Mar 9, 2012, 12:58 AM EDT
A surreal week got that much better for the Dallas Stars, whose fortunes look far brighter after a promising night of hockey for them – and the opposite for their divisional opponents.
Most directly, the Stars won against the San Jose Sharks for the first time this season by prevailing 4-3 via the shootout. It wasn’t easy and there were silver lining moments for San Jose, but the bottom line is that Dallas is strongly entrenched as the division leader.
(The Sharks’ pluses: they generated a charity point, Joe Thornton had three assists, Joe Pavelski scored a goal and Patrick Marleau responded to his pal Jeremy Roenick’s criticisms by finding the net.)
The Stars can delight in the fact that the other Pacific Division squads either stayed idle or took a step back too.
Following in the footsteps of the Phoenix Coyotes, the Los Angeles Kings dropped a regulation game to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets. It’s probably not melodramatic to say that the Kings may very well remember that loss with significant regret.
Speaking of the Coyotes, Dave Tippett’s team dropped another should-be-victory; this time, it was against the Minnesota Wild. The only bright side is that they salvaged a point, losing 3-2 in a shootout.
Least importantly, the Anaheim Ducks also lost in regulation as the St. Louis Blues prevailed 3-1.
Want a view of the division now that the night is over? Check out the standings, with the teams’ current Western spots in parenthesis.
Dallas (3): 79 points with 14 games remaining
Phoenix (7): 76 points with 14 GR
San Jose (8): 75 points with 16 GR
Los Angeles (9): 74 points with 15 GR
Anaheim (12): 68 points with 14 GR
As you can see, just about every Pacific team seems to have a shot at the division title or at least a playoff spot, with the likely exception of the Ducks. The Stars have certainly distanced themselves with tonight’s action, but it’s still likely to be a photo finish – and a thriller in that.
- WATCH LIVE: Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche (Game 2) 0
- WATCH LIVE: Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 2) 3
- Blues come back to stun Blackhawks 4-3 in overtime, take 2-0 series lead 25
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; Blues tie it up in waning moments 87
- WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues (Game 2) 4
- Flyers’ Mason out of Game 2, Emery to start again 40
- Lucic fined $5,000 for spearing DeKeyser 72
- Getzlaf powers Ducks to Game 2 victory, 2-0 series lead over Stars 7
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind 115
- Detroit stuns favored Bruins with late goal to take Game 1 62