The Seattle Kraken face off against the Dallas Stars tonight in Game 2 of Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Kraken took Game 1 5-4 in overtime. Both teams looked every bit the part of a Stanley Cup contender. Dallas with their speed, top end scoring, and other worldly goalie Jake Oettinger had Kraken fans filled with anxiety,
This series has a much different feel than Round 1. From the initial faceoff you could just see the difference between these two teams. Dallas is really good. In fact, most ‘experts’ have them winning this series. For good reasons too. This team can flat out play. I have the Kraken winning in 7. Bet.
Dallas has zero weaknesses. Zero. They do everything well.
Special teams are tops in the league (Powerplay and PK), they have legitimate scoring threats on all four lines, their defense is solid, and they have arguably the best goaltending in the playoffs. This isn’t me gushing over them either, just giving respect where it is due. In hockey there is one saying that is critical.
Respect, don’t fear. The Kraken need to respect this opponent, but do not fear them.
The focus in this game will be on Oliver Bjorkstrand. After having subpar regular season, by his standards (20 goals. 25 assists, 45 points), he has come to life in the postseason with 3 goals and 5 points. The Kraken are going to need him to fill the net in Game 2 if they are going to keep up with Dallas’ scoring machine. He sniped a goal in Game 1, snapping home a top-shelf, wrister over the stick side of Oettinger. Seattle needs a repeat performance.
If Bjorkstrand shows up again, Dallas will be forced to make adjustments and open up opportunities for other Kraken skaters to score. We need to make Dallas fear the depth.
The Kraken win if…
Grubauer is lights out. I said this prior to Game 1 and this will be a theme. Goaltending wins Cups. Grubauer has got to be the best player on the Kraken for the remainder of the season if they are going to beat Dallas, whoever is next, and then win the Cup. Even flow- focus on the next game. Grubauer needs to minimize the Dallas scoring. Stand on your head tonight, Gru!
Bjorkstrand, Daniel Sprong, and Tanev score. A trio of goals from unlikely heroes could put this game away. I do not think that Dallas fully respects what we do here. All four of our lines can produce goals. If they are focused on stopping the top guys on our team and these beautes score, Game 2 goes to the Kraken.
they continue to control the time of possession. Dallas can score, we saw that. If we can keep the puck away from them, we win, period. How do we do that? Win more faceoffs than them, create blueline turnovers, forecheck our guts out, and play at Tanev speed.
The Stars win if…
Jamie Benn gets going. I mentioned that he will be the difference maker playing on the second line and I meant it. Their second line is as good as any team’s top line, and it starts with Benn. If he gets on the scoreboard more than once we are in big trouble.
Jake Oettinger is the force he has been all postseason. If Game 1 was a fluke, and this Minnesota stud dominates, Game 2 will be painful to watch. He can single handedly beat any team in the league. We saw his weakness (high stick side), hopefully we can exploit it again tonight. Best goalie in the NHL. If he plays like it, it’s game over in Game 2 for the Kraken. We will need at least 3 goals to win tonight.
Joe Pavelski stays red hot. I can’t think of too many times that a player scores 4 goals in a playoff game and his team does not win. If it weren’t the Kraken he was facing I would feel bad for him. Most clutch postseason player in the league right now. I do not think the Kraken will win two nights in a row if he has another ‘game’.
Game 2 will be huge tonight. The puck drops at 6:30pm PT from Dallas. Let’s dead home up 2-0.
Fear the deep!