(Photo by Glenn James/NHL)
After a six-year absence the Dallas Stars are heading back to the post-season. Hopefully they're just happy to be there, though, because no matter which division they end up in, they face an uphill battle of Sisyphean odds.
With their 3-0 win over the suddenly slumping St. Louis Blues, the Dallas Stars are returning to the post-season, having eliminated the Phoenix Coyotes. It'll be the franchise's first playoff appearance since 2007-08 when 'Big D' made it to the Western Conference final before bowing out in six games to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.
The 16 playoff teams are now set. All that's to be decided now is positioning.
For the Stars, they could get any one of the Ducks, Avalanche or Blues in Round 1. They're 2-1 against Anaheim, 1-3-1 versus Colorado and now 3-1-1 when facing St. Louis. Couple their success in Missouri with the Blues' five-game losing streak, and the Stars might be hoping for first-round series against the Notes.
Whether they crossover into their old Pacific Division or stay in Central, the Stars will have to bring down three powerhouses if they harbor any hopes at a Stanley Cup. In the Pacific, Dallas would have to go through two of the three murderous California clubs, Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles. In the Central, the Stars would have to take down two of Colorado, St. Louis and Chicago.
Of those six teams, only Los Angeles hasn't hit 100 points, though the Kings are just one point shy. Even Minnesota, the other Western Conference wild card team, could hit 100 points if the Wild win their final game of the regular season.
Add all this up and, as sweet as it is for the playoffs to be returning to Dallas after a six-year absence, it's likely one round and done for the Stars.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.