The marathon of this season is reaching the home stretch. The finish line approaches with 8 games remaining. The Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators are deadlocked for the two wildcard spots. Both are at 42-27-5 with the Vegas Golden Knights hot on their tail. 3rd place is out of the question points-wise. It all depends on who wants to end up where. The Colorado Avalanche are a team that neither the Stars nor Predators want to play. The final stretch comes down to these 8 games.

Avalanche Juggernaut

The Stars are best friends with the Avalanche in the playoffs. They ended their season in 2020 during overtime in Game 7 of the Second Round. The likely President’s Trophy winners are a juggernaut this year. At 54-14-6, they are looking to bring the Stanley Cup back to Denver for the first time since 2001. Their First Round opponent is likely the Stars or Predators.

Wild Card 1 the Prize

The best scenario in the final eight games of the season is outperforming the Predators. Getting to play the Calgary Flames is not much of a consolation prize. Each division winner is a threat but the Flames are the most ideal opponent. The Avalanche ran away with the West with 15 more points than the next best.

Outscored

The Stars have lots of problems going into the final part of the season. Their goal differential is still a -3. Scoring is an issue that could be the dagger of the season.

Similarities to the Preds

Both teams will start the playoffs on the road where each has 19 wins. Games 3,4, and 6 are at home where each team also has 23. Both have 2 20-goal scorers and 2 30-goal scorers. These two teams can only meet in the Western Conference Final if they get that far. Thankfully the schedules are not similar. The Predators have a difficult schedule with games against the Flames, Avalanche, Wild, and Lightning. The Stars have an easier schedule.

Sprint to the Finish

The Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights are right behind. The Kings have the final #3 spot in the Pacific Division. Vegas has 87 points to the Stars’ 89 with one more game played. The Golden Knights can leapfrog the Kings and send them packing. The Stars and Predators need to only beat one of them and it may be the Kings missing out.

Any errors in play are critical. Losing to the New Jersey Devils with a tie game in the final 90 seconds hurt. There are four teams and only three teams can make it. Buckle up your seatbelts for the end of the season.

Photo Credit: Dallas Stars Twitter

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