The NHL regular season’s end is in sight with the St. Louis Blues having only two games remaining. They’re currently tied with the Dallas Stars, each holding the exact same record (48-23-9) with 105 points, putting them in contention for first place in the most competitive division in hockey.
Final Games: Chicago and Washington
St. Louis has a match-up against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday and one against the Washington Capitals Saturday in the final home game of the regular season.
The Hawks are sitting third in the division with 99 points and they have three games left, making 105 points their maximum possible. Since St. Louis already has 105 points on the season, they can secure home ice in the first round of the playoffs by simply earning one point in either of their two remaining games.
However, if they drop their final two match-ups and the Hawks win all three of theirs, St. Louis will head to Chicago for Rd. 1 because the Hawks have the first tiebreaker over the Blues as well.
The Capitals have already clinched the Metropolitan Division and the Presidents’ Trophy in the NHL. They’re a solid team that is looking to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup, so the Blues will have to play a rather complete game to beat the league’s best.
Competition’s Results: Dallas
Unfortunately for the Blues, they don’t hold their own fate. Although they have the same record and number of points as the Stars, Dallas holds the first tiebreaker, having 46 regulation/overtime wins to St. Louis’ 43.
That means the Blues can clinch the Central Division only by ending the season with more points than the Stars. Dallas hosts the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday and they close out the season at home on Saturday against the Nashville Predators.
Colorado is fighting rather desperately for the second wildcard spot with the Minnesota Wild; however, it looks like their luck is going to run out as they trail the Wild by five points with three games remaining. Minnesota needs two more points or for the Avalanche to lose a game to officially claim the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Predators, on the other hand, have already clinched the first wild-card position. They will end the season there, seeing that they can reach a maximum of 98 points and the third place Hawks already have 99.
Central Division Title
If the Stars manage to go 2-0-0, they will capture the division lead regardless of the Blues’ record. However, if the Blues can manage just one more point than Dallas, they’ll be the ones hanging the banner.
The best mindset the Blues can have is to focus on their final games as opposed to what the Stars are doing. If they can manage to end the season on a high note, regardless of if they’re first, second or third in the division, it will set them up nicely for the postseason.
Overall, winning the division doesn’t mean all that much, but it is an accomplishment worth fighting for. The Blues still have a Central Division banner in their grasp, but they’ll need some help from the Stars, coupled with strong play of their own, to do it.
Allison Scott is currently pursuing a journalism degree at the University of Missouri. She is passionate about the NHL and is a fan of both the St. Louis Blues and her hometown Dallas Stars. More articles by Allison can be found on Blackout Dallas where she covers the Stars. Follow Allison on twitter for more hockey and random tweets! @allisonnnscott