The Seattle Kraken shocked the world yesterday upsetting the Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche. The team made Seattle sports history with their first ever playoff series win. The celebrations are over now as the team sets their sights on round two and their next opponent the Dallas Stars.
Unlike Colorado, Dallas has the depth to matchup well with the Kraken. The two teams (Kraken and Stars) are actually pretty similar, with exception to the Dallas star (no pun intended) power. Dallas has superstars in their lineup, just not as good as Colorado’s big three. Combine that with their depth and this is going to be a tough series for the Kraken.
Dallas’ top line combination of Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz, and Tyler Seguin are about as good as any top line in the NHL. Robertson is an elite scoring threat, 43 goals, 63 assists, and 109 points. To put those numbers into perspective, his 43 goals, and 63 assists are second all-time (Dallas single season), and his 109 points are tops (single season) in Dallas history. He is above Mike Modano on that list. Robertson is a legit superstar.
Hintz is a bonafide top line center who scored 37 goals, 38 assists, and 75 points in 73 games this season. Tyler Seguin is apparently passed his prime, but can still score (has 21 goals this season). Aside from being the league’s highest paid player this year, and every female hockey fan’s favorite eye candy, Seguin won a Cup with Boston and is a solid player. This line could be trouble.
Colorado’s top line is much better than Dallas’ top 3. We know that we can not only hang with these guys, but we can shut them down. The problem for the Kraken is going to be the Dallas depth.
Stars’ captain Jamie Benn rediscovered his game this season with a 33 goal-78 point campaign. At 33 years old Benn is still one of the league’s premier power forwards. Benn is on the second line.
Mr. Clutch, “Little Joe” Pavelski should be healthy for round two and another scoring threat. He had a 28 goal, 77 point season. This dude is clutch. Easily the best in the league at banging in rebounds and scoring HUGE goals. The Dallas third line features Pavelski, Max Domi (20 goals), and Mason Marchment (12 goals).
Tough to find a weakness in the Dallas attack. This could be Pavelski’s swan song, so you know he is going to give it all as he tries to win his first ever Stanley Cup.
The Dallas defense is deep as well, and features one of the league’s top blue line talent in Miro Heiskanen (11 goals, 62 assists, 73 points). Ryan Suter is solid, and Jani Hakanpää scares me (as in I wouldn’t like to run into him in a dark alley).
And then there is out-of-this-world goalie Jake Oettinger. ‘Otter’ went 37-11-11 with a 2.37 goals against average, .919 save percentage, and 5 shutouts. At 24 years old he is 7-6 in the postseason, with a 1.83 goals against, .945 save percentage, and 2 shutouts. This kid can play. The bigger the game, the bigger his game.
The Kraken are 2-3-1 all-time versus the Stars. This series is the toughest matchup the Kraken will face. The good news is that Minnesota and Dallas beat each other up in the first round. We are the underdogs, and this is a good thing.
We are not pushovers and we are not going into this series hoping to steal a game or get lucky. Seattle absolutely belongs here and I truly believe that we will win this series in 7 games. Dallas does not want to play us, this is a nightmare matchup for them. That 2-3-1 record doesn’t include the Phillipp Grubauer who has recently turned back the clock. Gru has returned to his Vezina runner-up style of playing.
Jared McCann is out with the injury sustained in Game 4 of the first round. The Kraken miss his 40 goals. To be fair he didn’t score any in the first round. We still found a way. If and when he returns it will be welcomed. We need his Joe Sakic-like wrist shot.
Game 1 of the second round starts at 6:30pm PT from Dallas, Texas (at the strangest hockey arena in the NHL). Let’s go boys!
Fear the deep!