NHL playoff picture: Stars, Jets lose control of own destiny

Dilip Vishwanat

The Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets saw their postseason hopes hit a major snag on Tuesday night.

As a number of teams clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday evening, two teams watched their hopes begin to fall to pieces. The Jets had a chance of catching the Washington Capitals for the division lead, or keeping pace with the New York Rangers for the final spot, but after Tuesday's 5-3 loss they see their postseason hopes and dreams dwindle to nearly nothing.

The Jets now must rely on the Rangers gaining no more than one point in their final two games, while they absolute must win their final game of the season on Thursday against Montreal.

In the West, the Dallas Stars needed only to win their final three games of the season and they'd make the playoffs for the first time in five years. Holding on to a 2-1 lead late in the third period against the San Jose Sharks, the young Stars team fell to a thundering attack and surrendered two goals in less than a minute to succumb to a disheartening road loss.

Now, the Stars must win out and hope for another loss apiece from Detroit or Columbus to have a hope and a prayer at the postseason. One of those games is tonight, with the Los Angeles Kings taking on the Detroit Red Wings at 7:30 p.m. ET at Joe Louis Arena.

Here's a look at the playoff picture entering action on Wednesday night:

Eastern Conference

1. Pittsburgh Penguins, 70 points (46 games played) Z
2. Boston Bruins, 59 points (45 GP) X
3. Washington Capitals, 54 points (46 GP) Y
4. Montreal Canadiens, 59 points (46 GP) X
5. Toronto Maple Leafs, 55 points (45 GP) X
6. New York Islanders, 54 points (46 GP) X
7. Ottawa Senators, 52 points (45 GP)
8. New York Rangers, 52 points (46 GP)
----
9. Winnipeg Jets, 51 points (47 GP)

Western Conference

1. Chicago Blackhawks, 73 points (45 GP) Z
2. Anaheim Ducks, 64 points (46 GP) Y
3. Vancouver Canucks, 59 points (46 GP) Y
4. Los Angeles Kings, 57 points (46 GP) X
5. San Jose Sharks, 57points (46 GP) X
6. St. Louis Blues, 56 points (46 GP) X
7. Minnesota Wild, 53 points (46 GP)
8. Columbus Blue Jackets, 51 points (46 GP)
----
9. Detroit Red Wings, 50 points (45 GP)
10. Dallas Stars, 48 points (46 GP)
11. Phoenix Coyotes, 46 points (45 GP)

Z- denotes conference championship
Y- denotes division championship
X- denotes playoff berth

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