Stars Clinch Playoffs, Aim for More

Dallas Stars | Image by The Dallas Stars/Twitter

The Dallas Stars are playoff bound after a 3-1 road win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

The win gives Dallas its third consecutive playoff appearance, as both teams entered the night in position to become the first Western Conference team to clinch a playoff spot this season and the first team in the conference to surpass the 100-point threshold.

“I’m just proud of our group,” head coach Pete DeBoer told the media postgame. “You go through all kinds of adversity throughout the year — injuries and different things — but we found a way every week to find a way to win these games.”

The Stars have won six games in a row and sit atop the Western Conference, yet with eight games remaining in the regular season, there are still more goals to accomplish, like securing home ice throughout the playoffs.

“I’ve been in the league long enough to know it’s really hard to make the playoffs in this league, and it’s really hard to secure home ice in the playoffs in this league,” DeBoer explained. “You have to do a lot of work, starting six or seven months ago, to give yourself the opportunity to be one of those 16 teams that plays for the Stanley Cup.”

After last year’s run to the Western Conference Final, Dallas’ goal has been to take the next step in the championship process and reach the Stanley Cup Final. The importance of home ice throughout the playoffs could be critical to achieving that goal, but they’ll have to continue fending off Colorado and Vancouver for the next three weeks or so.

“It’s what we’ve worked all year for,” goalie Jake Oettinger told the media. “Obviously, we went on a run last year, and we know how important getting those home games is, so that’s what we’re playing for right now.”

Dallas is the only Western Conference team to have claimed a spot this season, while the New York Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins, and Florida Panthers have clinched playoff berths in the Eastern Conference. To hold home-ice advantage over the top team in the East, the Stars must finish with the highest point total in the league and win the Presidents’ Trophy.

Some superstition surrounds the trophy throughout the league, as just eight of its previous 37 recipients have gone on to win the Stanley Cup. However, the 1999 Dallas Stars were among the eight, and the team does not seem to be buying into the superstition.

“We want to win as many games as we can here going into the playoffs,” DeBoer said. “I like how we’re playing. We’ve got eight games left. If that results in a Presidents’ Trophy, fantastic. If it doesn’t, and we keep playing, and our game stays in the same place, then we’re comfortable playing against anybody.”

The Stars (46-19-9) wrap up their West Coast road trip against the Seattle Kraken (30-29-13) at 9 p.m. CT on Saturday and return to Dallas to face the Edmonton Oilers (44-23-4) at 8:30 p.m. CT on April 3.

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