It's not shocking that the Vancouver Canucks have a commanding lead atop the Northwest Division, but the fact that the Dallas Stars are contending for the Pacific Division title probably is a surprise.
These teams meet three times within the next four weeks, starting with Tuesday night's matchup in Vancouver.
The defending Western Conference champion Canucks (41-17-8) have an 18-point lead over Colorado in the Northwest and are one point ahead of Detroit and St. Louis in the race for the top seed.
Dallas (35-26-5) was the only Pacific team not to make the playoffs a season ago during which it dealt high-scoring winger James Neal to Pittsburgh.
The Stars, however, are on a 6-0-1 surge and are tied with Phoenix for first place in the division as they look to sweep their three-game trip after wins in Edmonton and Calgary. Kari Lehtonen made 36 saves in Sunday's 3-2 shootout victory over the Flames.
"These next 16 games now that every point's important and you can see the parity ou...