Seguin hits 40, Stars top Wild 4-1 with playoff hopes fading
DALLAS (AP) — Tyler Seguin’s first 40-goal season likely will end with the Dallas Stars missing the playoffs for the second straight year.
And the win that came with the high-scoring forward’s personal milestone is a little too late for their dwindling postseason hopes.
Seguin’s empty-netter in the final minute put him at 40 after John Klingberg scored a goal while adding to his NHL-leading assist total for defensemen in a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
Jason Spezza scored a goal for the first time since Jan. 16 as the Stars won for just the second time in 11 games — a slide that wiped out any realistic playoff hopes and left their fate in the hands of St. Louis, Anaheim and Colorado.
Seguin was the sudden star at the end of the home finale when his shot from behind his own blue line made him the third Dallas player to reach 40 goals in a season on the night that the first, franchise icon Mike Modano, dropped the ceremonial first puck as part of the club celebrating 25 years in Texas.
“What he’s done this year I’m really proud of him,” said goalie Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 33 shots. “He’s taken a role as a complete 200-foot player. I didn’t even know it was the first time. I feel like he does something like that every year.”
The Wild, still holding the third playoff spot in the Central Division and in solid wild-card shape with four games remaining, lost the second of a home-and-home set two nights after beating the Stars 5-2 in Minnesota.
Minnesota’s season-best seven-game point streak ended in the sixth straight game that the Wild gave up the first goal.
“You can’t keep giving up leads, letting the other team score the first goal and expect to win every time,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s hard to keep pace in the game.”
Seguin and Jamie Benn assisted on Klingberg’s eighth of the season for a 2-0 lead in the second period.
Klingberg had his career-best 56th assist on the first-period goal by Spezza, who took a pass from Alexander Radulov ahead of the defense before his shot from close range trickled under the right left of Devan Dubnyk, who had 32 saves.
The Wild are still in good shape with 96 points but could use another win to erase any doubt.
“We don’t want to start thinking about the situation down the road,” Dubnyk said. “We’ve done a good job not doing that all year, so now’s not the time to start doing it.”
Radek Faksa scored short-handed for Dallas 19 seconds into the third period, but Zach Parise answered with a power-play goal 70 seconds later. The Stars’ Remi Elie had taken a holding penalty late in the second.
Mikael Granlund topped last season’s career high with his 44th assist on Parise’s goal.
NOTES: Wild D Ryan Suter went off with a lower-body injury late in the second period. He wasn’t using his right leg as he was helped through the tunnel to the locker room. “I hope it’s not as bad as it looked when he was coming off,” Boudreau said. ... Spezza has eight goals in 75 games. His previous low when playing at least 75 games was 22 goals in 2003-04, the 34-year-old’s first full season in the NHL.
Wild: Final home game of the regular season Monday against Edmonton.
Stars: Start of season-ending three-game West Coast trip Tuesday at San Jose.
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