The Western Conference standings are beginning to get tighter and tighter. That’s intriguing news for the Dallas Stars, whose margin for error is shrinking as a result.
With 31 regular season games behind them, the Dallas Stars have a lot to look back and reflect on.
There have been some rocky lows, some thrilling highs, and some altogether confusing in-betweens through the first 38 percent of the season. But all of it combined together has made for a pretty interesting run.
It’s also helped craft an overall record of 17-13-1 for the Stars. That’s 35 points in 31 games, which is respectable. It may not be as high as Dallas Stars fans expected it to be at this point in the season, but it’s definitely better than the 12-13-6 mark that they held at this point in last season.
As the Stars continue to search for a consistent identity for their team, the standings are consistently fluctuating. And that is beginning to bring some interesting conversations to light, specifically for Dallas.
After the win against the New York Rangers on Monday night, the Dallas Stars improved to 35 points on the year. This win effectively wiped out a three-game losing skid and gave the Stars a much-needed boost. It also helped vault the Stars back into the playoff picture.
Just a little over a week ago, Dallas was four points out of third place in the Central Division. They had won five games in a row and looked like serious contenders. But after losing three straight, they were bumped from the postseason picture altogether.
That just goes to show how tight the standings are right now. And it looks as though they are only getting tighter, meaning the Stars have less and less room for error.
With Monday night’s win, Dallas jumped into the first wild card spot in the Western Conference. But it didn’t last long.
After a 2-1 shootout victory over the Calgary Flames tonight, the Minnesota Wild picked up their 34th and 35th points of the season. Considering they have done this in only 30 games, they took sole control of the first wild card spot and bumped Dallas to the second seed.
With St. Louis (32 games, 44 points), Winnipeg (31 games, 41 points), and Nashville (29 games, 30 points) all holding steady in the top three spots in the Central Division, the Stars are currently scrapping simply for a wild card spot. That’s becoming tougher and tougher, though, as more teams join the race and attempt to state their claim.
Here is a look at the standings as of Wednesday morning in the Western Conference wild card race.
WC1. Minnesota Wild 30 GP 35 PTS
WC2. Dallas Stars 31 GP 35 PTS
3. Chicago Blackhawks 31 GP 35 PTS
4. Calgary Flames 31 GP 35 PTS
5. Anaheim Ducks 31 GP 33 PTS
6. Vancouver Canucks 31 GP 32 PTS
As you can see, the race is rather airtight. Only three points separate the top six teams in the wild card standings.
That creates a decent amount of pressure for the teams currently at the front of the race (i.e. Minnesota and Dallas). The pressure is on to keep the intensity alive and continue producing at a high rate.
Chicago has won three in a row, Calgary is 2-0-2 in their last four games, and Anaheim has points in each of their past five games. The teams around the Stars are staying hot and starting to generate a push.
It’s going to be up to Dallas to push back and create a streak of their own. With it being December, there is still plenty of time left before we start watching the standings. But until then, they are helpful to keep around.
It’s still early in the year and there is plenty of time for teams to go one way or the other. But as it stands right now, the Dallas Stars are in for a real show over the next few games as they look to battle it out and keep themselves in the wild card running. Any one slip-up could be detrimental and pin the Stars in a hole that they then have to fight their way out of.
Getting buried in the standings took a toll on the Stars last season. Will it happen again this year? It’s all up to how the team plays, and that play continues tonight at 6:00 p.m. against the New York Islanders.