The Dallas Stars shut out the St. Louis Blues on Friday night, 3-0, to clinch the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs and eliminate the Phoenix Coyotes. It’s their first playoff berth since 2008.
How fitting that scored his 37th goal in the win. The blockbuster seven-player trade that sent Stars stalwart Loui Eriksson to the Boston Bruins for fallen star Seguin was an offseason gamble. He could have been an epic bust; instead, he’s third in the NHL in scoring with 84 points and an MVP candidate.
How fitting that Kari Lehtonen, who played 65 of the team’s 81 games despite injury issues, pitched the shut out against the Blues. It’s his fifth season in Dallas, and the first time he’ll backstop them in the playoffs.
How fitting that the clinching victory happened at home, where the Stars are now 23-11-7 on the season.
How fitting that Lindy Ruff, who landed in Dallas after 15 years with the Buffalo Sabres, getting his team to the postseason as the Sabres are a smoldering mess. (And how fitting he beat fellow Buffalo escapee, Ryan Miller, for the berth.)
The Stars and Coyotes are scheduled to face each other on Sunday. The Coyotes lost on Thursday and needed Dallas to lose to the Blues to have a sniff of hope.
But the Stars closed the deal. It’s what playoff teams do.