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Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Apr 12, 2024 5:09 pm

Stars take on Kraken while vying for division, Presidents’ Trophy

jamie benn

The Dallas Stars have already clinched a playoff berth, while the Seattle Kraken have already been eliminated.

But there’s still plenty on the line when Dallas hosts Seattle on Saturday afternoon.

The Stars (50-21-9, 109 points) enter the weekend one point behind the New York Rangers for the Presidents’ Trophy, which goes to the team with the best regular-season record and includes home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Stars also have yet to clinch the Central Division title. They failed to do so Thursday night by losing 3-0 to visiting Winnipeg, moving the Jets into a second-place tie with Colorado.

Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger made 21 saves against the Jets but had a personal eight-game winning streak snapped. The Stars had won 10 of their past 11 games overall.

“We can always keep getting better,” Dallas forward Jamie Benn said. “I think that’s the best thing about hockey. As good as you are, there’s always things you can improve on. We’ll learn from this one. Take some positives from it if we can and learn from our mistakes. We would have liked to (clinch the division Thursday). Didn’t happen, so we’ve got a big game Saturday now.”

The Stars, who are second in the league in scoring, were blanked for only the third time this season and the first since a 4-0 loss Dec. 4 at Tampa Bay.

“We’ve been on a really good run here for a long time,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “I guess that’s the silver lining, we didn’t beat ourselves, and they got a couple of bounces around the net.”

The Stars know not to look past the Kraken (33-32-13, 79 points), who took Dallas to a seventh game in the Western Conference semifinals last spring.

Despite 50 shots on goal, Seattle lost 3-1 Thursday to visiting San Jose, snapping the Kraken’s two-game winning streak.

The Kraken will play their final four games of the regular season on the road.

“Obviously you want to end the season on a winning note at home. For the most part, it was a pretty good effort,” Kraken forward Jaden Schwartz said. “We carried a lot of the play, just didn’t find ways to finish.”

Being eliminated from playoff contention has allowed the Kraken to get a look at rookies like Shane Wright, Logan Morrison and Ryan Winterton.

Wright, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2022 NHL draft, has been especially impressive, scoring four goals in five games with three winners in that span.

That trio will head back to AHL affiliate Coachella Valley to get more seasoning in the American Hockey League playoffs.

“As a collective group, they’ve all shown significant progress,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “Really good sense at this level, some poise. The experience of being here also allows them to assess, and us to assess, some of the areas we want them to grow in.”

Goaltender Joey Daccord, who is completing his first full NHL season, was named the Kraken’s fan favorite Thursday, with forward Jared McCann getting MVP honors and Schwartz the perseverance award at the final home game.

“Obviously, as a team, we’ve had ups and downs,” Daccord said. “But it’s just been an incredible experience so far with the ins and outs of everyday NHL life. And I feel like I’ve just tried to make the most of every opportunity that I’ve gotten.”

–Field Level Media

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