Are the Dallas Stars a wagon? At least one person thinks so: Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar.

In a battle of the Western Conference's two best teams, it was the Stars that came out on top on Sunday night, beating the Avs 7-4 to solidify their position at the top of the Central Division.

And Peter DeBoer's team earned high praise from the opposing bench boss afterwards.

“That's a different animal than some of the teams we've been playing,” Bednar said, according to The Associated Press. “They're a wagon. They're deep.”

Objectively, the Stars and Avalanche are two of the best teams in the National Hockey League. But right now, the Texas-based franchise looks to be a step ahead.

“The defending breakdowns we had, we did some dumb stuff today,” Bednar continued. “They all lead to really good scoring chances against.”

Tyler Seguin scored twice in the winning effort on Sunday, while D-man Thomas Harley assisted on all three of the team's powerplay tallies in the contest. Now with 107 points, the Stars control their own destiny as they look to win the Western Conference in 2024.

“It's completely in our hands, which is nice,” forward Matt Duchene said after scoring a goal against his former team. “If we take care of business, we'll end up being where we want to be.”

“I think both teams have had this game circled for a little bit,” echoed Seguin on the importance of the tilt. “We're at that time of the year where you're just kind of watching the standings and knew the importance of tonight's game. So, pretty good hockey game.”

Stars keep on rolling at perfect time

Dallas Stars center Wyatt Johnston (53) (left) celebrates his goal with teammates in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The question as to whether or not the Stars are a wagon is a pretty easy one to answer at this point. After winning nine of their last 10 games, Dallas is up to a sparkling 49-20-9, with a three-point cushion on the second-place Vancouver Canucks in the West.

The Stars have lost just once since March 15, and have at least a decent chance to win all of their final four games — locking up home-ice advantage for the first three rounds in the process.

In 2023, Dallas came within two wins of its first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 2020. After beating the Minnesota Wild (in six) and Seattle Kraken (in a thrilling Game 7), the Stars battled back from a 3-0 deficit against the Vegas Golden Knights before eventually bowing out in Game 6 of the WCF.

It was still an encouraging run for a core that is hungry for a championship, and the roster looks like one of the most complete in the league down the stretch.

Although the Stars finished the season just 1-2-1 against the Avalanche, they certainly looked like the superior team on Sunday night. And there's a chance these teams could be meeting in the second-round for the second time in five years.

Dallas is back in action when the Buffalo Sabres visit American Airlines Centre on Tuesday night. And with three of their last four games against non-playoff opponents, the Stars are well-positioned to finish at the top of the Western Conference come April 18.