The Seattle Kraken face off against the Dallas Stars tonight in Game 5 of Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Kraken lost Game 4, 6-3. Game 4 was polar opposite of the ‘Release the Kraken’ Game 3. Dallas seemed to have an answer for everything that the Kraken threw at them, in spite of missing key players from their line up throughout the game due to injuries.
Dallas did everything they needed to, to secure a win and make a statement heading back home to Dallas. Let’s hope that our boys can have the same short-term memory and find a way to get back to our game.
Does Dallas have the momentum and advantage in this series now? Yes. Should we start to worry. No. This series (like any series) is a marathon. I predicted the Kraken win in 7, and here we are facing Game 5. Let us not forget that we have solved Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger. We know how to beat him. In Game 4 we had 19 shots, and 3 went in. Not exactly a Patrick Roy playoff performance by Oettinger. In fact, if we can actually get some pucks on net, we will be fine.
The way Dallas’ defensive scheme responded to the Game 3 blowout was the real reason that they won. Hell, maybe we were even sleepwalking a little bit. We looked strange, almost as if the return of Jared McCann threw our lines off. Who knows?
The focus for the Kraken in Game 5 will be on Jared McCann. In case you have missed this, McCann scored 40 goals in the regular season. Those are elite numbers by any standard. His return to the team should have provided a massive boost to the already potent offense and once again McCann was invisible.
Now to be fair, he does do so much more than score goals. He is a key figure on the powerplay and penalty kill. He is a stud. Interesting though that a guy with what I call, a Joe Sakic-like wrist shot seems to have disappeared at the most important time of the year. When it matters most. Yikes. Shades of Kevin Fiala on the Minnesota Wild.
Jared McCann needs to have a game tonight, and I think he will. The rust/jitters should be off now that he has a game under his belt. He is back from the dirty hit heard round the world and should now be looking to come out pistols blazing. He has the skill to light up Oettinger, and the line mates to dominate this game. McCann will get it done tonight.
The Kraken win if…
goalie Phillipp Grubauer shows up once again as the best goalie in the postseason. He has been a marvel these playoffs and the Kraken need that guy, tonight. The entire team played like crap in Game 4 so it was not just on him. Being pulled usually gives that impression but I think the game was out of hand and he was allowed to rest up. Gru, you got us here, lets finish the game (loose Young Guns 2 reference there).
McCann scores. We need this to happen. McCann getting on the scoreboard will send a new kind of fear into the Stars. They will now have to respect McCann and when he is on the ice. This will create mismatches the rest of the game and the ripple effects will be the supplemental scoring from the other Kraken lines.
Vince Dunn plays like a shutdown defensemen. He is crazy good on offense, and at times is a physical defensive d-man on the blue line. Tonight we will win if he can shut down Joe Pavelski and keep him out of our crease. We need him to shut them down.
The Stars win if…
Jamie Benn, Joe Pavelski and company tear into our goalies again with second-chance goals. As mentioned in the Game 4 preview, Dallas needs these guys to deliver, and when they do, it usually equals a Dallas win. Let’s see if we can make the needed adjustments and shutdown these two ‘stars’.
Jake Oettinger plays like Dominic Hasek. If he dominates the Kraken we are done. He hasn’t played a truly great game all series so I am still waiting to see what happens when we pepper him for an entire game. If he is money though, we are going to have a long night.
they control the time of possession. We clearly can score even if we have a limited number of shots. They key for Dallas will be to keep the puck out of our hands. If they do this (win more faceoffs, puck battles, etc) the Kraken will literally watch the clock run out on their chances to win this game.
The puck drops at 6:30pm PT from Dallas, Texas. If you are going to the game go hit up Pappasito’s before. Awesome Tex-Mex. Let’s get on these guys early boys! Get it done!
Fear the deep!