It's not often that you'll find a fan of the Dallas Stars -- or, perhaps, a fan of any other team -- cheering for the Detroit Red Wings, but that's exactly what they found themselves doing in Texas earlier Sunday afternoon. Fortunately for them, the No. 3 seed in the West didn't disappoint.
With their 4-3 regulation win over the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center, Detroit successfully stopped the defending Stanley Cup champs from qualifying for the playoffs -- at least for now. The 'Hawks loss opens the door for the No. 9 seeded Dallas Stars to leap over that bold line and into No. 8 over Chicago, should they earn two points in regulation or overtime against the Minnesota Wild later Sunday.
That game, the last one on the schedule in this 2010-11 NHL regular season, begins at 6 p.m. Eastern. Simply put, Chicago did not take care of their business today. They needed one point to qualify and failed to do it, and now they'll sit and sweat as the Wild and Stars hold their season in the balance.
Outside of this matchup, though, all the other playoff matchups are set. In the West, Vancouver will host either Dallas or Chicago, San Jose will host Los Angeles, Detroit will take on Phoenix, and Anaheim will have home ice edge against Nashville.
In the East, Washington will battle the New York Rangers, Philadelphia will host Buffalo, Boston will host rival Montreal in what should be an incredible series and Pittsburgh will welcome Tampa Bay to town.
We'll have more on the exact schedules later this evening. They'll be announced on an NHL Network special Sunday night at 10 p.m. Eastern.