The same issues that pushed the Wild to the brink of elimination also ended their season.
A meek power play led by an underwhelming offense was upstaged by the Stars 4-1 on Friday night in front of 19,389 at Xcel Energy Center to knock the Wild out of the playoffs.
This is the seventh consecutive opening series they've lost. They haven't advanced past the first round since 2015.
"It's just frustrating every year when it ends like this," captain Jared Spurgeon said.
Dallas goalie and Lakeville native Jake Oettinger remained the MVP of the series, his 23 stops coming after the 27-save shutout he pitched in Game 5.
He nearly blanked the Wild twice; Frederick Gaudreau's backhander in tight with 7 minutes, 7 seconds to go in the third period ended Oettinger's shutout streak at 114:06. But he was airtight the rest of the way to help send the Stars to the second round. Dallas will face either Colorado or Seattle.
"The best player, period, in the series," Wild coach Dean Evason said.
In front of Oettinger, opportunistic Stars scorers continued to outplay the Wild: Dallas' first shot from Roope Hintz in the first period extinguished the Wild's early momentum before a two-goal second period from Wyatt Johnston and Mason Marchment widened a lead the Stars protected with bubble wrap.
Hintz's five goals, seven assists and 12 points in Round 1 led the series, his production dwarfing the Wild's top point-getters by seven points.
"Good goalie, good defending and some poor finishing by us," Mats Zuccarello said.
As expected, the Wild were urgent from the first drop of the puck, and they were almost rewarded for their desperation.
A deflected puck bounced right to Ryan Hartman but just as he went to stuff it behind Oettinger into an empty net, former Wild defenseman Ryan Suter jabbed his stick into the crease and Hartman's attempt caromed off the post.
"There's really nothing more I could have done besides obviously put it in," Hartman said. "But it's a rolling puck that just bounces."
Seconds later, Dallas went the other way, with Hintz cutting around the Wild's John Klingberg before roofing the puck over goaltender Filip Gustavsson at 6:22.
That was the series in a nutshell, the Wild whiffing on their opportunities to take control while the Stars didn't miss.
"Did they score on their chances and we didn't?" Evason said. "Of course."
Another case in point? The Wild's power play.
They had two looks later in the first period to recover but were denied on both tries. The Wild finished the series 4-for-22; Dallas went 9-for-24. Only two of those power plays came in Game 6, the Wild cutting back on their trips to the penalty box the only significant improvement they made from their earlier losses.
"We had to be better on the power play," Evason said.
What didn't get better was the Wild's pressure against Oettinger.
That actually worsened in the second, the Stars outshooting the Wild 11-0 to begin the period and 18-5 overall.
Johnston sliced a one-timer through blown Wild coverage at 13:37 before a buzzer-beater breakaway by Marchment, the goal on the same shift as Zuccarello's wind-up from dangerous range that missed the net.
Earlier in the period, the Wild also faced Oettinger after he lost his stick, but their shot sailed into the netting.
"It's a tough hill," Evason said.
Gustavsson (23 saves) was replaced by Marc-Andre Fleury for the third period, Fleury totaling six saves in relief during his first appearance since he started Game 2. Matt Dumba didn't play the third period, leaving with an upper-body injury. Max Domi capitalized into an empty net with 57 seconds left, the exclamation point on an all-too-familiar outcome for the Wild, who dropped a best-of-seven in six games for a second straight year.
"It wasn't like we rolled over or anything like that," Evason said. "We were in every hockey game as far as our compete level. So, yeah, I think we improved in that area. But obviously there's a lot of areas that were the same."