The Dallas Stars defeated the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night. As a result, Dallas has clinched the top spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference. They will face the second-wild card team coming out of the West in the opening round. And they may want to buy goalie Jake Oettinger a nice steak dinner to thank him for his efforts.

Oettinger saved 25 of the 26 shots he faced in the win over St. Louis. That performance alone deserves a ton of credit. However, he made his biggest save in overtime. The Blues had the Stars puck-stopper out of position, a yawning cage waiting to be scored on. But Oettinger made a casually ridiculous save to keep his team in the contest.

Stars down Blues

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger (29) makes a blocker save on a shot by the St. Louis Blues during the first period at the American Airlines Center.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Stars and Blues played an incredibly close game on Wednesday night. St. Louis had nothing to play for, having already been eliminated from playoff contention. Still, they refused to give Dallas an easy victory in their final game of the 2023-24 NHL season.

In fact, it was the Blues who opened the scoring on Wednesday. After a scoreless opening frame, Robert Thomas connected for his 26th goal of the season. St. Louis kept Dallas off the board in the second period, as well. Entering the third, the Stars needed something if they wanted to pull out a victory.

In the final stanza, they got what they needed. Forward Mason Marchment scored his 22nd goal of the campaign a little over five minutes into the period to tie the game. From then on, Jake Oettinger and Jordan Binnginton closed the door for their respective teams.

Both goalies continued to stand tall in the overtime period, as well. The game went to the shootout, where the Stars finally broke through. Jason Robertson scored to give his team the advantage. And that goal was all they needed. Oettinger stoned the Blues in the shootout to claim the important second point.

Best in the West

Jake Oettinger and the Stars are headed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We know that their matchup will take place against the Western Conference's second wild card team. However, we still don't know who that team is at this time.

There are two potential opponents the Stars can prepare for. First, Dallas may take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights in the opening round. The Stars met Vegas in the Western Conference Final last season, falling in six games.

Another possibility is that the Stars take on the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. If this happened, it'd mark the first time that the Stars and Kings have met in the postseason in their current iterations. The Kings faced the organization in the 1968 playoffs, but they were the Minnesota North Stars at that time.

In any event, the Stars are certainly gearing up for another deep playoff run. Jake Oettinger gave his team a ton of momentum heading into the postseason. Now, it's time to see what they do with it once the first round begins this weekend.