Scoreboard watching

It was a mixed bag for the Dallas Stars in Thursday night’s games. The good news was that the Nashville-Anaheim game was settled in regulation. Nashville got two points and Anaheim didn't get any, so the Stars are still just one point out of eighth place with one game in hand on the Ducks.

The Predators and Los Angeles – a winner over San Jose in a shootout – both moved four points ahead of the Stars in the race.

Phoenix topped Columbus, winning for the eighth time in nine games. The Coyotes have created some separation from the rest of the pack and are now closing in on San Jose for the Pacific Division.

Chicago was idle on Thursday and will be hosting Anaheim while the Stars are playing at Nashville on Saturday.

9:34 p.m. – The Predators hold off the Ducks 5-4 in Anaheim. Jonas Hiller was back in net for Anaheim, but was pulled after giving up three first period goals. The Predators built a 5-1 lead, but the Ducks made it interesting with three goals in the last ten minutes of the game. With the victory Nashville moves four points ahead of the Stars, who have two games in hand. But the Predators’ win keeps the Stars within one point of the Ducks.

11:29 p.m. – The Phoenix Coyotes beat Columbus for their eight win in the last nine games (8-1-0). Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 28 shots for his 7th shutout of the season. The Coyotes now have 93 points, seven more than the Stars, who have played three fewer games. The Coyotes briefly pulled to within one point of Pacific Division leading San Jose, who were still playing in Los Angeles when this game ended.

12:25 a.m. – The Los Angeles Kings beat the San Jose Sharks 4-3 in a shootout. It was a wild finish leading up to overtime and the shootout. San Jose’s Patrick Marleau tied the game at 2-2 with 3:32 remaining, Dustin Brown put the Kings up 3-2 with a power play goal with 1:42 remaining and then Marleau tied it at 3-3 with 3.2 seconds left. The two points pushed the Kings into fifth place in the West, four points ahead of the Stars. San Jose has two point lead over the Coyotes in the race for first in the Pacific Division and are tied with Detroit for second in the West.

There are no key games in the race Friday, but Saturday will be a big day because all teams in the race will be in action. Those Saturday games include:

Colorado at Los Angeles

Dallas at Nashville

Anaheim at Chicago

San Jose will play at Phoenix in a big game as far as the Pacific Division lead.

Western Conference Playoff Race

The Western Conference playoff race through Monday March 21. ROW = Regulation/Overtime wins. DIFF = goal differential. y = clinched division.