April 8 – The Dallas Stars can close in on the Central Division title when they host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

The Stars (49-20-9, 107 points) have begun to pull away atop the division, holding a five-point edge over the second-place Colorado Avalanche and seven on the third-place Winnipeg Jets.

Dallas widened the gap Sunday with a 7-4 road win against Colorado. The Stars and Avalanche each have four games remaining while the Jets have five.

“It’s completely in our hands, which is nice,” Stars forward Matt Duchene said. “If we take care of business, we’ll end up being where we want to be.”

The Stars also lead the way atop the Western Conference, sitting five points ahead of the Vancouver Canucks entering Monday, and are in the mix for the Presidents’ Trophy, awarded to the No. 1 team in the NHL overall. They’re three points behind the league-leading New York Rangers.

Dallas has gotten there thanks to a torrid run over the past 5 1/2 weeks, going 14-3-0 since Feb. 29. They’ve enjoyed two lengthy winning streaks over that stretch, with a five-game run from Feb. 29 through March 9 and rattling off eight straight — all in regulation — from March 16 through April 3.

Jamie Benn has been leading the offense during their current run, with 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in those 17 games. His 12 goals are tied with Wyatt Johnston for most by a Stars player during that stretch and includes a team-best three game-winning goals.

The Dallas captain enters Tuesday’s tilt on a three-game point streak, including tallies in three straight. He has been held off the scoresheet only twice during the Stars’ current run.

“He’s been unbelievable as of late,” Duchene said. “He was pretty snake-bitten for probably two-thirds, three-quarters of the year, and I think he’s got like eight or nine goals in his last eight or nine games.”

The Sabres (37-36-5, 79 points) arrive in Dallas on the heels of a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. Buffalo had a chance to pull within two points of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot but instead finds itself five points out with four games remaining and five teams to jump.

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