The Stars needed this one.
Before Friday night’s game, Jim Montgomery’s team trailed the Wild by a single point in the NHL standings.
Minnesota hadn’t played a game since Jan. 23.
Dallas, meanwhile, claimed a 1-0 win over the Sabres in the team’s first game back from the All-Star break on Wednesday night.
For most of this game, the home team looked loose, while the road team looked a tad sluggish
For the second straight game, Dallas produced a quality first period that included a number of solid scoring chances. In total, the Stars held an 11-5 shot advantage after the initial frame.
But unlike the 1-0 lead the team built two days ago, Friday night’s first period at the American Airlines Center ended in a 0-0 tie.
In the end, the Stars prevailed 3-1. In the process, they reclaimed third place in the Central Division standings.
These two teams split their two previous matchups.
But entering play on Friday, the Stars were a lackluster 5-6-1 against opponents from the Central Division.
The Stars still have a combined eight games remaining against the Wild, Avalanche, Jets and Predators. And the divisional format of the NHL playoffs ensure that those teams will be waiting come May.
The Stars have struggled to solve Devan Dubnyk before.
Early on, it looked like the goalie was once again occupying significant real estate within the heads of Dallas’ shooters.
A few minutes into the second period, though, semi-recent trade acquisition Andrew Cogliano was able to tip a Roman Polak shot through Dubnyk and into the back of the net. It was his first goal in Dallas uniform.
The Wild later tied it on a powerplay goal (Cogliano was deservedly charged with a double minor for high sticking) in the second period.
Finally, after pushing, pulling and stretching Dubynk all night long, it was the Stars’ 30th shot on net that finally cracked him and the game.
With under eight minutes to play Tyler Seguin blasted a puck near the right circle that muscled its way through the five hole of Dubnyk and dribbled over the goal line.
Seguin added an empty netter with 23 seconds to go in the third to cement the victory.
The Stars are now 2-0 since returning from the All-Star break and have won three in a row.
There won’t be much time to celebrate, as this group must face the second-place Predators on Saturday night before returning home to face the Coyotes on Monday night in Dallas.