The Dallas Stars are one of seven teams in the Western Conference that have already clinched a spot in the postseason, but that doesn’t mean that the last three games of the season are meaningless for the team.
The Stars are battling with the St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the Central Division and the Western Conference. If Dallas should claim the number one spot in the West, then they would have home ice advantage through the Western Conference Finals, should they get there. The Washington Capitals won the Presidents Trophy and will have home ice through the playoffs including the Stanley Cup Final, should they make it that far. Dallas and St. Louis do not face each other in their remaining regular season games. The Stars are without a few key players due to injury: Tyler Seguin, Jason Demers, Kris Russell and Mattias Janmark. Steve Ott, Jay Bouwmeester and Carl Gunnarsson, who could return for the Blues next game.
St. Louis has a game in hand on Dallas, but have a four point deficit to overcome in the final games of the regular season. The Stars only have three games remaining against the Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche and the Nashville Predators. Dallas has one road game and two home games to play. The Blues have four games left against the Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. Of those four games, two are at home and two will be played on the road.
The strength of the Stars has been the offense. They have five players with 50 or more points, including Jamie Benn, who leads the team with 88 points. Six players have 15 or more goals and three of those players have 30 or more goals. St. Louis has been riding the defense and goaltending while only giving up 188 goals against on the season. There have been some injuries to the goalies, Jake Allen and Brian Elliott, but both have stepped up when called upon. They have combined for 10 shutouts on the season.
The battle for first place in the West and Central Division could come down to the last game of the season, but neither team will just hand it to the other.