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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Stars at Sharks And Other Stories

Sharks still looking to clinch, Stars looking to maintain their standing, and other hot takes from the playoff race.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

After clinching a berth in the playoffs on Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Stars dropped their next game to the Arizona Coyotes. Next up: the Sharks, on the road in San Jose. Mike Heika us tomorrow night's key match up.

Patrick Eaves vs. Brent Burns

In addition to squaring off in the "best beard in the NHL" competition, the hirsute challengers also should be squaring off in front of the Sharks net. Eaves has been a consistent presence on the power play and Burns is a big body (6-5, 230) who logs the most minutes for the Sharks (26:02).

I appreciate that Mike Heika knows what the most important match up really is.

Speaking of Arizona, Heika says if the Stars don't win the division, they can blame losses to teams like Arizona.

Heading into the final seven games of the season, Dallas is 11-6-2 against non-playoff teams in the West, and that's behind the pace set by the Blues (11-3-3) and Blackhawks (13-3-1). What's worse is you can mix in losses to Eastern Conference non-playoff teams Toronto (twice), Ottawa and Columbus to add to the standings points that were frittered away.

"You've got to skate. That's it. I'll be honest with you, and I'll tell you what I see," Ruff said of the message he told Benn and Spezza. "The last two games haven't been good enough. You look at what the third or fourth line is doing and it's quick, it's moving. That's what we need from everybody."

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Defenseman Niklas Hansson, recently of HV1 in the Swedish Hockey League, was signed to a three year entry level contract with the Stars today. Hansson was originally chosen by the Stars in the third round of 2013 NHL Draft. [Wrong Side of the Red Line]

Tales from the other side: the Minnesota Wild beat the Calgary Flames last night. With the Colorado Avalanche losing 4-2 to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Wild now occupy the last wild card spot in the Western Conference. Apparently, the Wild aren't that scared of the Stars. [Hockey Wilderness]

In a completely scientific poll taken earlier of my twitter followers, 4 out of 5 users were able to correctly identify Jamie Benn as the source of this adorably cliched quote about his teammates. [SportsDay]

Despite spending more money on the position than any other team in the league, Dallas goal tending situation has still not been set in stone. [Today's Slapshot]

For all your meta needs: which mascot would most likely destroy the team named after it? If you said the Stars, you're probably the most right, but there are a few contenders. [Look It]

The Carolina Hurricanes respond to North Carolina's discriminatory transgender bill. [Sports Net]

With a 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks, the St. Louis Blues clinch the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. [St. Louis Blues official site]

And finally, spotted last night in Glendale: