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Stars beat Blues in shootout after clinching top seed in West

Jake Oettinger Dallas Stars Jake Oettinger - The Canadian Press

DALLAS (AP) — Jake Oettinger made 26 saves in regulation and overtime before stopping all three attempts in the shootout as the Central Division champion Dallas Stars beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in their regular-season finale Wednesday night.

When they earned one point by getting to overtime, the Stars clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They ended up with two points thanks to Oettinger and Jason Robertson, who scored on the first shot of the shootout, which held up for the victory.

The last time Dallas was the top seed in the West was 2016, also the year of its previous Central Division title. The Stars (52-21-9) finished with 113 points, the most since their franchise-record 114 in 1998-99 on the way to winning their only Stanley Cup title. They were one win shy of the record 53 set in 2005-06.

Fans cheered in the closing seconds of regulation knowing Dallas had already clinched the No. 1 seed in the West. Pacific Division champion Vancouver has one game left, but can only max out at 111 points with a win Thursday.

St. Louis (43-33-6) had already been eliminated from playoff contention and finished ninth in the Western Conference with 92 points. That put the Blues five points behind Los Angeles, which has one game left, for the final playoff spot.

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington made 36 saves. The only goal he gave up was Mason Marchment’s 22nd with 14:49 left in regulation on a sweeping turnaround shot just outside the crease.

The Stars will play either reigning Stanley Cup champion Vegas (98 points) or the Kings (97 points) in the first round of the playoffs. Both have home games Thursday night to finish the regular season. One of them will finish third in the Pacific Division and the other will be a wild card headed to Dallas, where the Golden Knights last season wrapped up the Western Conference Final with a Game 6 victory.

Oettinger allowed two goals or less for the 10th time in his last 11 games. He made an incredible diving save with his skates off the ice while the Blues were on a power play in the first period.

Oettinger was screened while outside the crease to the left of the net when Robert Thomas made a pass from that side to defenseman Scott Perunovich above the circles. Thomas took a wicked shot, and Oettinger lunged across the front of the net and was in the air when he knocked down the puck with his glove.

The Dallas penalty was a tripping call against forward Evgenii Dadonov, playing for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury on Feb. 13 that caused him to miss 29 games.

Thomas scored from the left of Oettinger with 2:41 left in the second period. His 26th goal came after a near takeaway by Roope Hintz on a shot from the middle of the circle over the goalie’s right shoulder into the top corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.


St. Louis goes into another long offseason. It is the first time since 2011 that the Blues missed the playoffs in back-to-back years.

Dallas waits to see who and when it plays at home in the first two games of the playoffs.