WEST VALLEY CITY — The home stretch officially begins tonight for the Utah Grizzlies.
In the midst of a heated playoff race, the Grizz start their season-ending seven-game homestand with a weekend series against Kansas City. Utah and the Blades will face off against each other today and Saturday at 7:30 each night at the E Center.
Having earned eight points in their last six games, the Grizz still find themselves in the chase for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. If the postseason started today, they would be out of a playoff spot with their 35-33-7 record and 77 points.
Utah is currently tied in the points column with Chicago, but the Wolves (35-30-7) have three more games remaining, so they could leave the Grizz in their wake if they won a few of those.
The Grizz's best chance of snatching one of the four Western playoff spots appears to be by sneaking past Houston. The Aeros (36-31-7) have been struggling as of late and are only two points ahead of Utah with one game in hand. The Grizz and the Aeros end the regular season against each other at the E Center on Easter weekend.
Milwaukee is on track to steal one of the Western slots. Though the fifth-best team in the East, the Admirals (38-29-6) have 82 points and would be the No. 2 seed out West if it all ended now. The IHL is allowing a fifth Eastern team to make the playoffs if it finishes with a better record than any of the top four Western teams.
Kansas City comes into this weekend set also hoping to catch fire at season's end in time to make the playoffs. The Blades are in last place in the West at 35-36-2 (72 points).
Utah is 4-5-1 against Kansas City this season. After smashing the Blades 8-1 on Jan. 2, however, the Grizzlies have only gone 0-2-1 against them.