Stars Stumble Out of Picture

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The Stanley Cup won't be handed out until June, but this is the time when we see teams making runs at the playoffs. And you can't win the Cup if you don't make the playoffs. Race for the Cup is your daily check of where your favorite team stands as the season dwindles.

It's been a long year for coach Dave Tippett and the Dallas Stars. Injuries to guys like Brendan Morrow and Brad Richards have limited the effectiveness of the offense. Defenseman Sergei Zubov missed significant time, and goalie Marty Turco never looked right. The Stars made a nice run after the All-Star break, but a seventh straight loss - Monday night in Phoenix - means it's time to turn off the lights.

In the East
Eastern Conference, 3/30
1. y-Boston Bruins
104 pts
2. x-Washington Capitals
99
3. x-New Jersey Devils
98
4. Philadelphia Flyers 92
5. Carolina Hurricanes
91
6. Pittsburgh Penguins
90
7. New York Rangers
87
8. Montreal Canadiens
86
9. Florida Panthers
85
10. Buffalo Sabres
82
Eastern Conference, 3/30 1.y-Boston Bruins
104 pts2.x-Washington Capitals
993.x-New Jersey Devils
984.Philadelphia Flyers925.Carolina Hurricanes
916.Pittsburgh Penguins
907.New York Rangers
878.Montreal Canadiens
869.Florida Panthers
8510.Buffalo Sabres
82
Eastern Conference, 3/31
1. y-Boston Bruins
106 pts
2. x-Washington Capitals
99
3. x-New Jersey Devils
98
4. Philadelphia Flyers 92
5. Carolina Hurricanes
91
6. Pittsburgh Penguins
90
7. New York Rangers
89
8. Montreal Canadiens
86
9. Florida Panthers
85
10. Buffalo Sabres
82
Eastern Conference, 3/31 1.y-Boston Bruins
106 pts2.x-Washington Capitals
993.x-New Jersey Devils
984.Philadelphia Flyers925.Carolina Hurricanes
916.Pittsburgh Penguins
907.New York Rangers
898.Montreal Canadiens
869.Florida Panthers
8510.Buffalo Sabres
82
Eastern Conference, 3/30
1.y-Boston Bruins
104 pts
2.x-Washington Capitals
99
3.x-New Jersey Devils
98
4.Philadelphia Flyers92
5.Carolina Hurricanes
91
6.Pittsburgh Penguins
90
7.New York Rangers
87
8.Montreal Canadiens
86
9.Florida Panthers
85
10.Buffalo Sabres
82
Eastern Conference, 3/31
1.y-Boston Bruins
106 pts
2.x-Washington Capitals
99
3.x-New Jersey Devils
98
4.Philadelphia Flyers92
5.Carolina Hurricanes
91
6.Pittsburgh Penguins
90
7.New York Rangers
89
8.Montreal Canadiens
86
9.Florida Panthers
85
10.Buffalo Sabres
82

The Rangers beat the Devils 3-0 Monday night, in the only game involving Eastern teams. While it didn't trigger any movement in the standings, it was an important win for the Rangers, keeping them in the hunt for (conceivably) fourth in the East. New York trails Pittsburgh (sixth) by one point, Carolina (fifth) by two, and Philadelphia (fourth) by just three.

New Jersey stays behind second-place Washington, and they're hardly a sure bet to win the Atlantic if they keep in what is now a mini-slump.

In the West

Western Conference, 3/30
1. y-San Jose Sharks
109 pts
2. x-Detroit Red Wings 107
3. Calgary Flames
92
4. Chicago Blackhawks
91
5. Vancouver Canucks
89
6. Columbus Blue Jackets
86
7. Nashville Predators
82
8. Edmonton Oilers
81
9. St. Louis Blues
81
10. Anaheim Ducks
80
11. Minnesota Wild
78
Western Conference, 3/30 1.y-San Jose Sharks
109 pts2.x-Detroit Red Wings1073.Calgary Flames
924.Chicago Blackhawks
915.Vancouver Canucks
896.Columbus Blue Jackets
867.Nashville Predators
828.Edmonton Oilers
819.St. Louis Blues
8110.Anaheim Ducks
8011.Minnesota Wild
78
Western Conference, 3/31
1. y-San Jose Sharks
111 pts
2. x-Detroit Red Wings
107
3. Calgary Flames
92
4. Chicago Blackhawks
91
5. Vancouver Canucks
91
6. Columbus Blue Jackets
86
7. Nashville Predators
84
8. St. Louis Blues
83
9. Anaheim Ducks
82
10. Edmonton Oilers
81
11. Minnesota Wild
80
Western Conference, 3/31 1.y-San Jose Sharks
111 pts2.x-Detroit Red Wings
1073.Calgary Flames
924.Chicago Blackhawks
915.Vancouver Canucks
916.Columbus Blue Jackets
867.Nashville Predators
848.St. Louis Blues
839.Anaheim Ducks
8210.Edmonton Oilers
8111.Minnesota Wild
80
Western Conference, 3/30
1.y-San Jose Sharks
109 pts
2.x-Detroit Red Wings107
3.Calgary Flames
92
4.Chicago Blackhawks
91
5.Vancouver Canucks
89
6.Columbus Blue Jackets
86
7.Nashville Predators
82
8.Edmonton Oilers
81
9.St. Louis Blues
81
10.Anaheim Ducks
80
11.Minnesota Wild
78
Western Conference, 3/31
1.y-San Jose Sharks
111 pts
2.x-Detroit Red Wings
107
3.Calgary Flames
92
4.Chicago Blackhawks
91
5.Vancouver Canucks
91
6.Columbus Blue Jackets
86
7.Nashville Predators
84
8.St. Louis Blues
83
9.Anaheim Ducks
82
10.Edmonton Oilers
81
11.Minnesota Wild
80

The Sharks open a four-point lead over Detroit for the top seed with their win over the Flames. Calgary, meanwhile, has to be sweating bullets at this point. A Northwest Division title that looked to be theirs to lose is almost lost, given how Vancouver has been playing.

******

.

What's Next

Florida knows they have to keep winning to make the playoffs. They host Ottawa, which is no picnic, because the Senators have been playing pretty well.

The Canadiens host Original Six rival Chicago, as they continue their quest to move back up the East ladder. Chicago, meanwhile, finds itself tied with Vancouver for the last home-ice spot in the first round out West.

The Canucks will be in Minnesota Tuesday, where the Wild absolutely have to get a win to stay in the race.

Nashville and Columbus meet, with the Predators just two points back of the Blue Jackets for sixth in the West. Also, Anaheim meets up with Edmonton in a virtual must-win for both teams.

x - Clinched Playoff Spot, y - Division Champ, z - Conference Champ; green - Rise in the Standings, red - Fall. The top three teams in each conference are division leaders.

Stars Stumble Out of Picture originally appeared on NHL FanHouse on Tue, 31 Mar 2009 11:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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