April 7, 2019 / 3:01 AM / 5 months ago

Stars find offense late, beat Wild to clinch top wild card

Dallas’ Tyler Seguin scored twice in the first nine minutes of the third period, and that’s all goaltender Ben Bishop needed as the Stars defeated the visiting Minnesota Wild 3-0 on Saturday to clinch the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot on the final night of the NHL’s regular season.

Apr 6, 2019; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars right wing Alexander Radulov (47) and Minnesota Wild left wing Kevin Fiala (22) chase the puck during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Stars (43-32-7, 93 points) are in the postseason for the first time since 2016 and enter the Stanley Cup playoffs as the seventh seed in the West. Dallas won five of its final seven games and will play Nashville, the Central Division champion, in the first round, with the schedule to be determined.

The Wild (37-36-9, 83 points) won only four of their final 14 games and missed the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons. Minnesota was shut out 11 times this season and managed only 24 shots in the loss on Saturday.

Dallas needed either a win or overtime in Saturday’s game to cement its playoff position, and it took 42 minutes for the Stars to break through.

Seguin ended the scoreless deadlock 2:44 into the third period when he one-timed a cross-ice pass from Alexander Radulov up the left arm on Minnesota goalie Alex Stalock to give Dallas the goal it needed. John Klingberg was credited with the secondary assist.

Seguin scored again at the 8:55 mark, working in tight quarters in front of the net between two defenders when Jamie Oleksiak fired a shot that Seguin deflected with his backhand past Stalock. Jamie Benn also got an assist on the goal.

The Dallas defense and Bishop did the rest.

Bishop returned to the lineup for the first time since March 27 after missing four games with a lower-body injury. The shutout Saturday was his seventh of the campaign and the 31st of his NHL career.

It capped a regular season that saw Bishop lead the league in save percentage and finish second in goals-against average.

Dallas outshot the Wild 34-12 over the first two periods, including a 20-5 advantage in the second period.

Tyler Pitlick added a goal for the Stars with 7:59 to play off assists from Roope Hintz and Jason Dickinson to quell any chance of a Minnesota comeback.

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