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Stars Win On Fan Appreciation Night, Finishing Regular Season As 1st Wild Card In West

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The regular season is done, and the second season begins now.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Bishop has been playing lights out down the stretch of the Dallas Stars season. He added an exclamation point to his body of work with a 3-0 shutout of the Minnesota Wild in game 82 for the Stars, and looked more than ready for the playoffs. Not much in the way of a heavy workload for the big netminder tonight, but when called upon he moved well and made some big saves to keep the Wild off the scoreboard.

While he may not have the wins to vault him to the top of the Vezina Trophy discussion, Bishop’s shutout tonight helped to set a franchise record in save percentage over the course of the regular season (he ended with a 0.934 save percentage).

Solving Stalock

Alex Stalock was locked in early in this one. Dallas took more than 40 minutes and 32+ shots on goal to finally punch through the wall he was putting up in net. He had some highlight-worthy saves too, especially with some big shots from the Stars’ top forwards. The “how did that not go in” per 60 was quite high in this one tonight, and it was usually the result of Stalock’s moves. (And Tyler Seguin’s missing of a wide open net on some traffic chaos in front of Stalock, too.)

Faksa Fight Club

Radek Faksa and Nick Seeler had a lively bout in the second period. It started much earlier in the game when Faksa was near Stalock’s net looking for a rebound and Seeler locked him in a headlock after the whistle so hard his helmet came off. The two tussled and were sent off for matching roughing minors.

Upon exiting the penalty box, the two discarded what you don’t need and had a very emotion-driven fight. It wasn’t staged as they came out, it was genuine “I don’t like you very much right now” energy that led to the fight. The building got raucous after the bout, and Faksa probably gets the win on hockeyfights.com after taking Seeler to the ground.

Kelly Forbes With The Clutch Call

Near the end of the second period, with Dallas having allowed Minnesota just four shots on goal or so as the time was winding down and having peppered Stalock with 20(!), the Stars appeared to give up the first goal of the game. Ex-Stars defenseman Greg Pateryn appeared to redirect a shot in past Ben Bishop, who wasn’t overly taxed in this one. However, the Stars coaching staff almost immediately challenged the goal as being offside. The review didn’t take long — Minnesota was, indeed, offside by a stride or so and the goal was overturned.

Kelly Forbes is 5-1 on video review challenges this season. Dallas has one of the better success rates in the NHL, and a lot of the credit goes to the video coach that isn’t often the center of attention in the organization. (If you ever get the chance to see Forbes and thank him, you probably should.)

The Tylers Lead Stars To Win

It was a good night to be named Tyler. Tyler Seguin opened the scoring early in the third period when he ripped an absolute bomb from the top of the faceoff circle as he was practically on his knees in an early power play for the Stars. He added his second of the night when he cleaned up a rebound on Stalock’s doorstep. Tyler Pitlick, not to be outdone by Tyler Seguin,

First Round Opponent Appears To Be Set

With Dallas taking two points, the Colorado Avalanche cannot catch Dallas in the standings, regardless of the outcome of their game tonight. Dallas is locked into the first Wild Card position, which means they’ll face off against the winner of the Central Division.

That honor will go to the Nashville Predators, leading to a preview of the Winter Classic between the Predators and Stars in the first round. It wasn’t set until literally minutes before Dallas finished their game, as the St. Louis Blues sat briefly atop the Central at game start after they took care of business earlier today versus the Vancouver Canucks.

Here’s the remaining Western Conference playoff picture as a result of these two games:

  • The Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues will faceoff with home ice being decided based on the result of Winnipeg’s late game tonight.
  • The Colorado Avalanche will slot into the Pacific Division side of the playoff bracket and get the Calgary Flames as a result of Calgary winning the West (they get the lower seeded Wild Card team).
  • The Vegas Golden Knights and the San Jose Sharks will play each other, with the Knights opening the round on the road.

Fan Appreciation

Thank you for reading our words and taking this ride of another Dallas Stars regular season with us. We’ve had some laughs, we’ve had some cries, we’ve had debates, and GIFs, and we were all awed at Miro Heiskanen this year.

But it’s not over yet. The fun is just beginning. Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage here. we. come.