Three Keys To A Dallas Stars Victory
The Dallas Stars, as of this moment, have the Seattle Kraken backed against the wall. No stranger to high-pressure, hockey fans should expect the Kraken to come out firing. Conversely, the Stars seem to have learned what to do in high-pressure situations of their own. When Seattle turns up the pressure, the Stars seem to rise to the occasion. If you're a Stars fan, that is EXACTLY what you want to see. With all of this being said, here are THREE KEYS for a Stars victory and Kraken elimination:
Resilience - Losing Joe Pavelski early in the playoffs (for a short while) forced the Stars to take a "next man up" mentality. Tyler Seguin ended up taking his place, and Seguin flourished. While Pavelski was out, the Stars seemed to play with a different sort of "fire" or motivation. What we learned: Max Domi, Seguin and everyone else was ready to make up for missing Pavelski.
The Stars didn't miss a beat - they still won. Much of the same can be said for when the Stars lost top defenseman Miro Heiskanen, who took a puck to the face against Seattle (Game 3). While Heiskanen was only out the remainder of the game during Game 3, he is ALSO showing a bit of resilience by playing with a full face shield after missing the remainder of Game 3. What can we see? Not much can stop a team that refuses to quit.
Response - Fans saw the Kraken get (and keep) control of the puck for long periods of the game on more than one occasion. Game 5 was no exception. Seattle had 8 Giveaways and 8 Takeaways to their name, while Dallas had numbers in double digits. Not only did the Kraken have better puck control, but star forward Roope Hintz was the victim of a hard hit from Vince Dunn - from which he never returned.
How they respond to these things will be interesting to see. Seattle has an incredibly fast forecheck and has given the Stars trouble. Hintz is an unknown at this point, but has been huge in helping the Stars respond to Seattle. How will the Stars control the puck, play and their tempers in Game6?
Revenge - Every game this series has seen the Stars being out-hit by the Kraken. The last two games on the other hand, the Stars have been able to outsmart the Kraken offensively. Game 5 saw the Stars start the offense early as Wyatt Johnston scored first. At the 3:57 mark of the first period, Johnston hit the Kraken with a wrist shot. Right at the 5:35 mark, Roope Hintz would put the Stars up 2-0 in the first. Hintz, by the way, had a three point night (2 goals, 1 assist).
Revenge on the Kraken will best be served by the Stars' speed and offensive attack. Fans have already seen some missed calls, physical aggression and retaliation. What needs to happen for the Stars to escape Game 6 with a win is simple. No matter what players hit the ice, the Stars need to hit the net - early and often. Controlling the puck will control the pace. If Dallas can control the pace, the defense (and Jake Oettinger) will be able to play their game and be an asset on the ice. There's an old saying: "revenge is a dish best served cold". Revenge for the Stars should be centered around offense - not retaliation.