Anaheim Ducks (41-25-8, 3rd in west) at Dallas Stars (42-27-5, 4th in west)
Ah, finally, it's the Pacific stretch! According to my internet image search, nothing says Ducks-Stars like:
Ah, Disney, you movie-making geniuses.
Hmm, maybe not. Perhaps this is better:
Luke, I am your feather.
Sorry, to start so cheesy; I'll try to make up for it with a little Pacific Division excitement that's been brewing for a little while. Here's the Pacific Division's record in two month segments:
Sept-Nov: 58-53-13 (.520), -0.15 goal differential, -0.39 shot differential
Dec-Jan: 74-55-10 (.568), +0.12 goal differential, +0.58 shot differential
Feb-Mar (before last night): 57-36-10 (.602), +0.26 goal differential, +1.01 shot differential
Certainly the five teams have taken five different paths this year, but generally speaking, the Pacific's been getting better and better as the season's progressed.
Prediction: The way the Sharks have been winning, one has to wonder what's the best strategy for the Ducks and Stars; is it worth going all-out to try to catch them? Certainly 4th seed is covetable, but maybe whoever loses tonight's game might consider taking a fall down to the sixth spot, as probably the Northwest leader will have fewer points than the Pacific runner-up. This strategy may appeal to the two teams differently, though. The last time the Ducks were 6th seed, they won a G7 in Calgary; the last time the Stars were 6th seed, they lost a G7 in Vancouver. Ducks 4, Stars 2. Goals by Selanne, Schneider, Pahlsson, and Kunitz.
[Update] A liveblog of the game from a Dallas perspective is available from Untypical Girls. Thanks to Jen for the link.