With the East impacts out of the way – long story short, the night was good for the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers and lousy for the Washington Capitals – it’s time to consider the West now that Tuesday’s late games are over.
- It already seemed like the final wild card spot will come down to the Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes, but Tuesday made it that much clearer. So far, it’s been a seesaw battle, with the Stars taking the final West wild card spot after pummeling the Capitals while the Coyotes fell to the desperate Winnipeg Jets 2-1 via a shootout. Both teams are tied at 85 standings points, but Dallas has a game in hand and tiebreaker advantages such as wins (37-36) and regulation/OT wins (34-30).
- A 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers either dooms the Vancouver Canucks chances of catching the Stars and Coyotes or puts them in a mode where they’d probably need to win every game and get some help.
- Again, the Jets won, so they staved off elimination for at least one more night. They’re one point behind Vancouver, so Winnipeg’s odds are even longer.
- The San Jose Sharks gave up a 3-1 lead, fell behind 4-3 to the Edmonton Oilers and then rode two third-period goals to win 5-4 on Tuesday. They are within one point of the Anaheim Ducks for the Pacific Division lead, although Anaheim also holds two more games in hand. If nothing else, San Jose is that much closer to at least clinching a round of home-ice advantage.
Here’s a look at how the West standings shake out after Tuesday’s action: