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With division title on the line, Stars host struggling Flyers

Mar 28, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (91) celebrates his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks with teammates during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

With a playoff spot clinched, the Dallas Stars can shift their focus on attaining the best possible position for the postseason.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers look to finish another disappointing season on a positive note.

Eying a Central Division title, the host Stars will aim for a fourth win in five games while trying to send the Flyers to their second nine-game road losing streak of the season when the teams meet on Thursday night.

With Monday’s 5-1 home thrashing of Nashville, Dallas (42-21-14, 98 points) clinched a second straight playoff berth. The Stars are also tied with Colorado and Minnesota for first place in the Central with five games remaining.

“It’s been a good year,” veteran Tyler Seguin told the Stars’ official website. “It’s fun to be in this race for first place in the division.

“It’s been many years grinding just to get that wild-card spot. … Things are a little different this year.”

Dallas has scored 30 goals during its 5-2-1 stretch, and a victory Thursday would give the franchise 100 points for the first time since 2015-16. Jason Robertson has been a major reason for the Stars’ success over these last two seasons.

With a goal and three assists on Monday, Robertson has a career-high 101 points. That marks the most points in a single season in franchise history, passing Mike Modano, who posted 93 in 1993-94. Robertson also has two goals and eight assists in the last three games.

“He’s so gifted at producing and shooting, and just making players around him better,” Seguin said of Robertson.

Robertson posted a goal with an assist, while Joe Pavelski had one goal and two assists, during Dallas’ 5-1 win at Philadelphia on Nov. 13. The Stars have outscored the Flyers 23-7 during a five-game winning streak in this series.

Mired in an 0-3-1 rut during which it has allowed 19 goals, Philadelphia (29-35-13, 71 points) is limping to the finish of a third consecutive season without a playoff appearance. Following Tuesday’s 4-2 defeat at St. Louis, the Flyers have been outscored 35-13 during their current 0-7-1 road slide.

Philadelphia, which went 0-4-5 on the road from Nov. 10-Dec. 13, continues to push for pride despite the circumstances.

“The guys continue to play all the way through the full 60 (minutes),” Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk said.

“Obviously, sometimes, maybe, execution-wise, we’re not quite there. For the most part, I would say, there’s a lot of times where you wouldn’t really blame it on anything other than (that lack of execution).”

While the Flyers continue to struggle, center Morgan Frost continues his career season with 19 goals and 24 assists. With a goal on Tuesday, Frost has six goals and six assists in his last nine contests.

With Carter Hart (2.90 goals-against average) bothered by a lower-body issue that’s kept him out since March 25, Philadelphia’s Samuel Ersson has allowed six goals in the last two games since being called up from the AHL. Meanwhile, teammate Felix Sandstrom has yielded 11 goals in losing his last two outings.

Dallas’ Jake Oettinger stopped 37 shots at Philadelphia this season and has a 2.03 GAA while winning three of his last four starts. Teammate Scott Wedgewood (2.81 GAA) made 26 saves Monday in his return from a lower-body injury. He hadn’t played since Feb. 18.

–Field Level Media

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