Kraken take control of the series after 7-2 win

If someone watched the last two Western Division semifinal playoff games between the Seattle Kraken and the Dallas Stars, and wasn’t familiar with the personnel, you couldn’t blame them if they thought the two teams just switched uniforms between games.

The Seattle Kraken took a two games to one lead in the best-of-seven Western Division finals with a well-balanced scoring attack that saw seven different players light the lamp in a 7-2  victory last night at Climate Pledge Arena. In Game 2, the Stars were  just as dominant as the Kraken were last night. Thanks to some nifty saves from netminder Philipp Grubauer, the 4-2 score wasn’t as lopsided as the game played out. Seattle has the opportunity to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series tomorrow night.

Meanwhile Dallas goalkeeper Jake Oettinger had his second implosion of the playoffs. In Game 1 (a 5-4 overtime Kraken win) he surrendered three goals in a little over a minute before stopping 31 consecutive shots. In last night’s first period, Oettinger looked sharp as the Kraken outshot their guests, 9-4. But then in the second period he surrendered four goals on four shots. Conversely, Grubauer stopped 16 of 17 Dallas shots in the second stanza, thwarting the always dangerous Roope Hintz on a breakaway.

“He (Grubauer) kept us even keel,” said Kraken coach Dave Hakstol.” The team on the other side can score and they can score in bunches. I haven’t talked to Grubi about it, but my guess is he wanted to come back and be a little better than he was in Game 2, just like everybody else in our group. He did that tonight.”

Hakstol admitted that the team was a bit fatigued playing every other night for over two weeks. The schedule makers gave the Kraken a break, two off-days at home and Saturday’s morning skate was optional. Carson Soucy got a laugh from reporters after the game when asked what he did with an extra day off and he said he walked his dog in the rain.

The Kraken showed renewed energy playing in front of  the always boisterous Climate Pledge Arena crowd. Witness they outhit their guests 15-3 in the first period.  Matty Beniers, Eeli Tolvanen, Alex Wennberg and Justin Schultz each had a goal and an assist and Ryan Donato added two assists. Soucy became the 16th Kraken player to score a goal in the playoffs, the most by any NHL team.

“We had good shifts early and good things start to happen,” said Soucy, who had a big hit on the Stars’ Mason Marchment two minutes into the game, “Playing every other game drains you. But the physical player gets you going.”

“The biggest thing from our team all year has been our depth,” Eberle said. “You get scoring like that from every line, that’s huge.”

Eberle opened the scoring when Tye Kartye’s drive from the point hit  Dallas defenseman Miko Heiskenan on the side of the head. Heiskenan crumpled to the ice and Eberle sent the loose puck into the net for his fourth goal of the playoffs. Heiskenan didn’t play the rest of the game and Seattle’s Daniel Sprong missed the third period with an apparent injury.

Eberle’s score opened the floodgates as the Kraken would add three goals in three minutes. Vince Dunn’s stretch pass sent Jaden Schwartz and Wennberg on a two-on-one with Wennberg one-timing Schwartz’s cross pass home. Then Soucy, not known for his scoring  prowess, drove to the net for a score. Beniers completed the deluge when he wristed a shot home after an Eberle steal. Beniers, the favorite to win the Calder Trophy awarded to the league’s top rookie, had his best playoff game with three shots on goal.

 “Last series against Colorado was my first glimpse of (the playoffs),” said Beniers. “But you get (a goal) in your own building, the crowd starts going nuts, you get some real momentum, get on your toes. The other team is kind of sitting back a little bit and then you just start popping them in. We definitely capitalized on the momentum today.”

After Beniers’ goal, Marchment put Dallas on the scoreboard and Tolvanen scored for the Kraken to make it 5-1 at the intermission.

The Kraken killed off three penalties in the game and the third period started with a Seattle shorthanded goal as Brandon Tanev picked up a loose puck at center ice and set up Yanni Gourde for the score. Schultz would add a power play tally in the final minutes right after Dallas defenseman Jani Hakanpaa notched his first goal of the playoffs.

Dallas wound up outshooting the Kraken, 26-25, but many of the Stars’ shots came when they were well behind. The 90 penalty minutes called in the game weren’t indicative of the contest either. There were three relatively minor skirmishes in the final three minutes with the refs handing out eight 10-minute misconduct penalties- five against a frustrated Dallas squad and three on the Kraken- to keep the game from getting out of hand.

“You look at our record, we’ve been a better team on the road,” said Eberle. “But our mind set is to play better at home. In the playoffs, you’ve got to play better at home.”

The Kraken get an opportunity for another home victory tomorrow night.


  • Dave Hakstol learned via phone call on Friday, the official announcement, that he was one of the three finalists for the Jack Adams Award presented to the top NHL coach. Other nominees were Jim Montgomery of the Boston Bruins, who set the new NHL record for standings points in the season, and Lindy Ruff of the New Jersey Devils, who along with the Kraken were the most improved team in the NHL this season (and like the Kraken, the Devils are still alive in the playoffs). The Kraken improved their record by 19 wins and 40 points in their second NHL season. Other awards still to be announced include the Hart Memorial Trophy, presented to the league’s Most Valuable Player; the Ted Lindsay Award, the best player as voted by his peers; the Vezina Trophy awarded to the league’s top goaltender and the Bill Masterson Trophy, given to the player who exemplifies perseverance and dedication.
  • Jared McCann, out of the lineup since Game 4 of the Kraken’s opening series against Colorado, made an appearance at the Kraken’s voluntary practice on Saturday. McCann, who worked mostly on tip-ins from in front of the net, wasn’t in the lineup last night could make an appearance in Game 4, tomorrow night.
  • Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak blocked three more shots in last night’s game. `The Big Rig’ now has 34 blocked shots in the playoffs the most by any player in the post-season.
  • The Seattle Kraken’s top affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds, finished the season with 103 points, second most in the American Hockey League. They’ll be taking on the Calgary Wranglers, the team that finished with the most points, 106, in the five-game Pacific Division finals. The Wranglers are the Calgary Flames’ top affiliate. That series begins May 11 at the Scotiabank Arena. The Kraken’s East Coast Hockey League affiliate the Kansas City Mavericks, lost in the first round of the Kelly Cup playoffs to the Allen (Texas) Americans in six games. Every contest was decided by one goal.
  • Heading into their semifinal series against the Kraken, the Stars hadn’t allowed as many as four goals in a period. Seattle scored four goals in the first period in Game 1 and topped that with five goals in the second period of last night’s contest.


First Period

No Scoring

Second Period

S- Jordan Eberle (Tye Kartye, Matty Benjers) 2:10. S- Alex Wennberg (Jaden Schwartz, Vince Dunn) 3:36. S- Carson Soucy (Ryan Donato, Schwartz) 5:22. S-Beniers (Eberle) 6:30. D- Mason Marchment (Evgenii Dadanov) 7:50. S- Eeli Tolvanen (Donato, Oliver Bjorkstrand)( 19:21.

Third Period

S- Yanni Gourde (Brandon Tanev) :SH :49.  D- Jani Hakanpaa (Jamie Benn) 7:00. S-Justin Schultz (Eeli Tolvanen, Wennberg) 17:20.

Shots on Goal- Dallas 26, Seattle 25.

Penalty Minutes- Dallas 54, Seattle 36.

Refereees- Chris Rooney, Graham Skillitier Linesmen- David Brisebois, Bevan Mills. Standby Official- Trevor Hanson.

Three Stars- 1. Matty Beniers. 2. Philipp Grubauer 3. Carson Soucy.

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