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Stars move back ahead of Coyotes by beating Lightning

Apr 5, 2014, 9:55 PM EDT

Jamie Benn, Ben Bishop AP

The Phoenix Coyotes’ grasp on the Western Conference’s final wild card spot didn’t last very long as the Dallas Stars took the lead back with an impressive 5-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

The Stars opened things up with a 3-0 lead in the first period, as Jamie Benn was involved in all three opening goals (two goals, one assist) while Tyler Seguin collected one goal and one assist. The Lightning made things a little tense in the second period by bringing the deficit down to 3-2, but Dallas pulled away in the final frame.

Opportunities ahead

The Stars managed to shake off Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, continuing what’s generally been a hot streak since March 22. In that time, they’ve won six of their last eight games. They’ve been successful so far in their current five-game road trip, too, winning three of four before tomorrow’s game in Florida wraps that up.

Dallas can really distance itself during a three-game homestand before they face the Coyotes in Phoenix in a game that could very well decide a playoff spot.

A chance to pull away

The Stars are in a position to pull away altogether if they can stay on task.

Dallas now has 87 points on the season with five games left while Phoenix is seated at 86 standings points with four games remaining. That advantage is even greater since Dallas has some obvious tiebreaker advantages at the moment, including wins (38-36) and regulation/overtime wins (35-30).

In other words, the Stars are currently in control of things, but this battle for the West’s final spot has seen some dramatic swings both ways. Few would be surprised if there are a few more twists and turns, whether April 13’s closing game decides it all or not.

  1. muttbolts91 - Apr 5, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    Can you put up video of gudas penalty please?

  2. bilbono - Apr 6, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    West = 14 teams
    East = 16 teams

    I get the travel schedule differences, but Stars/Coyotes are under .500 and are still competing for a playoff spot.

    • mattryannolan - Apr 6, 2014 at 1:28 AM

      I don’t get your point? Travel distances isn’t the issue. It’s about how much more competitive the West is to the East…

      Every team plays 82 games… and also, the Red Wings are technically under .500 and in the 6th spot. Flyers are 1 game over .500 and in 7th. Columbus is +1 and in 8th. Most teams in the East that are fighting for 8th are also under .500.

      So, next time you make a comment maybe you should not speak out your butt.

  3. bilbono - Apr 6, 2014 at 4:32 AM

    You’re right I should have made my point more clear. I tried to make this as succinct as possible, but I hope you can see what I’m saying.

    My main contention is the significance of interconference games. West plays 32 interconference games, East plays 28 interconference games.

    Let’s just suppose every team wins 50% of their within-conference games. Under such conditions, an East vs. East matchup makes a bigger impact on the Eastern standings, while a West vs. East matchup makes a bigger impact on the Western standings. The East has fewer opportunities to take points away from the West, but they still have to compete for the same number of playoff spots.

    • bilbono - Apr 6, 2014 at 4:51 AM

      Sorry I hate when people reply to their own comments, but I forgot to mention my example is for an unfinished season.

  4. darksidecowboy - Apr 6, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    C’mon Dallas it’s all in your hands now, bring the playoffs back to Big D!

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