NHL Death Watch: Stars, Jackets have Golden State opportunity; Devils face elimination (Puck Daddy)

Since we're down to the final moments of postseason life for teams in contention, Puck Daddy solemnly begins a daily countdown to annihilation. The Detroit Red Wings had a game in-hand on the Dallas Stars, and managed to gain a point in a shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Trouble is, that opened the door for the Dallas Stars to control their own destiny. OK, math majors: • The Columbus Blue Jackets, current No. 8 seed, have 49 points and 16 ROW with three games left. Which means at best they can get to 55 points and 19 ROW. • The Detroit Red Wings, current No. 9 seed, have 48 points and 18 ROW with four games left. Which means at best they can get to 56 points and 22 ROW. Which means they can finish ahead of the Blue Jackets if both win out. However … • The Dallas Stars, current No. 10 seed, have 47 points and 20 ROW with four games left. Which means at best they can get to 55 wins and 24 ROW, with one important caveat: They play the Red Wings in the final game of the season. So if the Stars win out, the best Detroit can do is 54 points with a regulation loss to Dallas and 55 points with an OT loss. If the Stars win out, they’ll hold the tie-breaker in ROW against both the Blue Jackets and Red Wings if they’re tied in points. Now, will everyone win out? Of course not. And the Minnesota Wild and Phoenix Coyotes may yet factor into the fate of the No. 8 seed. This is merely saying that the Stars have a path to the playoffs, and it begins in Los Angeles on Sunday. 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.

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