With 29 days left in the regular season the playoff races in each conference simply are on fire. Almost every game has added significance, with points at such a premium, as teams jockey for positioning. NHL.com is here to give you a Down the Stretch daily that will highlight what you need to know about the games that can directly impact the playoff races.
Here is the installment for Sunday, March 13:
LOS ANGELES KINGS (38-25-5, 81 points) at DALLAS STARS (37-23-8, 82 points)
Where they stand: Dallas is in fourth place in the Western Conference while Los Angeles is in sixth.
What’s at stake: The Kings can finish the day as high as fourth with a win and a loss by Chicago. They could also drop as far as eighth with a loss and if Anaheim beats Phoenix in overtime or a shootout. The Stars will stay in fourth place with a win, but could drop to seventh with a loss and wins by Chicago and Phoenix.
How it’s going: Los Angeles has won the first two games of this four-game road trip. Dallas has points in eight straight games (6-0-2)
Upcoming: The Kings are in Nashville on Tuesday before starting a five-game homestand. The Stars have home games against San Jose, Chicago, Philadelphia and Anaheim to finish a seven-game homestand.
Where they stand: The Coyotes are seventh in the West while the Ducks currently sit 10th.
What’s at stake: Phoenix can move to fifth with a win and losses by Chicago and Los Angeles, but would fall behind Anaheim to eighth with a regulation loss to the Ducks. Anaheim can climb all the way to fifth with a regulation win and regulation losses by Chicago and Los Angeles.
How it’s going: The Coyotes have won two of three to rebound from a five-game losing streak. The Ducks have won five of six.
Upcoming: Phoenix travels to Western Canada to face Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Anaheim has two days off before each of its next two games (vs. St. Louis, at Los Angeles).
Where they stand: Chicago is fifth in the West while Washington is second in the Eastern Conference.
What’s at stake: The Blackhawks can move into fourth place with a win and a loss by Dallas. The Capitals can move to within one point of Philadelphia for the top spot in the East with a win.
How it’s going: Chicago has lost two in a row on this road trip but won eight of 10 overall. Washington has won seven straight games.
Upcoming: The Blackhawks go home for a game against San Jose before contests at Dallas and Phoenix. The Capitals have six straight games on the road, including two trips to Montreal and games in Philadelphia, Detroit and New Jersey.
OTTAWA SENATORS (25-34-9, 59 points) at BUFFALO SABRES (33-27-8, 74 points)
Where they stand: The Sabres are eighth in the East while the Senators are 15th.
What’s at stake: Buffalo can move back into seventh place with a victory.
How it’s going: The Sabres are 4-2-1 this month but lost to Toronto on Saturday despite leading after two periods.
Upcoming: Buffalo has five of its next games at home, including contests with Carolina, Atlanta and New Jersey.
EDMONTON OILERS (23-37-9, 55 points) at PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (39-22-8, 86 points)
Where they stand: Pittsburgh is fourth in the East while Edmonton is 15th in the West.
What’s at stake: The Penguins could tie Washington for the second-most points in the East with a win and a regulation loss by the Capitals.
How it’s going: Pittsburgh is 2-1-2 this month but lost 3-0 to Montreal on Saturday night.
Upcoming: The Penguins three of the next four on the road, including trips to Detroit and Philadelphia.