March 29, 2012 6:20 pm

Race to the wire in Pacific

It could be said that the Western Conference playoff race has now been reduced to a Pacific Division mini-tournament. St. Louis, Vancouver, Detroit and Nashville have already claimed four of the eight spots. Barring a stunning collapse, Chicago will also take one. That leaves three spots: the third-place spot that will go to the Pacific Division champion, plus seventh and eighth place. Colorado (10th place) and Calgary (11th place) are still alive, but they will need some help. So here’s how the other four teams stand, with their current ranking.

No. 3 Dallas — 89 points in 77 games (35 regulation/overtime wins)
No. 7 Kings — 88 points in 77 games (32 ROW)
No. 8 San Jose — 88 points in 77 games (31 ROW)
No. 9 Phoenix — 87 points in 77 games (31 ROW)

The fact that every team in the top nine has played 77 games makes things tidy, in terms of seeing where they all stand. What a wild final 10-day stretch this will be. San Jose, for instance, has two games remaining against the Kings, two against Dallas and one against Phoenix. In fact, the Coyotes host the Sharks tonight. Per the projections on sportsclubstats.com, the Kings want the Sharks to win in regulation.

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