Predicting the Stars' perfect postseason path


This space is typically used to set up matchups on the evening’s NHL schedule that will have an impact on the playoff races, and there’s been great fodder this season due to the number of teams still fighting for those spots (particularly in the East). But with an extraordinarily light slate tonight, let’s take a look a bit further down the road for one of the teams in action.

The Dallas Stars are among the handful of clubs for which Stathletes projects a 99.9% chance of making the playoffs. Put another way, it would take an almost-unprecedented collapse for them to miss the postseason. Some chose them as their preseason Stanley Cup favorite this season, and the matchups will matter in their quest to live up to those expectations.

Within the mighty Central Division, the Stars are projected for 108.7 standings points, in third behind the Winnipeg Jets (110.4) and Colorado Avalanche (109.8). So yeah, it’s close. But if those projections hold, it will be a first-round matchup against the Avs for Dallas. The bad news for Dallas is that Colorado has won all three games the clubs have played this season by a cumulative score of 16-8; the good (or at least, optimistic) news is that all three were in the pre-Chris Tanev era. The final matchup in their regular-season series is April 7 (10 p.m. ET, ESPN).

What if Colorado gets the Central’s No. 1 seed, and Winnipeg is Dallas’ first-round opponent? The scenario is almost exactly reversed, as the Stars have won all three matchups against the Jets by a cumulative score of 9-3. The final game for these two is April 11 (8 p.m. ET, NHL Power Play on ESPN+).

If the Stars go on a heater and win the division, they’ll take on one of the West wild cards, most likely the Nashville Predators (projected for 98.8 points), Vegas Golden Knights (97.9) or Los Angeles Kings (97.7). Among those three, the Stars’ most desirable opponent based on past results is the Kings, as Dallas has won all three matchups this season (by a cumulative score of 13-3). The Stars have split the four games against the Predators, and they’ve lost all three to the Golden Knights — although there are two caveats for the Vegas results:

  • One of the losses was in overtime, another in a shootout.

  • The most recent of the three games was Dec. 9, and much has changed since then.

So the ideal scenario for the first two rounds is the Stars winning the Central and taking on the Kings, followed by a second-round series against the Jets (or drawing Winnipeg in the first and L.A. in the second). The charge up the standings continues tonight with a game against the Arizona Coyotes (8 p.m. ET, NHL Power Play on ESPN+).

As we traverse the final stretch of the regular season, it’s time to check in on all the playoff races — along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2024 NHL draft lottery.

Note: Playoff chances are via Stathletes.

Jump ahead:
Current playoff matchups
Today’s schedule
Last night’s scores
Expanded standings
Race for No. 1 pick

Current playoff matchups

Eastern Conference

A1 Boston Bruins vs. WC2 Detroit Red Wings
A2 Florida Panthers vs. A3 Toronto Maple Leafs
M1 New York Rangers vs. WC1 Tampa Bay Lightning
M2 Carolina Hurricanes vs. M3 Philadelphia Flyers

Western Conference

C1 Winnipeg Jets vs. WC1 Nashville Predators
C2 Colorado Avalanche vs. C3 Dallas Stars
P1 Vancouver Canucks vs. WC2 Vegas Golden Knights
P2 Edmonton Oilers vs. P3 Los Angeles Kings


Wednesday’s games

Note: All times ET. All games not on TNT or NHL Network are available via NHL Power Play, which is included in an ESPN+ subscription (local blackout restrictions apply).

Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals, 7:30 p.m. (TNT)
Arizona Coyotes at Dallas Stars, 8 p.m.
Minnesota Wild at Los Angeles Kings, 10 p.m. (TNT)


Tuesday’s scoreboard

Boston Bruins 6, Ottawa Senators 2
Detroit Red Wings 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 2 (OT)
New Jersey Devils 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 2
Winnipeg Jets 4, New York Rangers 2
Philadelphia Flyers 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 3
Carolina Hurricanes 4, New York Islanders 1
Colorado Avalanche 4, St. Louis Blues 3
Nashville Predators 8, San Jose Sharks 2
Edmonton Oilers 3, Montreal Canadiens 2 (OT)
Vancouver Canucks 3, Buffalo Sabres 2
Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Vegas Golden Knights 3
Minnesota Wild 4, Anaheim Ducks 0
Los Angeles Kings 6, Chicago Blackhawks 0


