It's official: Kings are in the playoffs

LOS ANGELES -- It’s official: The Los Angeles Kings will play in the postseason for a third consecutive year.

Shortly before the puck dropped for the start of tonight’s game against the visiting San Jose Sharks at Staples Center, the Dallas Stars lost to the Nashville Predators 2-0, eliminating the only team with a chance to bump the Kings out of the top eight in the Western Conference.

Of course, the Kings still have a lot to accomplish. They begin the night leading the Pacific Division by a tiebreaker over Phoenix, and they're one point ahead of San Jose. A win by the Sharks in regulation would move them atop the Pacific Division.

Phoenix plays its final two regular-season games Friday in St. Louis and Saturday in Minnesota.

After tonight, the Kings and Sharks each have one game remaining, against each other Saturday night in San Jose.

San Jose and Phoenix also clinched postseason berths with the loss by Dallas, which was eliminated from playoff contention.