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NHL Friday review: Big wins for Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets

Young star Jason Robertson had a night to remember as the Dallas Stars gained ground in the Central Division and the Winnipeg Jets got an important win to hold off the Calgary Flames in the battle for a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

Over in the East, the Buffalo Sabres remained in contention for a Wild Card spot but face a tough task to dislodge the Pittsburgh Penguins who hold the second Wild Card position and recorded an important shut-out win. 

Boston Bruins clinched the Presidents’ Trophy and will head into the Stanley Cup Playoffs as first seed and the New Jersey Devils continued their pursuit of the Metropolitan Division title with a win over rivals New York Rangers.

Robertson shines for Stars 

23-year-old Robertson had a goal and three assists to set the Stars' single-season scoring record in a 5-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes. 

Robertson's 100th NHL goal gave Dallas a 3-2 lead and was his 94th point to surpass Mike Modano's franchise record of 93 set in 1992/93. 

With the victory, Dallas (41-20-14) pulled within one point of the Minnesota Wild for first place in the Central Division and they are +175 to win it. 

The Stars play the third-place Colorado Avalanche on Saturday who trail them by two points.

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Jets hold off Flames 

The Jets (42-31-3) beat the Detroit Red Wings 6-2 to stay two points ahead of the Flames (35-26-15) who also picked up a 5-4 win in overtime against Vancouver Canucks. 

Winnipeg snapped a two-game losing streak to move within three points of the Seattle Kraken, who have two games in hand for the first Wild Card position. 

The Flames’ victory was the first time that they had come back after trailing after two periods (1-18-3) and it was their third straight win. 

Despite suffering a 2-0 defeat to Pittsburgh the night before, Nashville Predators (37-29-8) also remain in contention for a Western Wild Card spot as they are five points behind the Jets but with two games in hand.

Sabres back in Eastern race 

The Sabres (36-31-7) toppled the in-form New York Rangers 3-2 via overtime to stay five points behind the Penguins who currently hold the second Wild Card position into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. 

Buffalo have a game in hand over Pittsburgh and get chance to close the gap on Saturday as they face the lowly Philadelphia Flyers while the Penguins face a far greater challenge against the first placed Bruins. 

The Sabres are aiming to end a record 11 season playoff drought while the Penguins are -190 to extend their record streak of post-season appearances to 17. 

Pittsburgh are three points behind the New York Islanders who hold the first Wild Card spot in the East, and they have a one-point lead and game in hand over Florida Panthers who are +160 to claim a Wild Card position. 

The Panthers are four points in front of the Sabres, but have played two games more, and so while there is plenty of work for Buffalo to do in the final couple of weeks, they at least finally have hope and are playing meaningful games in the final stretch of the season.

Bruins clinch Presidents’ 

With a 2-1 overtime victory over Columbus Blue Jackets, the Bruins clinched the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s best regular season team for a fourth time in their history. 

The win was Boston’s 58th of the season (58-12-5) which set a new franchise record and tied the most points in their history at 121. 

Boston have lost just four times at TD Garden this season (30-4-3) and the guarantee of home ice advantage makes them +300 to win the Stanley Cup this season which would be their first since 2011. 

The Bruins need four wins from their final seven games to match the all-time NHL record for most victories in a single season, first achieved by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1995/96 season and equalled by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2018/19. 

The 1976/77 Montreal Canadiens hold the record for most points in a single NHL regular season with 132, meaning Boston need 11 from the remaining 14 to tie.

Devils impress in Metro 

The Devils (47-20-8) extended their lead over the Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division to four points, defeating them 2-1 on Thursday. 

Netminder Vitek Vanecek made 24 saves for the Devils, who are +260 to win the Metro now that they are just one point behind the first place Carolina Hurricanes, who have one game in hand, with seven games remaining. 

Vanecek (30-10-4) became the first Devils goalie to win 30 games in a season since Hockey Hall of Fame member Martin Brodeur in 2011/12. Brodeur had 30 or more wins 14 times. 

The Devils have already clinched a Stanley Cup Playoff position, ending a four-year absence from the post-season and they are +1000 to be crowned champions which last happened in 2003 with Brodeur in net.

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