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Falling Stars

At 29-26-13, the Dallas Stars sit in 12th, seven points out of a playoff spot. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

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At 29-26-13, the Dallas Stars sit in 12th, seven points out of a playoff spot. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Olympic break was really good to one of Brenden Morrow’s teams, but not the other.

Morrow left Vancouver with a gold medal, but the good times stopped once the Canadian captain of the Dallas Stars returned to Texas. When the NHL went on hiatus for the Games, the Stars were on a 9-4-1 run and tied for ninth with Detroit in the West, just one point behind eighth-place Calgary.

Since play resumed they have one shootout win in seven contests and have dropped the first two games of a six-game homestand as the playoffs become more and more of a distant dream.

Dallas was one of the last four teams standing in the 2008 playoffs, but have failed to build on that showing, finishing 12th in the West last year, a spot they could well occupy when this season ends.

There’s some hope in the form of youngsters Jamie Benn and James Neal, but clearly first-year GM Joe Nieuwendyk has some work to do this summer if Dallas is to regain its standing as a perennial playoff threat.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
L10
THE SCOOP
1
Washington Capitals
1
46-14-9
5-2-3
Alex Ovechkin is becoming more of a polarizing figure with every passing questionable hit
2
Vancouver Canucks
3
43-23-3
7-2-1
Mikael Samuelsson is proving to be one of last summer's best signings; he's got 10 points in his past four games and could hit 35 goals
3
Phoenix Coyotes
6
42-22-5
7-3-0
Five wins in a row for a team that just refuses to hit any kind of wall
4
San Jose Sharks
2
43-15-10
5-4-1
Dropped the first contest of a six-game road trip in Anaheim
5
Pittsburgh Penguins
4
41-23-5
6-1-3
Sidney Crosby has built on his golden performance by putting up at least one point in every game since his return from Vancouver.
6
Chicago Blackhawks
5
44-18-6
6-3-1
Early reports are Brian Campbell will miss the rest of the season after Ovie's hit
7
Los Angeles Kings
7
40-23-5
4-4-2
Have more road points (44) than home (41) in two more games on enemy ice
8
Colorado Avalanche
8
39-23-6
6-4-0
Cody McLeod and Stephane Yelle left Sunday's win with leg injuries and will be re-evaluated Monday
9
New Jersey Devils
13
40-24-3
4-5-1
Sounds like Paul Martin will finally return on Saturday after missing four-plus months with a broken forearm
10
Detroit Red Wings
9
33-23-12
6-2-2
Todd Bertuzzi has gone 17 games without a goal
11
Nashville Predators
12
38-26-5
6-4-0
Picked up three big wins in a four-game trip away from home
12
Calgary Flames
14
34-25-9
5-4-1
Huge home game Monday night versus Detroit
13
Buffalo Sabres
11
36-21-10
4-3-3
Pop-gun power play is ranked just 24th in the NHL
14
Montreal Canadiens
16
35-29-6
7-3-0
Habs are rolling and might get top goal-scorer Mike Cammalleri back for Saturday's game in Toronto
15
Philadelphia Flyers
15
36-28-4
6-3-1
Ian Laperriere is not a fan of his former teammate Sean Avery
16
Ottawa Senators
10
37-27-5
4-5-1
No lock to make the playoffs; Sens have one win (against Edmonton) in six games since the Olympics and play eight of their final 13 contests on the road
17
St. Louis Blues
17
32-27-9
7-3-0
Keith Tkachuk returned Sunday in Minnesota after missing seven games with an upper-body injury
18
Boston Bruins
20
30-25-12
6-3-1
Bruins are doing their best to hang onto a playoff spot, but more and more this just seems like a season to forget
19
New York Rangers
24
31-29-9
5-3-2
Big games this week versus two teams they're chasing – Montreal and Boston – for a post-season berth
20
Carolina Hurricanes
18
28-32-8
7-2-1
Injury to Cam Ward has allowed Canes to get a look at prospect Justin Peters – ranked fifth on the team in Future Watch – in goal
21
Florida Panthers
27
28-29-10
4-5-1
Young Shawn Matthias finally starting to look like a bona fide NHLer
22
Minnesota Wild
23
33-29-6
4-4-2
Guillaume Latendresse has basically been good for a goal every other game since landing in Minny
23
Tampa Bay Lightning
26
28-28-12
2-7-1
Sniper Steven Stamkos may miss a game with a bruised back sustained on a check by Pens' Brooks Orpik
24
Dallas Stars
22
29-26-13
3-5-2
One win in seven post-Olympic games and that came in a shootout
25
Columbus Blue Jackets
25
27-31-11
4-4-2
Getting a defenseman who can move the puck has to be the top off-season priority
26
Anaheim Ducks
19
31-29-8
4-5-1
Ducks get first win since the break on Sunday, but Teemu Selanne and Ryan Getzlaf both leave the game and are day-to-day
27
Toronto Maple Leafs
29
23-34-12
4-5-1
Baby-faced No. 1 line of Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Nikolai Kulemin providing some excitement
28
New York Islanders
28
28-32-9
4-5-1
John Tavares and Brendan Witt are tied for the worst plus-minus on the team at minus-18
29
Atlanta Thrashers
21
28-29-11
3-5-2
No wins in their past six outings
30
Edmonton Oilers
30
21-40-7
3-6-1
Losing to Toronto on Saturday may have sewn up last overall

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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