Mar 2, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf (15) congratulates teammates Jason Blake (33), Saku Koivu (11), Niklas Hagman (12) and Cam Fowler (4) at the end of the game against the Calgary Flames at the Honda Center. The Ducks defeated the Flames 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Around The Pacific: Stars Climbing Fast

Mar. 3, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Phoenix Coyotes left wing Ray Whitney (13) celebrates with center Antoine Vermette (50) right wing Shane Doan (19) and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) after scoring in the second period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

1. Phoenix Coyotes: (33-23-9, 75 points)

Since Last Week: After their miraculous run through February that catapulted the team to the top of the Pacific, the Coyotes magic has finally seem to run dry. They picked up a win in their last game in February, but have now lost two straight, and they weren’t pretty. They were defeated by a desperate Calgary team, and followed that up with an embarrassing lost to the lowly Blue Jackets.

Trending: Down. The hot streak has been extinguished, and the Coyotes have looked far from impressive. The real reason for choosing this trend though, is that things are not going to get any easier.

Looking Ahead: And it starts with the red hot Pittsburgh Penguins TONIGHT. By the end of tonight, the Coyotes can lose their first place ranking if they lose in Pittsburgh.

Feb 29, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars right wing Adam Burish (16) screens Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Penguins defeated the Stars 4-3 in the overtime shootout. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

2. Dallas Stars: (35-26-5, 75 points)

Since Last Week: The Stars continue their own hot streak, and now are in striking distance of the number three seed. They began the week with a shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but followed it up with two solid wins in Edmonton and Calgary. The 7-1-2 stretch in their last ten games has been a miraculous turnaround from before the trade deadline.

Trending: Up. Everything is going right for the Stars, and with Captain Brenden Morrow able to return as early as this week, the Stars are about to be back at full health. They have just watched Phoenix’s hot streak come to a screeching halt, so the Stars can’t get overconfident. This time last year, the Stars were in 6th place, and they missed the playoffs. They sit in seventh place as of this writing. There’s a lot of hockey left to play.

Looking Ahead: The Stars are heading to Vancouver to finish up their Western Canada road swing tomorrow night. It was announced earlier today that Richard Bachman would get the start, a great move to give Kari Lehtonen a break in a game that isn’t as enormous as some recent contests.

FEB 26, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; San Jose Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan during a time out in the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Sharks 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-US PRESSWIRE

3. San Jose Sharks: (33-24-7, 73 points)

Since Last Week: The Sharks are 1-2 since last week, 2-7-1 in their last ten, and have scored two goal over their last three games. It’s safe to say that this slump is the gift that keeps on giving. Well, a gift for the rest of the Pacific Division, not so much for the Sharks.

Trending: This slump started with a mammoth road trip, and everyone figured they would bounce back with returning home. Not so much. Scoring has been the issue and the Sharks cannot get things together. They’ve lost their grip on the Pacific Division, and are now fighting off the pack teams over their shoulder.

Looking Ahead: The rough road continues tomorrow night against the Edmonton Oilers. If there was ever a time to bounce back, it’d be against one of the worst teams in the Western Conference.

Mar 3, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter during the game against the Anaheim Ducks at the Staples Center. The Kings defeated the Ducks 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

4. Los Angeles Kings: (30-23-12, 72 points)

Since Last Week: The Kings are, in a word, alright. They haven’t been particularly impressive, but they’re grinding it out and picking up wins, going 2-1 over the last week, managing to score some goals along with it. They picked a good time to start scoring, because Jonathan Quick has looked human recently, and it’s about time the offense began to do their part.

Trending: Neutral. The Kings need to put together a solid stretch to get into the top eight, and play some solid hockey to stay there.

Looking Ahead: It doesn’t start easy, though. The Kings are embarking on a four-game road trip against the Nashville Predators tomorrow night.

5. Anaheim Ducks: (28-28-10, 66 points)

Since Last Week: 1-3 over the last week. Seems like the miracle run over. No one is saying the Ducks haven’t been impressive (they have), but the playoffs were always a long shot and with the recent inconsistency, the playoffs are all but gone. They have virtually no statistical shot to make the playoffs, so they are now stuck with the role of spoilers.

Trending: Neutral. They might pick up wins here and there, but the season is essentially over. Eyes shift to next season where they’ll look to bounce back from an otherwise forgettable season with new coach Bruce Boudreau at the helm.

Looking Ahead: The Ducks and Oilers play tonight in a pretty meaningless contest. I’m sure the fans will enjoy it, but don’t expect the rest of the NHL to take a second glance at tonight’s game.

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Tags: Antti Niemi Anze Kopitar Bobby Ryan Corey Perry Dustin Brown Jamie Benn Jeff Carter Joe Pavelski Joe Thornton Jonathan Quick Kari Lehtonen Loui Eriksson Michael Ryder Mike Smith Patrick Marleau Radim Vrbata Ray Whitney Richard Bachman Ryan Getzlaf Teemu Selanne

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