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Miro Heiskanan, Jason Robertson lead Stars past Kraken 3-1 to clinch Central Division title

By Associated Press
Published: April 13, 2024, 7:05pm

DALLAS (AP) — Defenseman Miro Heiskanen had a goal and two assists, and Jason Robertson had a goal and an assist as the Dallas Stars beat the Seattle Kraken 3-1 on Saturday to clinch the Central Division title for the first time in eight years.

Craig Smith also scored for the Stars, who remain in contention for both the top seed in the Western Conference and the Presidents’ Trophy with one game to play in the regular season.

Heiskanen scored Dallas’ final goal on a wrap-around with 7:37 left to play for his fourth game of at least three points this season.

“It’s great to win (the division), but we’re far from done,” Heiskanen said. “It’s just the first step.”

Stars coach Pete DeBoer agreed but added, “You definitely can’t minimize the work put in to doing that … in a really good division.”

The Stars’ other goals came late in periods. Smith with 2.5 seconds left in the first period on a tip-in redirection and Robertson with 35.9 left in the second, coming on a 5-on-3 power play.

Three Seattle shots struck either the crossbar or a post.

Jake Oettinger stopped 26 shots. Kailer Yamamoto spoiled Oettinger’s bid to shut out Seattle for the second time in two weeks late in the third period. Philipp Grubauer made 28 saves for the Kraken, who began a season-ending four-game road trip.

“That goal at the end (of the first period) – great tip, nothing you can do about that,” said Yamamoto, who scored for the first time since Dec. 27. “That gave them a little bit of life.”

The Stars swept the three-game season series, one of the games going to overtime. They also beat the Kraken in seven games in the second round of the playoffs last year.

Twenty-two seconds after Seattle’s Ryker Evans was called for hooking late in the second period, Brandon Tanev – younger brother of Dallas’ Chris Tanev – was penalized for goaltender interference. Robertson’s goal, following his first-period assist, gives him a team-high 80 points.

Oettinger lost his stick in the closing seconds of the Kraken’s second unsuccessful power play early in the second period, then made a glove save on Evans’ shot from just inside the blue line.

The Stars were awarded a penalty shot midway through the second period after a scrum in Seattle’s crease. Kraken defenseman Will Borgen pushed the puck away from the goal line with his left glove, the puck went under the chest of fellow defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, and Oleksiak was ruled to have covered the puck in the crease. Sam Steel shot low, and Grubauer closed his pads on it for the save.

Smith’s goal ended a streak of almost 113 scoreless minutes at home for the Stars. Of Smith’s 11 goals this season, four have come in the Stars’ last eight home games.

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