In a competitive Western Conference, seven different teams have already clinched playoff berths. Five of these teams are well above 100 points while the other two are above 90. Also, there is still one playoff spot that is still very much up for grabs. The season will come down to two teams fighting for the eighth and final seed.
The Dallas Stars and the Phoenix Coyotes are the two teams who are fighting to keep their seasons alive for April 16. Each club has two games remaining and they will go head to head in the regular season finale. In all likelihood, that contest could determine who will qualify for postseason play.
Last night, Phoenix traveled to Nashville with the hopes of breaking their streak of five consecutive losses. During that stretch, the Coyotes lost two games in shootouts and one in overtime. Phoenix out-shot the Predators 15-7 in the third period and had every chance to get back into the game. However, Nashville hung on for a 2-0 win, adding to the Coyotes streak.
For Dallas, the sunshine is looking brighter because they have 89 points, two higher than Phoenix, and they are in good position to put the nail in the coffin. All the Coyotes can hope for is for the Stars to lose their next game against St Louis. If that happens and Phoenix beats San Jose on Saturday night, the final game will decide who moves on and who goes home.
As we look toward the regular season finale, a comparison between these two teams should be made. The Coyotes have a balanced team as they have three players with over 20 goals along with five others with ten or more. At the same time though, their inability to find the net against Nashville added to their inability to win.
Dallas, on the other hand, hardly has any trouble scoring goals. The Stars have the high scoring duo of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, who have a combined total of 70 goals. Phoenix and Dallas can also benefit from great goaltending with Thomas Greiss and Kari Lehtonen standing sturdy between the pipes.
At this point, Phoenix is a desperate hockey team who still has a slim chance of getting in. Dallas does have a higher potential of running away in this race, but if it does come down to the final game, I would not blame any hockey fans for picking the Stars because they are playing better as a team.