Dallas Stars Daily Links: Stars Beat Predators 3-2, Clinch Central Division Title, No. 1 Seed in West

The Stars beat the Preds 3-2 to clinch their division and conference. Plus, the Texas Stars are also postseason bound, and a look at Dallas' play down the stretch.

You could say that Jason Spezza picked a pretty good night to score a hat trick.

His three goals powered the Stars' 3-2 win over the Predators, which means that Dallas is officially No. 1 in both the Central Division and the Western Conference and will face Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs. (As an added bonus, the Blues also lost last night. Thanks, Ovi.)

Here's what Mike Heika had to say about the Stars' win and their 9-2-0 run to close the regular season.

The Stars are getting huge contributions from young players Radek Faksa and Stephen Johns.

And Jason Spezza is looking like a significant X-factor. The 32-year-old center tallied a hat trick Saturday and showed flashes of the player who was the second overall pick in the 2001 draft.

And, just like Stars fans, Spezza said he's itching to return to the playoffs. He last played in 2013.

"I'm excited ," said Spezza. "We've got a legitimate team with a legitimate chance. It's a fun group, and we want to keep playing as long as we can. This is why you play. You get longer in your career, and you start to realize the chances don't come all of the time."

You know Razor had plenty to say about the division-clinching win.

Stars captain Jamie Benn also addressed the enthusiastic crowd at the AAC after the victory.

You can see what Lindy Ruff had to say about the win here, and there's more on the game at the link. [SportsDayDFW]


You know what else happened last night? The Texas Stars won a wild 8-5 game over the San Jose Barracuda (Jason Dickinson scored twice), and the Milwaukee Admirals won their game, meaning...

If you want to know what to expect from a series between the Stars and the Wild, Sportsnet's got you covered. [Sportsnet]

You can also pass the time until next Thursday by checking out the long and difficult path the Wild followed to get to the playoffs. [Star Tribune]

Jason Spezza's high-scoring night also meant he reached an impressive milestone.

After missing 13 games with a shoulder injury, Jason Demers is ready to prove he belongs in the lineup. [SportsDayDFW]

Jamie Benn added to his trophy collection last night.

After a shaky third quarter of the season, the Stars earned an "A" grade from CBS Sports' Adam Gretz for their play down the stretch. [CBS Sports]

Mike Modano chimed in last night with a reminder that the real work hasn't started yet.

(It's okay, you can bask in the glory of being No. 1 in the #MDK for a little bit longer.)

Speaking of Mo, he talked with 105.3 The Fan about golf and the Stars' success this season. [SportsDayDFW]

Too early to start thinking about the 2016 Draft? Nah. Bleacher Report has the Stars picking Flint center Will Bitten 29th overall. [Bleacher Report]

Congrats to Alex Ovechkin, who hit the 50-goal mark in the Capitals' 5-1 win over the Blues.

There was plenty of hockey to watch yesterday, including a few games with important playoff ramifications in the East. And although the Red Wings lost 3-2 to the Rangers, the Bruins' 6-1 loss to the Senators meant...

A little later in the day, the Flyers beat the Penguins 3-1, punching their ticket to the playoffs. [Broad Street Hockey]

Philly's win also meant that the Bruins missed the postseason cut. One reason why is the fact that the defense in Beantown was, uh, not great this year. Think Leafs and Oilers bad, but worse. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]

Even though Detroit kept its playoff streak alive, the Red Wings are in need of a serious rebuild. [The Hockey News]

Congratulations to North Dakota, who defeated Quinnipiac 5-1 for the national title.

From #SpaceyInSpace to Jaromir Jagr's strong season, the Panthers are making it pretty hard to root against them. [Sports Illustrated]

In non-playoff news, the Maple Leafs officially finished the season in last place. [Toronto Star]

Coyotes captain Shane Doan chatted about Arizona's young players, his future in the league, and whether this counted as a successful season for the team. [Puck Daddy]

And finally, Johnny Oduya was given a pretty big responsibility last night.

P.S. I'll just leave this here.