DALLAS (AP) — Rookie center Wyatt Johnston scored his 24th goal, goalie Jake Oettinger posted another shutout and the Dallas Stars then had to wait another day to find out if they would win the Central Division title.
The Stars will go into the playoffs on a six-game winning streak after beating St. Louis 1-0 in their regular-season finale Thursday night.
Dallas (47-21-14) finished with 108 points, one ahead of Colorado for the division lead. The Avalanche won their home finale 4-2 over Winnipeg just minutes after the Stars finished, then still had a makeup game to play Friday night at Nashville.
“We took care of our business, did what we had to do,” first-year Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “You know, if you can’t win the division with 108 points, hats off to Colorado. We’ll take whoever we end up having to play.”
St. Louis (37-38-7) was already eliminated from the playoff contention, but the loss in its finale also snapped the franchise record of consecutive winning seasons at 14. The Blues hadn’t had a losing season since 2007-08. The NH’s longest active streak is Pittsburgh’s 17 in a row, though the Penguins missed the playoffs as well.
“Two teams that were trying to find all the energy they could have,” Stars center Tyler Seguin said. “I mean, it felt like a playoff games, especially in the third how they were coming at us with nothing left to lose early in their season, and just playing proud, and respect that. We haven’t had one of these in a little while, tight 1-0 game, so it was great.”
It was the first 1-0 victory this season for the Stars, and only the second one-goal game in their winning streak. They beat Western Conference-leading Vegas 2-1 in a shootout, but won the other four games by at least three goals.
Oettinger had 25 saves for his fifth shutout of the season. He stopped four shots in the final two minutes when St. Louis pulled its goalie for an extra skater.
The 19-year-old Johnston, who played all 82 games, initially took a shot that deflected off a skate before Evgenii Dadonov’s had a shot that ricocheted off the right post. Johnston knocked the rebound past Jordan Binnington 3:45 into the third period for his third goal in two nights against the Blues.
“The bounce obviously went my way and just kind of popped out right to me,” Johnston said.
“Yeah, really nothing really could do about that one,” Blues coach Craig Berube said.
Johnston’s 24 goals are the most of a Stars rookie since James Neal also had 24 in 2008-09. He has the most goals for a teenager in the franchise since Mike Modano’s 29 as a 19-year-old rookie in 1989-90.
Binnington stopped 33 shots while playing in his 61st game, a single-season career high. He withstood several flurries of shots, including in the opening minutes when he turned away a short-hander.
NOTES: Stars forward Mason Marchment played for the first time since March 13 after missing 14 games with a lower body injury. Coach Pete DeBoer said it was “a chance to get his timing, get some contact, get all those things you can’t replicate in practice. .. .It’s an important step for him.” … The 108 points for Dallas is its most since 109 in 2015-16, the only other time since 2006-07 with more than 100 points.
Blues: Season done after missing the playoffs for only the second time in 12 years.
“It’s tough,” Berube said. “We’ve got a lot of expectations here. And, you know, not making the playoffs, it’s not good.”
Stars: Will open the playoffs at home early next week.