SEATTLE (AP) — Two games in three days against the same opponent in the same town gave the Dallas Stars a little taste of what could be coming in the playoffs.
The Stars look more than ready for the postseason to arrive, especially after an impressive sweep in Seattle that kept Dallas on top in the Central Division.
Jason Robertson scored his 39th goal of the season, the last of three power-play goals by Dallas, and the Stars beat the Seattle Kraken 5-2 on Monday night for their sixth win in seven games.
Robertson’s goal came in the opening seconds of the third period and gave Dallas a three-goal lead. Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists and Miro Heisknaen had three assists as Dallas strengthened its lead on top of the division.
“I think our execution, our passes were pretty crispy,” Robertson said of the Stars’ power play. “Our movement, trying to be unpredictable, they’re guys moving all around the place.”
The Stars swept the two games in three days against the Kraken and moved three points in front of Minnesota with 15 games left in the regular season.
“It was an important four points. You look at the standings and we’re in a fight for first in the division, first in the conference. They’re in a battle for playoff positioning. They’ve been playing great all year,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said. “So this was a real test for us coming in here for two games and I thought our group really responded.”
Evgenii Dadonov, Joe Pavelski and Wyatt Johnston also scored for Dallas. Jake Oettinger made 26 saves for Dallas.
Yanni Gourde and Eeli Tolvanen scored for Seattle, but the problem for the Kraken was their penalty kill. Seattle entered the game having killed 31 of the previous 32 power-play opportunities by its opponents, only to watch the Stars go 3 for 4 with the man advantage.
“Bottom line, we didn’t get job done. At the end of the day that’s what matters,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “There’s a couple there that we made mistakes on with where our positioning was, where our sticks are.”
Dadonov and Benn scored inside the first six minutes to give Dallas a 2-0 lead, and Pavelski’s power-play goal early in the second period made it 3-1.
The turning point came midway through the second period after Tolvanen scored his 14th of the season and 12th since joining the Kraken to pull Seattle to 3-2. Just 14 seconds after the goal, Johnston outworked Daniel Sprong for a loose puck and caught Seattle goaltender Martin Jones out of position for his 17th goal and a 4-2 Dallas lead.
“I was lucky enough to get it around the goalie and get it in as I was falling,” Johnston said.
Jones made 27 saves and looked uneasy at times making his first start in 11 days.
Seattle lost for the fifth time in its past six home games and dropped to 16-14-4 at home on the season. While the Kraken are poised to make the playoffs in their second season, their struggles at home may end up being the deciding factor in whether Seattle enters the postseason as one of the top three in the Pacific Division or a wild card.
“We’ve been a group that’s been able to turn the page and go back to the next job at hand,” Hakstol said. “This group has to be able to do that again.”
NOTES: Dallas F Tyler Seguin missed his second straight game after suffering a cut on his left leg last week against Buffalo. Seguin is expected to be out for a couple of weeks. … Seattle’s Vince Dunn had two assists and extended his point streak to 10 games, the longest active streak in the league.
Stars: At Vancouver on Tuesday night.
Kraken: At San Jose on Thursday night.