VANCOUVER -- Jamie Benn scored late in the third period, and  the Dallas Stars clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Thursday.

Benn scored the go-ahead goal at 16:52 to make it 2-1, one-timing a Joe Pavelski pass in the slot past the glove of Casey DeSmith on the power play. 

Jason Robertson scored an empty-net goal at 17:57 for the 3-1 final.

“That's six months of hard work, starting in training camp, in a tough, competitive League with a lot of parity and a lot of good teams,” Dallas coach Pete DeBoer said. “A lot of heavy lifting to get to this point today to be playing in an important game with nine games left, and we talked about that: Where else would you want to be but playing for first place in the conference down the stretch?”

Benn also had an assist to extend his point streak to eight games (seven goals, five assists) for the Stars (46-19-9), who became the first team from the Western Conference to secure a spot in the playoffs. Roope Hintz had a goal and two assists, and Jake Oettinger made 27 saves.

“That's playoff mentality hockey,” Benn said. “Not much room out there, pretty tight both ways, but those are what we're going to see here moving forward and I think that's definitely what our group needed. … We found a way to get two points. I guess clinching is just a little bit of a cherry on top.”

DAL@VAN: Benn extends goal-scoring streak to six games with PPG

Dallas has won six straight games, outscoring opponents 26-11 during the stretch.

“It felt like a playoff game,” Oettinger said. “They're a great team obviously over there, they've been one of the best teams in the League all year and just not a lot of flaws on that team, so just a good measuring stick, and obviously we know what's at stake. So, just to get a gritty win like that is huge.”

J.T. Miller scored, and DeSmith made 30 saves for the Canucks (45-20-8), who have lost two straight games when a win would have clinched a playoff berth.

“Every game is supposed to be hard,” Miller said. “We talked about them being one-goal games the rest of the way, and they have been the last few weeks. And we’re playing playoff teams. And basically, it all comes down to special teams, which is how it works in the playoffs sometimes.”

Vancouver finished 0-for-4 on the power play. Dallas was 2-for-6.

“Special teams were really good,” said Pavelski, who had two assists. “The [penalty kill] led the way, and we found a couple on the power play. It's good to see us execute late in the game with an opportunity to take the lead.”

Hintz put the Stars ahead 1-0 with a power-play goal at 18:48 of the first period, tapping in his own rebound at the left post off a cross-crease pass from Robertson. Benn had the secondary assist on the goal for his 900th NHL point.

“Not much,” Benn said when asked what it meant to reach the mark. “I like the two points better.”

Oettinger said it meant something to the rest of the Stars, especially coming in Benn’s home province of British Columbia, with friends and family in the stands.

“That's a huge deal,” Oettinger said. “He's the worst guy in the world taking compliments and accolades and stuff, but he's a [heck] of a player, an even better person and even if he doesn't care, we all are really happy for him. He's a special player and obviously the leader of this group, he's probably got a lot of family here and to get a W in this building, it was just a great night for him.”

Miller tied it 1-1 at 7:39 of the second period with a one-timer from the left face-off circle off spinning backhand pass from Conor Garland below the goal line.

“It was a hard-fought game,” Miller said. “At the end of the day, they were probably able to execute on their special teams a little better than we were.”

Canucks coach Rick Tocchet wasn’t happy with how many penalties his team took.

“I thought they were careless penalties,” Tocchet said. “Guys will be disappointed. You’re looking for somebody to make a play or maybe a little more discipline. Maybe that’s the difference in the game. These games are coin flips.”

NOTES: Benn has 901 points (380 goals, 521 assists) in 1,104 NHL games, all with the Stars. … Oettinger has won four straight games since being pulled after allowing four goals on 10 shots against the New Jersey Devils on March 14. … Canucks forward Dakota Joshua had one shot and six hits in 15:47 of ice time in his first game back after missing 18 with an upper-body injury.