they will play Sunday at Florida.

Saturday's win was big on a few levels for the Stars. First, it moved them back into that playoff spot, but the regulation win also guaranteed that they will own the first tiebreaker - regulation/overtime wins (ROW) - over the Coyotes at the end of the season. The Stars lead that tiebreaker 35-30 and Phoenix has only four games left, so they Coyotes can't catch the Stars in ROW. Also, the win earned them two points against a tough opponent to start off a stretch that will see them play four games in the next five days.

Sunday's game will be tough as well. The Panthers may be struggling but they'll be rested. It's their second game in five days. The Stars, on the other hand, will be playing on a second straight day and the game is an early start (5 pm ET/4 pm CT). It will also be their fourth game in the last six days. This will be a challenge, but the Stars really need the points to make the most of that one game in hand they have on the Coyotes. A three or two point lead going into the final week looks better than a one point lead.

The Minnesota Wild, who hold the first wild card spot, won again, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 Saturday night. Last week, the Wild looked like they were faltering but they have gotten back on track and are in very good shape right now. They are five points up on the Stars and six ahead of the Coyotes.

Minnesota is 3-0-1 (7 points) over the last four games following a stretch where they lost four of five. The Stars are 4-1-0 (8 points) over their last five games after they had lost four of six games. And Phoenix is 0-2-2 (2 points) over their last four after going 9-3-1 in their previous 13 games. That goes to show how much things can change over a short time, so a lot can still happen in this final week of the season.

Vancouver defeated Los Angeles, 2-1, and Nashville defeated San Jose, 3-0, so both the Canucks and Predators avoided mathematical elimination from the playoff race Saturday night. With their loss, the Sharks remained one point behind Anaheim in the race for the top spot in the Pacific Division. The Ducks have two games in hand, and will play one of them tonight when they take on the Oilers in Edmonton.

Colorado defeated St. Louis 4-0 in a game that featured 167 penalty minutes. The Avalanche pulled three points ahead of Chicago for second place in the Central Division and home ice in a first round playoff matchup. Chicago hosts St. Louis on Sunday.

Playoff chances

The Stars' chances of making the playoffs went up with their win, according to the sites that track playoff chances.

Hockeyreference.com's playoff probabilities report says the Stars have an 83.1 percent chance of getting the playoffs. Phoenix is down to 17.2 percent. Minnesota is at 99.6 percent.

Sportsclubstats.com gives the Stars an 86.1 percent chance of making the playoffs. Phoenix dropped down to 14.3 percent. Minnesota is at 99.6 percent.

Western Conference Playoff Race

RK

CENTRAL DIVISION

GP

W

L

OT

PTS

ROW

DIFF

Last night

Tonight

1 x-St. Louis 77 52 18 7 111 43 70 L 4-0 vs. COL @ CHI
2

x-Colorado

77 50 21 6 106 45 31 W 4-0 @ STL  
3

x-Chicago

78 44 19 15 103 38 50   vs. STL
RK

PACIFIC DIVISION

GP

W

L

OT

PTS

ROW

DIFF

Last night

Tonight

1

x-Anaheim

77 50 19 8 108 48 51   @ EDM
2

x-San Jose

79 49 21 9 107 39 47 L 3-0 vs. NSH  
3

x-Los Angeles

79 45 28 6 96 37 31 L 2-1 @ VAN  
RK

WILD CARD

GP

W

L

OT

PTS

ROW

DIFF

Last night

Tonight

1

Minnesota

78 40 26 12 92 33 1 W 4-0 vs. PIT  
2

Dallas

77 38 28 11 87 35 7 W 5-2 @ TBL @ FLA
3

Phoenix

78 36 28 14 86 30 -12    
4 Nashville 78 35 32 11 81 33 -33 W 3-0 @ SJS  
5

Vancouver

78 35 32 11 81 30 -23 W 2-1 vs. LAK  
x - clinched playoff spot

Playoff format

The playoff format this season has changed due to realignment. The playoffs are now divisional. In the first round, the division winner with the most points will play the wild card team with the fewest points. The division leader with the second-most points will play the wild card team with the most points. The second-place team in each division will play the third-place team in each division. The wild card teams will stay in the division they play in the first round.

For example, if the playoffs started today: The Central Division playoff would have St. Louis (division winner with most points) vs. Dallas (wild card with fewest points) and Colorado vs. Chicago. The winner of St. Louis-Dallas would play the winner of Colorado-Chicago in the division finals. The Pacific Division playoffs would have Anaheim (division winner with second-most points) vs. Minnesota (wild card with most points) and San Jose vs. Los Angeles. The winner of Anaheim-Minnesota would play the winner of San Jose-Los Angeles in the division finals.

The division champions would then play in the conference finals. There is no more reseeding of teams after each round, it is bracket play leading up to the conference finals.

The Western and Eastern conference champions, of course, then play for the Stanley Cup.

Wild card playoff race schedules

 

1. Minnesota

2. Dallas

3. Phoenix

4. Nashville

5. Vancouver

Points

92

87

86

81

81

ROW

33

35

30

33

30

Games Remaining

4

5

4

4

4

Home

3

3

2

2

3

Road

1

2

2

2

1

Apr 6

 

@ FLA

 

 

 

Apr 7

@ WPG

 

 

 

vs. ANA

Apr 8

vs. BOS

vs. NSH

@ CBJ

@ DAL

 

Apr 9

 

vs. CBJ

 

 

 

Apr 10

vs. STL

 

@ NSH

vs. PHX

vs. COL

Apr 11

 

vs. STL

 

 

 

Apr 12

 

 

vs. SJS

vs. CHI

@ EDM

Apr 13

vs. NSH

@ PHX

vs. DAL

@ MIN

vs. CGY

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