Stars gain two points on Coyotes for second West wild card spot


The Western Conference wild card standings still boast the same two teams, but the battle for the final playoff spot remains that much more wide-open after Saturday’s contests.

The Minnesota Wild strengthened their grip on the top wild card spot with a 3-1 win against the Phoenix Coyotes while the Dallas Stars crept up on the Coyotes with a 4-2 win against the St. Louis Blues.

With that, the Stars are just one point behind the Coyotes for the final wild card position with a game in hand. In other words, the seesaw for the conference’s final playoff spot keeps moving in different directions, with things leaning toward Dallas on this night.

Being behind one point might not sound great, but consider this: the two teams meet in the final game of the 2013-14 season, so Dallas would probably be quite happy with even a one-point deficit after both teams finish Game 81.

The Wild faced the prospect of giving up their hold on the top wild card spot going into Saturday’s game, yet now they hold a three-point lead over the Wild for the seventh seed in the West and a four-point lead over Dallas (with one fewer game remaining). Those aren’t huge margins, yet that might be enough to distance themselves from the pack.

The Vancouver Canucks are still in action as of this writing, so here is a look at how those three teams alone are jostling for position: