Analysis

NHL Power Rankings: Eastern Conference Still Crowds Top 10

By George Clifford
Nov 26, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal to tie the game against the New Jersey Devils with fourteen seconds remaining in the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Pens won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal to tie the game against the New Jersey Devils with fourteen seconds remaining in the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Pens won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 28, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) defends the net against St. Louis Blues center Jori Lehtera (12) during the second period at Scottrade Center. The Blues won 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 28, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) defends the net against St. Louis Blues center Jori Lehtera (12) during the second period at Scottrade Center. The Blues won 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 16: Dallas Stars

Previous: 18th

Season record: 9-9-6 (24 points)

After losing 4-3 in overtime to the St. Louis Blues in Monday night’s Central Division showdown and then falling Tuesday to Detroit, the Dallas Stars fell from the second wild card slot in the Western Conference. With top-six forwards Patrick Sharp and Jason Spezza now back from lengthy injuries, the Stars are beginning to look like themselves, except for the glaring minus-18 goal differential.

The Stars will score lots of goals, but with veteran Johnny Oduya on injured reserve, the back end is vulnerable with a young, relatively inexperienced blue line and two underperforming goaltenders in Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen. Unless they can significantly improve their collective 3.17 goals-allowed average, the Stars will continue to teeter on the brink of the playoff picture.

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