Dallas Stars look to dull the Buffalo Sabres on Jason Robertson bobblehead night

The Dallas Stars can clinch the Central Division tonight with a win against the Buffalo Sabres. They also need the Avalanche and the Jets to lose, but it doesn't matter if they don't win. Here are the three keys of the game tonight against the Sabres.
Apr 7, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Dallas Stars center Wyatt Johnston (53) (left) celebrates his
Apr 7, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Dallas Stars center Wyatt Johnston (53) (left) celebrates his / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars take on the team that they beat back in 1999 to win the Stanley Cup. They will take on the Buffalo Sabres tonight at the American Airlines Center to kick off their final homestand this season. It's a bobblehead night, so arrive early to the game to receive one. Expect things to get chippy on the ice since the Stars will be fighting to clinch the Central Division title. They can clinch it tonight with a win and losses by the Colorado Avalanche and the Winnipeg Jets. It would be the Star's first divisional title since 2015-16.

The Stars have to treat this game like it's game 1 of the first round of the playoffs. The Sabres would like to do nothing more than keep the Avalanche in the hunt for the Central Division. Once the Stars clinch the division, it would be a great time to rest key players for the remainder of the season. A well-rested team will do wonders for Dallas in the first round, regardless of who they play. Seeing which veterans get a night off will be interesting. Here are the three keys of the game tonight against the Sabres.

Dallas Stars vs. Buffalo Sabres: 3. Take it to them

One way to get warmed up for the playoffs tonight is by being aggressive and taking it to the Sabres. That means being aggressive in the first period inside the Sabres' zone. The Stars did a good job of that in Denver the other night against the Avalanche. While they didn't get the immediate results from being aggressive early, it showed up later on the scoresheet. You might as well practice that for the remainder of the regular season. If the Stars can be aggressive like they were in Denver Sunday night, they can beat the Sabres at home.

Dallas Stars vs. Buffalo Sabres: 2. Shut down Tage Thompson

For the Stars to have a shot at winning the game tonight, they must shut down Tage Thompson. He is their leading scorer this season with 29 goals and 26 assists. He is a crafty hockey player who loves to set up his linemates as well. He's going to be very aggressive against the Stars tonight in the Stars' zone. The Stars defenseman must be ready to slow him down and disrupt any chance of him setting up goals. If the Stars can shut down Thompson tonight, they should beat the Sabres easily.

Dallas Stars vs. Buffalo Sabres: 1. Win to clinch the division

If the Minnesota Wild and the Nashville Predators can't win tonight, that's fine with the Stars fanbase. The Stars need to win to take one step further toward clinching the Central Division tonight. If the Stars win the next two games, including tonight, they will win the division. They need to focus on the task at hand tonight by winning the game and not worrying about other results. If the Stars focus on winning their game tonight and not the other games, they should win the Central Division this week