– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
DALLAS — Because of its depth of quality teams of the past few seasons, almost every matchup between any of the two teams in the Central Division of the National Hockey League can act as a Stanley Cup Playoffs rehearsal. On Friday night, Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin auditioned successfully as a potential playoff hero.
Seguin scored twice in the third period to lead Dallas to a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild, the Stars’ third win in a row. The win leapfrogged the Stars ahead of the Wild to third place in the ultra- competitive Central Division as both teams frantically try to position themselves in the Western Conference playoff race.
“These are the kind of games that get you ready for the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs,” said Seguin, who leads the team with 20 goals this season. “That’s what we say about the Central Division. Everyone talks about it’s got to be the hardest division in the League, if not in sports.”
With the game tied at 1-1, Seguin took a pass from teammate Mattias Janmark before his slap shot trickled under Minnesota goalkeeper Devyn Dubnyk and into the net to give Dallas the lead with 7:42 remaining.
“I saw the puck coming,” said Dubnyk, who made 29 saves in the loss. “I went straight down. I didn’t pull up. I didn’t open up. It’s a save you need to make. Obviously, you want to come up with that save in a 1-1 game.”
Seguin, who added an empty-net goal with 24 seconds remaining, took over the game in the third after the Stars were frustratingly held to a 1-1 stalemate after the first two periods despite holding a 25-12 shot advantage.
“I thought after 40 minutes, we deserved to win that game,” Seguin said.