Jake Oettinger had the privilege of playing in front of his family and the thrill of backstopping the Dallas Stars to a clinching win in his native Minnesota.
Ryan Suter had the satisfaction of beating his former team that bought out his contract two years ago.
The Stars had all kinds of reasons to cherish this victory, including a little extra rest.
Roope Hintz got Dallas going early, Oettinger stonewalled his home-state team again and the Stars eliminated the Wild 4-1 in Game 6 of their first-round NHL playoff series on Friday night.
“I think the guys knew how important it was for both of us,” Suter said, “and everyone really stepped up and competed hard for us.”
Wyatt Johnston and Mason Marchment scored in the second period, when a burst by the Stars — swooping in for the finish — outshot the Wild 18-5. Max Domi had an empty-netter in the final minute.
Oettinger made 22 saves for the Stars, who advanced to face the Colorado-Seattle winner. The Avalanche beat the Kraken on Friday to force Game 7.
Oettinger was bidding for his second shutout of the series before Freddy Gaudreau scored for the Wild with 7:07 left.
“He’s our brick wall back there, and we trust him. Any time we make mistakes, he’s there for us,” Marchment said. “We wouldn’t be here without him.”
Filip Gustavsson, starting a fourth consecutive game for the first time in his first season with Minnesota, stopped 23 shots in two periods.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who was in net for a 7-3 loss at Dallas in Game 2, took over in the third.
The Wild fell to 5-14 on home ice in the playoffs since the last time they advanced, a first-round win over St. Louis in 2015. They are 4-13 in franchise history in postseason series.
The Stars lost in seven games in the first round to Calgary last year. With center Joe Pavelski expected back for the next round after missing the last five games with a concussion, they’re in position to make another push for the Stanley Cup Finals they reached in the 2020 pandemic bubble.