The Dallas Stars Playoff Window is Closing Quickly

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OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 16: Dallas Stars Left Wing Jamie Benn (14) skates during the third period of the NHL game between the Ottawa Senators and the Dallas Stars on March 16, 2018 at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Steven Kingsman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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The Dallas Stars currently hold a record of 38-28-8 and sit in sixth place in the Central Division. They have 84 points – four less than the Anaheim Ducks (second Wild Card slot) and also four less than the Colorado Avalanche (first Wild Card slot). As of right now, the Stars are out of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and with only eight games left to play, their window is closing – and it’s closing fast.

The Dallas Stars Playoff Window is Closing Quickly

The Stars are coming off of a disastrous road trip, one that resulted in them going 0-4-2 and dropping out of a playoff spot. They sit right behind the St. Louis Blues (85 points), who are also fighting for a spot in the postseason. The Stars play Friday night at home against the hot Boston Bruins in what is a must-win game, so to say. The Stars need to defeat the Bruins at home in order to gain some momentum, and then from there, win an additional three-to-four games out of the remaining seven. Along with this, they would need some luck from the hockey gods in order for them to secure that playoff spot and pass the Blues and Ducks.

It is a tight race, with five teams battling it out for those coveted Wild Card slots, but the Stars need to answer the call and avoid not making the postseason for a second season in a row.

Stars Have an Optimistic Approach to the Race

“We had such great energy in the last four games and such great efforts throughout the hockey club, you feel like throughout the process that it is going to turn your way,” head coach Ken Hitchcock told SportsDay Dallas.

“What changes is the time of year. If we were playing like this and it was the middle of the season, we’d be very happy knowing that the wheel is going to turn, because it does,” Hitchcock added. “But now, with the shortness of what is left in the season, it kind of magnifies everything. You don’t want to take away the energy, enthusiasm and hard play that is going on right now, that has to be rewarded. But at the end of the day, we know we need wins.”

Forward Alexander Radulov told NHL.com– “We’re in a tough spot, and those games at home are going to be huge. We need those points. We’re still in the battle, and there’s still a lot of hockey left.”

Here is a look at the Stars next eight games and the opponents they are facing:

Date Opponent In hunt?
March 23 Bruins Yes
March 25 Canucks No
March 27 Flyers Yes
March 29 at Wild Yes
March 31 Wild Yes
April 3 at Sharks Yes
April 6 at Ducks Yes
April 7 at Kings Yes

Chart Via SportsDay Dallas News (Article Link Here)

Injury Updates

The Stars have been mixing up their lines due to some unfortunate injuries that have been plaguing the team. Going into Friday’s game against the Bruins, Marc Methot (hand) is questionable and Jason Spezza (back), Ben Bishop (knee), and Martin Hanzal (back) are all out. Kari Lehtonen will be the starter in net for the Stars Friday night. Below is the Stars lines and pairings at Friday’s morning skate. If Methot is not ready for game time, expect Julius Honka to step in in his place.

Now or Never

Eight games are all that remain for the Dallas Stars. These eight games decide if they spend another postseason watching other teams compete, or if they are the ones competing. The path is simple- win Friday night against the Bruins, gain some confidence, and go into the next seven games with a chip on their shoulder. The clock is ticking and the Stars have the weapons they need. Now it’s time to go all in and climb into a playoff spot.

 

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