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Top Line: Stars complete playoff picture; Captain Canada calls it quits; more links

The Dallas Stars snapped a six-year playoff drought with a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday. The Dallas Stars snapped a six-year playoff drought with a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday. (LM Otero/AP)

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:

• It was fitting that Trevor Daley, the only player remaining from Dallas' last playoff team, scored the goal that clinched a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues and returned the Stars to the postseason for the first time since 2008. And what a game that was by Tyler Seguin: 11 shots, 16 attempts, a breathtaking power play goal and a relentless defensive effort. Easily the best I've seen him play as a pro.

• Clinching a playoff berth might finally allow the Stars to move on from the past and boldly into the future.

• The loss was the fifth straight for a St. Louis team that is falling apart at the worst possible time. Injuries are killing the Blues. They could have as many as seven regulars out of the lineup for this weekend's finale.

Ryan Smyth, who announced his retirement Friday night after 18 seasons in the NHL, will be remembered for a tireless work ethic and some of the best flow hockey has ever seen.

• He retires as an Oiler, but Smyth will always be Captain Canada.

• Matt Larkin makes the case for an Alexander Ovechkin/Evgeni Malkin trade...and it's not anywhere near as crazy as it sounds.

• Ronnie Shuker made the Rangers his preseason pick to win the Stanley Cup. And nothing he's seen has changed his mind.

• If the Flyers are going to make a Stanley Cup playoff run, they'll have to end an alarming late-season trend.

• Brendan Shanahan would be a lot more valuable to the talent-starved Maple Leafs if he were still wearing skates, writes David Shoalts.

• Michael Grange thinks Shanny should dive head-first into analytics and hire 100 more scouts if he's serious about changing the organizational culture in Toronto.

The whole culture change thing has worked out pretty well in Colorado. And the guy who deserves the credit might not be the one you'd expect.

• Eric Duhatschek sees the Colorado Avalanche as the big winners when the NHL hands out the hardware in June. Can't say I'd argue with any of his choices, although his Norris pick might be more of a career achievement nod than a recognition of this year's body of work alone.

• Best of luck to the great Chico Resch, who announced he'll retire after New Jersey's season finale. Guess we'll have to figure out what to eat without him now.

• Pete DeBoer made the right choice of starter for New Jersey's final game of the season.

• The Minnesota Wild are dealing with a mess of injuries, but a 6-0-1 run proves the value of focusing on how they're playing rather than who is playing.

• There are lots of juicy questions to be answered in Winnipeg, including what to do about Evander Kane, Ondrej Pavelec and an interim coach who looked like a genius once but not so much anymore.

Jack Johnson did his best Scott Stevens impression with this hit on Ondrej Palat. What a beauty.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRnyJsV0juA

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