DALLAS (AP) Jason Robertson beat the first-period buzzer while scoring twice and the Dallas Stars kept pace in the tight Central Division playoff race with a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
Joe Pavelski had a goal and two assists to get to 999 career points and Colin Miller scored as the Stars reached 100 points and stayed even with defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado on a night that started with Minnesota also in a three-way logjam atop the Central.
The Avalanche routed San Jose 6-2, while the Wild dropped two points back with a 4-1 loss at Pittsburgh. Colorado has a game in hand on the Stars and Wild, but Dallas owns the tiebreaker against both teams with more regulation wins.
“You work all year to try to get the best seeding possible,” Pavelski said. “It’s tight right now, so you’re still going. It gives us something to play for and stay sharp. All those things hopefully can help us build to being ready.”
Kevin Hayes prevented Jake Oettinger's fifth shutout of the season with his 18th goal in the second period. The Dallas goalie had 24 saves in the Flyers' fourth consecutive regulation loss.
The Stars, 6-2-1 in their past nine games, were in control by early in the second period despite being without their second-leading goal-scorer in Roope Hintz, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
In his first game since becoming the first Dallas player with 100 points in a season, Robertson pushed his goal total to 45. The 23-year-old All-Star is up to 103 points.
The Stars were on a power play in the final seconds of a scoreless first period when Robertson ended up with the puck 1-on-2 on a broken play. His first shot to beat the clock ricocheted off Nick Seeler's skate right back to him, and the second got past Seeler and goalie Carter Hart with 1.3 seconds left.
“Played a good first period, got really unlucky at the end,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said. “Kept playing. That is the No. 1 priority no matter what the score is because I want our team to keep playing, and we did.”
Pavelski's 26th came on another power play 64 seconds into the second period when Miro Heiskanen's shot clipped the blades of both Jamie Benn and Pavelski. Heiskanen's 58th assist of the season was his 200th career point.
Miller scored from the high slot, and Robertson’s 45th capped Dallas' three-goal second period for a 4-0 lead when Pavelski stole the puck behind the net and fed it to Robertson in front.
“We took care of business,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “I didn't like our start, but I thought we kind of reset, came out the second period, took control of the game. It was an important two points.”
Pavelski seemed to prefer to wait until he actually reached 1,000 points before talking about it, and also thought he might have gotten credit for a phantom assist. There was a scoring change during the first-period intermission on Robertson's first goal, and the 38-year-old joined Tyler Seguin with assists on the tally.
“I've still got to get there. Still got to get there,” said Pavelski, who is on a season-high five-game goal streak and has 49 assists. “You don't think about those things early on. Even after you do establish yourself, you're still trying to build your game.”
For his career, Pavelski is at 447 goals and 552 assists.
Flyers: A four-game trip ends Saturday at the New York Islanders.
Stars: West-leading Vegas visits Saturday.
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