Bubble update: Stars should stay where they are

Some teams are simply kryptonite to particular opponents.

Historically, the Red Wings and Avalanche are among the teams who were the biggest thorns in the side of the Dallas Stars. At this moment, the Chicago Blackhawks might hold that title.

The Stars are 0-3 against the Blackhawks and none of those games were even close. Chicago beat Dallas 6-2 on Saturday, while stunningly doubling the Stars' shots in the game (36 to 18). The Stars were beaten nearly as brutally in the teams other two games, losing 6-3 and 5-2.

Overall, that is 17-7 in scoring. Not sure what, in particular, makes Chicago such a completely baffling opponent for the Stars.

Looking at the seeds right now, Detroit, San Jose and Chicago all smell like imminent death. Now, Calgary is by no means a weak team ... but if the Stars were able to choose, you'd think they would gladly face the Flames instead.

After the jump: a look at how many games each bubble teams has against their bubble brothers.

5. Vancouver (27-21-8, 62 points, 26 games left; 12 at home and 14 on the road)

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This week: @ Calgary, @ Ottawa, @ Toronto (finishing Canadian tour @ Montreal next week)

After a four-game tour of Canada, Vancouver will face two more games at home than on the road. Then again, the Canucks also must go on a grueling six-game road trip before the season ends.

Games remaining against bubble teams: Dallas (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); Columbus (1 at home); Anaheim (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); Edmonton (1 on the road); Minnesota (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); Nashville (none); LA (3, 2 at home and 1 on the road); Phoenix (1 on the road)

Overall: 12 games against bubble teams, 6 at home and 6 on the road

6. Dallas (27-21-7, 61 points with 27 games left; 14 games at home and 13 on the road)

The last two games were rough on both ends of the losing spectrum for the Stars. First, they were frustrated and shut out by the up-and-down Ilya Bryzgalov and then shellacked by Chicago. Still, the Stars are in very nice shape to make the playoffs.

This week: @ Columbus, vs. Edmonton, vs. Chicago (the first two games of an upcoming six-game homestand)

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Games remaining against bubble teams: Vancouver (2,1 at home and 1 on road); Columbus (1 on road); ANA (3, 1 at home and 2 on the road); EDM (1 at home); MIN (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); Nashville (none); LA (3, 1 at home and 2 on road); PHX (1 on road)

Overall: 13 games against bubble teams, 5 at home and 8 on the road

7. Columbus (28-23-5 for 61 points with 26 games left; 13 at home and 13 on the road)

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The Blue Jackets are a scrappy bunch and will need to continue to be that way. Dan LaCosta may go down as this year's Wade Dubie (spot starter who helps team make the playoffs) as he held down the fort while Steve Mason secretly got pink eye from a stripper. (might as well change his condition to keep things lively, eh?)

This week: vs. Dallas, vs. STL, @ Toronto, vs. Anaheim

Games remaining against bubble teams: Van (1 on road); Dallas (1 at home); ANA (1 at home); EDM (1 on road); MIN (1 at home); NAS (3, 1 at home and 2 on the road); LA (1 at home); PHX (none)

Overall: 9 games against bubble teams, 5 at home and 4 on the road

8. Anaheim: (28-25-5 for 61 points with 23 games left; 11 at home and 12 on the road)

The Ducks are the team that "cannot control their own destiny." They need to play great hockey and still might need some breaks. One thing's for sure: they cannot afford any more 8-4 beatings by Atlanta Thrashers-caliber teams for the rest of the season. With a six game road trip coming up (see below), we'll know if this Ducks team can make the playoffs very soon.

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This week: vs. Kings, @ Detroit, @ Columbus (the first two games of a scary six game road trip with four surefire playoff teams and two bubble teams)

Games remaining against bubble teams: VAN (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); DAL (3, 2 at home and one on the road); CBJ (1 on road); EDM (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); MIN (1 at home); NAS (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); LA (1 at home); PHX (3, 1 at home and 2 on the road)

Overall: 14 against bubble teams with 8 at home and 6 on the road - perhaps they DO control their own destiny?

9. Edmonton: (28-23-4 for 60 points with 27 games left; 14 at home and 13 on the road)

The Oilers seem like they should be able to slide into the playoffs without even playing impressive hockey, but we shall see. Edmonton still has three medium sized road trips this season, though.

This Week: Closing out Pacific Division road trip @ PHX, SJS and DAL. Starts four game roadtrip vs. Calgary.

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Games remaining against bubble teams: VAN (1 at home); DAL (1 on road); CBJ (1 at home); ANA (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); MIN (3, 2 at home and 1 on the road); NAS (1 on the road); LA (1 at home); PHX (2 on the road)

Overall: 12 against bubble teams with 6 at home and 6 on the road

10. Minnesota (28-24-3 for 59 points with 27 games left; 10 at home and 17 on the road)

It doesn't matter what way you look at the remaining schedule for Minnesota, it is plain to see that the Wild face some extremely steep odds to make the playoffs. They are still my most confident pick to miss the playoffs.

This week: vs. CGY, vs. DET and @ CHI

Games remaining against bubble teams: VAN (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); DAL: (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); CBJ (1 on road); ANA (1 on road); EDM (3, 1 at home and 2 on the road); NAS (1 at home); LA (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road), PHX (none)

Overall: 12 games remaining against bubble teams, 5 at home and 7 on the road)

11. Nashville (27-26-3 for 57 points with 26 games left; 14 at home and 12 on the road)

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Regardless of how you feel about hockey in Grand Ole Opry-ville, this team deserves a hat tip for staying in the playoff picture amid plenty of difficult challenges. They would have to win at a nice clip but aren't that far out of the picture.

This week: vs. Ottawa, @Detroit, vs. St. Louis, @ St. Louis

Games remaining against bubble teams: VAN (none); DAL (none); CBJ (3, 2 at home and 1 on the road); ANA (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); EDM (1 at home); MIN (1 on the road); LA (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road), PHX (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road)

Overall: 11 against bubble teams, 6 at home and 5 on the road

12. Los Angeles (24-22-8 for 56 points with 28 games left; 9 at home and 19 (!!!) on the road)

The Kings might be a bit of a mirage since they've played 10 more games at home than on the road. Chances are, these young whippersnappers probably have one more year of top-10 draft pick status before they truly contend.

This week: vs. Atlanta, @ Anaheim, @ SJS, vs. PHX

Games remaining against bubble teams: VAN (3, 1 at home and 2 on the road); DAL (3, 2 at home and 1 on the road); CBJ (1 at road); ANA (1 on the road); EDM (1 on the road); MIN (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); NAS (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); PHX (3, 2 at home and 1 on the road)

Overall: 16(!) games remaining against bubble teams with 7 at home and 9 on the road.

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13. Phoenix (25-27-5 for 55 points with 25 games left; 12 games at home and 13 games on the road)

The Coyotes are fading fast but are still a dangerous team. So we might as well account for them. Still, any team whose coach is the highest paid person probably isn't going to make the playoffs ...

Games remaining against bubble teams: VAN (1 at home); DAL (1 at home); CBJ (none); ANA (3, 2 at home and 1 on the road); EDM (2 at home); MIN (none); NAS (2, 1 at home and 1 on the road); LA (3, 1 at home and 2 on the road)

Overall: 12 games remaining against bubble teams with 8 at home and 4 on the road

 This week's prediction

5. Vancouver
6. Dallas
7. Columbus
8. Edmonton

(Sorry Duckies)

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