Expanded standings

Atlantic Division

bos

Points: 97
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: A1
Games left: 12
Points pace: 114
Next game: vs. NYR (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

fla

Points: 94
Regulation wins: 37
Playoff position: A2
Games left: 14
Points pace: 114
Next game: vs. NSH (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

tor

Points: 85
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: A3
Games left: 15
Points pace: 104
Next game: @ WSH (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

tb

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 14
Points pace: 97
Next game: @ SJ (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 98.5%
Tragic number: N/A

det

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 13
Points pace: 90
Next game: vs. NYI (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 27.7%
Tragic number: N/A

buf

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 83
Next game: @ EDM (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 5.1%
Tragic number: 19

mtl

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Points pace: 75
Next game: @ VAN (Thursday)
Playoff chances: ~0%
Tragic number: 14

ott

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Points pace: 73
Next game: vs. STL (Thursday)
Playoff chances: ~0%
Tragic number: 13


Metropolitan Division

nyr

Points: 94
Regulation wins: 37
Playoff position: M1
Games left: 13
Points pace: 112
Next game: @ BOS (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

car

Points: 92
Regulation wins: 36
Playoff position: M2
Games left: 13
Points pace: 109
Next game: vs. PHI (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

phi

Points: 78
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: M3
Games left: 13
Points pace: 93
Next game: @ CAR (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 70.9%
Tragic number: N/A

wsh

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Points pace: 92
Next game: vs. TOR (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 58.6%
Tragic number: 29

nyi

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Points pace: 88
Next game: @ DET (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 26.4%
Tragic number: 25

nj

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 83
Next game: vs. WPG (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 10.4%
Tragic number: 20

pit

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Points pace: 83
Next game: @ DAL Friday)
Playoff chances: 2.4%
Tragic number: 21

cbj

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 18
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 69
Next game: @ COL (Friday)
Playoff chances: ~0%
Tragic number: 8


Central Division

wpg

Points: 93
Regulation wins: 39
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 14
Points pace: 112
Next game: @ NJ (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

col

Points: 93
Regulation wins: 37
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 13
Points pace: 111
Next game: s. CBJ (Friday)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

dal

Points: 91
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 13
Points pace: 108
Next game: vs. ARI (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

nsh

Points: 84
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 13
Points pace: 100
Next game: @ FLA (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 98.1%
Tragic number: N/A

min

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 90
Next game: @ LA (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 23.4%
Tragic number: 23

stl

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 89
Next game: vs. SEA (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 3.7%
Tragic number: 22

ari

Points: 61
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Points pace: 74
Next game: @ DAL (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: ~0%
Tragic number: 10

chi

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 51
Next game: @ ANA (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Pacific Division

van

Points: 94
Regulation wins: 37
Playoff position: P1
Games left: 13
Points pace: 112
Next game: vs. MTL (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

edm

Points: 86
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: P2
Games left: 16
Points pace: 107
Next game: vs. BUF (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

la

Points: 81
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: P3
Games left: 14
Points pace: 98
Next game: vs. MIN (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 90.5%
Tragic number: N/A

vgk

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 14
Points pace: 95
Next game: vs. SEA (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 79.7%
Tragic number: N/A

cgy

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Points pace: 86
Next game: @ VAN (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 4.0%
Tragic number: 20

sea

Points: 68
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Points pace: 83
Next game: @ VGK (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0.6%
Tragic number: 19

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 58
Next game: vs. CHI (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

sj

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 12
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Points pace: 47
Next game: vs. TB (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

p — clinched Presidents’ Trophy
y — clinched division
x — clinched playoff berth
e — eliminated from playoff contention


Race for the No. 1 pick

The NHL uses a draft lottery to determine the order of the first round, so the team that finishes in last place is not guaranteed the No. 1 selection. As of 2021, a team can move up a maximum of 10 spots if it wins the lottery, so only 11 teams are eligible for the draw for the No. 1 pick. Full details on the process can be found here. Sitting No. 1 on the draft board for this summer is Macklin Celebrini, a freshman at Boston University.

sj

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 12

chi

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 14

ana

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 17

cbj

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 18

ott

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 19

ari

Points: 61
Regulation wins: 23

mtl

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 15

sea

Points: 68
Regulation wins: 22

pit

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 25

nj

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 28

buf

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 27

cgy

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 28

nyi

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 21

wsh

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 27

stl

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 27

min

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 27

* The Penguins’ first-round pick was traded to the Sharks as part of the Erik Karlsson trade. However, it is top-10 protected.



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top