Hockey teams set out for a successful season long before it starts.
This point of the year is the final grade of that success.

The Dallas Stars will end their regular season riding the highest of highs. The Stars need 1 point, or the Vancouver Canucks to miss out on 1 point to take the Western Conference. Their 51-21-9 record exceeds all expectations on their season.

The Presidents’ Trophy race is over with the New York Rangers taking it, but the fact they inserted into that conversation proves their caliber of dominance.

The Stars are now at a crossroads, with the center of it being an appearance in the Western Conference Final. Anything less would mean failure on a remarkable regular season.

The road ahead is long, and the list of potential First Round opponents is dwindling.

Only 3 Teams Potentially

Probabilities come into play when factoring where a team ends up. The Stars are heavy favorites to finish as the #1 seed in the Western Conference. They are guaranteed to host a wildcard team as Central Division Champions. The Stars can host a playoff First Round between 3 teams. The Nashville Predators, Los Angeles Kings, and the Vegas Golden Knights have the chance to embark on a journey to Dallas for Games 1 and 2 in the First Round. Two of these three teams bear a familiar playoff face.

Two recent Western Conference Final matchups between the Stars and Golden Knights could end up as a rematch in the First Round. The Stars would love an opportunity to take down the defending Stanley Cup Champions, who ended their run last year. The Nashville Predators are 0-1 against the Stars in the playoffs. A Preds/Stars matchup only exists if the Stars lose their last regular season game in regulation and the Canucks win out.

Another scenario for this matchup exists if the Kings and Golden Knights win out while also taking the tiebreaker.

Playoff Success

1968 was the last time the Stars (North Stars) and Kings faced off in the playoffs. These two franchises don’t have a playoff matchup since before the Moon Landing. Stars players have a tough road ahead regardless of their opponent.\

The future is full of hope as Stars fans long for a deep playoff run. The middle of the crossroad they are in is another Western Conference Final appearance. Ahead is the Stanley Cup Final, while behind is an early exit.

The quest for the Stanley Cup begins shortly with the Stars looking to erase 25 years of frustration in their journey for hockey’s ultimate glory.

Photo: Dallas Stars/X

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