The Stars entered the last week of the NHL season with their destiny in their own hands.

The team needed just one win in its last three games to clinch the highly competitive Central Division and avoid a clash with rivals Winnipeg or Colorado in the first round.

On Saturday in its second-to-last game of the season, the Stars took care of business against the Seattle Kraken, defeating them 3-1 to clinch their first division title since the 2015-16 season. Dallas became the first team in the NHL to clinch their division.

“We want to hang more important banners than that, but proud of the guys,” Stars goalie Jake Oettinger said. “Our work over the last six months has been really impressive.”

The win sets up Dallas for a chance to secure the Western Conference regular-season title if Vancouver loses to Edmonton Saturday night or if the Stars win their final game of the regular season against St. Louis on Wednesday. Wednesday’s game could also decide the Presidents’ Trophy if the New York Rangers drop their final game Monday against the Ottawa Senators.

The Stars have not won the Western Conference regular-season crown since that same 2015-16 season. They haven’t won the Presidents’ Trophy since they won the Stanley Cup in 1998-99.

The Stars got goals from Craig Smith and Jason Robertson Saturday in the last minute of each of the first two periods to create some distance from Seattle. Miro Heiskanen had a three-point night, contributing on each of Dallas’ goals.

“You take him for granted because you ask him every night to play the minutes he plays against the players he plays, have the puck on his stick all night, and you just get used to it,” Stars head coach Pete DeBoer said of Heiskanen. “On the special nights, you realize he’s special almost every night.”

Dallas had just four shots on goal in the first period, but its last with about two seconds left in the period turned into a 1-0 lead. Smith deflected a shot by Robertson to give his team the advantage at the first intermission.

The Stars nearly took a 2-0 advantage midway through the second period when Sam Steel had a penalty shot attempt. Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak covered the puck in the crease, and the referees ruled that the whistle blew before it crossed the goal line. That set up a penalty shot for Steel, who was unable to convert. Dallas is 2-for-4 on penalty shot attempts this year.

While Dallas couldn’t capitalize on that penalty, it did on two others later in the period. The Stars went on the power play with under two minutes remaining after Ryker Evans was called for hooking Wyatt Jonston. Early in that power play, Seattle had a shorthanded breakaway, but Brandon Tanev — Chris Tanev’s brother — plowed into Oettinger and was called for goalie interference, giving Dallas 1:38 of 5-on-3.

Forty seconds later, Robertson scored. He had two points in the game, assisting on Smith’s goal.

After assisting on the first two goals, Heiskanen scored one of his own midway through the third period to put the game out of reach.

Oettinger came close to another shutout, but Seattle added a goal by Kailer Yamamoto with about five minutes to play. Oettinger made 26 saves on 27 shots.

“It’s great to play in front of him,” Heiskanen said. “He’s making great saves and saving us a little bit sometimes. When he’s having that kind of confidence, it’s easier for everyone to play in front of him.”

The win guarantees the Stars will begin the playoffs at home and host Game 7 for the first two rounds, at least. It also narrows who their first-round playoff opponent could be to just three teams. The Nashville Predators, Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights are separated by just three points.

If the postseason started today, the Stars would host Vegas in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference finals. But its opponent will officially be determined at some point in the next six days.

The Stars players have said they believe they can handle any opponent they’re assigned in the first round. After positioning themselves as a division champion and conference frontrunner, they’ve set themselves up for the best chance possible at a deep postseason run.

“It’s great, for sure, to win it, but the job is far from done,” Heiskanen said. “It’s just a first step.”

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