A Kraken Match-up For Dallas In Round 2
The Dallas Stars and Seattle Kraken had an absolutely amazing series during the regular season. Little did everyone know, the Kraken would take down the Colorado Avalanche - who, for those that don’t know, were the Stanley Cup champions last season. If you had Seattle advancing to round 2, I envy you because your NHL bracket must still be fully intact. Mine, however, was destroyed before Round 1 even finished. Admittedly, the first team I thought would be eliminated - you guessed it - Seattle. Now, they are set to face the Stars in a matter of hours. What should we expect? In short, we can expect another fight. Seattle should (and probably will) be ready for just about anything Dallas throws their way. Right now, the Stars are heating up and doing so with the usual suspects leading the way.
Roope Hintz has actually set records for the Dallas Stars already. Hintz has 12 points so far, which is the most points EVER by a Finnish-born player. Fans can expect Roope to continue blazing a trail of playoff destruction In his wake. One might also look at young goaltender Jake Oettinger.
Oettinger currently has a 4-2 record with a 2.01 goals-against average (5th in the NHL playoffs) and a .929 save percentage (T-5th in the NHL playoffs). Looking even further, Jason Robertson has finally scored a goal this playoff season. As he begins to heat up, it is safe to assume Hintz, Robertson and even Joe Pavelski will likely start to heat up as well.
The Seattle Kraken bring a record-setting team to the ice as well. Seattle is the first expansion team to eliminate a Stanley Cup champion in the first round. Philipp Grubauer (4-3, 2.44 goals-against average, .926 save percentage) comes to Dallas and is WHITE HOT after shutting down his former team.
Seattle brings massive firepower to this next round. Yanni Gourde, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and MORE are ready for their chance to upset another team. With all of this being said, the Keys to a Dallas Stars series win are:
Puck Control - Dallas brings a NHL playoff leading 56.3 faceoff percentage to the second round. Should the Stars carry a puck into the attacking zone and then set up to cycle, all the Stars have to do is spread the Kraken apart and screen Grubauer.
Special Teams - The Stars bring the 4th ranked power play into this matchup (37.5%) and 4th ranked penalty kill (81.8%). The Stars will have to jump on special teams opportunity they can. Seattle has the firepower to score from just about anywhere. However, it should be noted that Seattle comes in at 14.3% on the power play.
Goaltending - Between Seattle and Dallas, there are two VERY good goalies between the pipes For each team. Oettinger finished off Minnesota with a shutout in Game 5, followed by a a Game 6 effort only allowing one. Grubauer, on the other hand, doesn’t have a shutout to his name. Additionally, there were only two games where the Kraken only allowed a single goal against Colorado.
Bottom Line: The Seattle Kraken seem to have a team that is willing to grind for a big win. Dallas will have its hands full no matter how long this series goes. The Stars’ offense is now starting to heat up. However, it might be a safe bet to look for Jake Oettinger to steal a game here or there.