Seattle, WA – In game four of this second round Stanley Cup Playoffs series, the Dallas Stars flipped the script on the Seattle Kraken with a huge second period that led to the Stars taking a victory inside of the Kraken’s home barn. Just as Seattle had done in game three of the series, Dallas was able to bring the fight early and breakthrough in period two to give themselves a strong cushion to lay back on as they tied the series at two games each. The Kraken never seemed to lock into a groove offensively, failing to sustain much of any time in the Stars zone until things were too far out of reach. The result sends this game back to Dallas for game five of the series, and with the series now tied through four games, the two teams will essentially play a best of three. A potential big boost for Seattle going forward is that forward and 40-goal scorer Jared McCann returned to the Kraken lineup in this game.
“They had a higher desperation to start the game. Executed better. They were the more aggressive team and we were on our heels and weren’t able to… spend enough time in the o-zone,” Jaden Schwartz, Seattle Kraken forward and alternate captain, on Dallas’ effort.
If you took games three and four of this second round Stanley Cup Playoffs series, it’d be hard to decipher many of the different in the two when placed atop each other for comparison. In each contest, there was a major surge in the second period after that same team had a strong opening frame but either couldn’t score or only got one. That, the fact that the losing team pulled their starting goaltender heading into the third period, as well as how the losing side simply couldn’t put together sustainable offense in the opposing zone, and these games are nearly identical to each, just with different results. Ironically, these two results are much different than the contests that the team had in the regular season, with two of three of those battles heading into the overtime period.
The Stars were able to dictate play throughout the first frame, putting the pressure on Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer and the team’s defensive back end, eventually forcing enough of a slip to gain a power play. Seattle’s strong penalty kill wasn’t able to bail them out this time, as Dallas’ Jamie Benn snapped a shot home with a goal that saw him effectively use two Seattle skaters as moving screens. The Kraken got the rare battle back opportunity, but it was never a fully constructed play and often was built out of chaos rather than anything else. From there, the floodgates of the Stars offense parted wide and far, as Dallas founds way to score with some of his balanced and good game. The Stars easily picked apart the holes left in the Kraken defensive backend, and things got ugly quickly.
“A shift where there’s an extra effort play where a guy goes out and shows that his will is a little above his opponent’s has a way of building and shifting momentum… we’re going to need a whole lot more of that,” Dave Hakstol, Seattle Kraken head coach, on the team’s effort tonight.
Game five of this series will take place on Thursday, May 11th with a puck drop time of 6:30PM PST. This matchup back in the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas will be broadcast on TNT as the Kraken will look to bounce back after they allowed six goals on home ice to this Stars team in this game today. Seattle will be aiming to further reintegrate star forward Jared McCann into the lineup ahead of game five, as having him back up to full strength is a major addition to this lineup and could be an X-Factor that pushes them over the edge. With today’s result, there will be a game six and that will take place on Saturday, May 13th with a puck drop time of 4PM PST, and it will be broadcast across ESPN.