Stars defeat Lightning, gain in Central playoff race


TAMPAJoe Pavelski had two goals and two assists when the Dallas Stars defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 at Amalie Arena on Friday.

Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists for the Stars (22-18-14), who are two points behind the Nashville Predators for fourth place in the eight-team Discover Central Division with two games remaining. Anton Khudobin made 26 saves.

Curtis McElhinney made 26 saves for the Lightning (36-14-3), who lost in regulation for the first time in their past eight games (6-1-1).

The Lightning loss meant the Carolina Hurricanes clinched the Central title. Tampa Bay will play the Florida Panthers in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

The Panthers and Lightning are tied for second place in the division. They will play a two-game set at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. on Saturday and Monday that will determine home ice. 

Jamie Oleksiak gave the Stars a 1-0 lead at 5:50 of the first period when he punched in a shot from close range.

Pavelski extended the lead to 2-0 at 5:17 of the second period when he took a lead pass from Hintz after coming out of the penalty box and beat McElhinney on a breakaway. 

Blake Coleman made it 2-1 at 11:11 of the second period with his sixth goal in the past eight games.

Pavelski made it 3-1 at 13:05 of the period when he chipped in a pass from Hintz in the low slot. Hintz pushed the lead to 4-1 at 19:45 of the period with a goal on a mini-breakaway set up by Joel Kiviranta.

Kiviranta made it 5-1 at 3:49 of the third period on a put back in front of the net

Alex Barre-Boulet scored on a power play for the Lightning at 8:29 of the third period to make it 5-2.

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