This second round matchup features a Dallas Stars team that has spent the season fixing their offence to become one of the higher scoring teams in the league taking on the Seattle Kraken in their energetic first ever trip to the postseason.
Led by superstars at every position who excel at every facet of the game, the Stars adjusted well to a feisty Minnesota Wild team. With high-level talent, Dallas was able to overpower the Wild and take control during the latter half of the series on their way to a six game victory.
The Seattle Kraken were huge underdogs heading into their first round matchup against the defending Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. But through sheer will and incredible depth on the roster, the Kraken prevailed in a hard-fought seven game series.
Can the Stars solve the defence of the Kraken that did a marvelous job of shutting down two of the best players in the league in the first round? And can the Kraken’s high tempo pace of play find a way around the Stars and their elite goaltender?
Round 1 stats and head to head matchup
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Expected goals for percentage (xGF%) and Corsi for % (CF%) stats are in all situations from moneypuck.com.
Dallas Stars Round 1 recap
In what turned out to be one of the chippiest series’ of the first round, the Stars dominated their way to a first-round victory over the Minnesota Wild, taking them out in six games. This series was marked by aggression and battling, but the Wild were unable to wear down the Stars enough to make a difference. In fact, it appears as though the exact opposite happened.
Of all the stats to look at from this series, the 221 combined penalty minutes tells the story of what this series was. Countless scrums, battles, and fights led to parades to the penalty box. And it revealed one key differentiation between the two teams. Dallas was able to capitalize on this with a 37.5 power play percentage. However, Minnesota managed to capitalize on just 18.2% of power play opportunities.
This shows how well that the Stars played, especially defensively, in the last three games of the series. Minnesota scored just three goals in the final three games before being eliminated. Most notably, Kirill Kaprizov had just one point in the series. Considering the Wild offence typically runs mostly through him, getting no production from their best player is a testament to how well the Stars were able to defend.
Seattle Kraken Round 1 recap
This series was the epitome of fast, high-event hockey. Both the Kraken and the Colorado Avalanche play with speed, energy, and excitement. And this was one hell of a series to watch.
The Kraken, fresh off the celebration of playing their first ever playoff game, took the first game of the series and set a tone that they were ready for this challenge. But Colorado leveraged their experience to take the next two games, including the first home playoff game for Seattle. Seattle bounced back to take the next two games with a clutch overtime victory in Game 4 to prevent them from going down 3–1 in the series.
After trading off in games five and six, the Kraken shut everything the Avalanche were throwing their way down in a tight game seven to emerge victorious. Oliver Bjorkstrand was a standout in the final game, with two goals, numerous shots off the post, and a huge diving effort late in the game to ensure the puck got deep into Colorado’s defensive zone to negate a rush chance the other way.
The theme of Seattle’s amazing depth continued to show its importance in this series. 18 Kraken players recorded a point. The only regular in the lineup to be held off the scoresheet was Ryan Donato. And, 15 different players scored a goal. No Kraken player had more than two goals in the series, but the scoring depth spread throughout the lineup was too much for a top-heavy Avalanche roster to handle.
Where the Colorado Avalanche might rely on a few players for most of their production, the Dallas Stars also have those same high-end players and a lot more depth scoring. This poses a threat to Seattle, as not many teams can truly match up against the Kraken in that regard.
The advantage goes to Dallas in skater positions, as the scoring talent of Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson far surpass the high end of Seattle’s roster. Those two combined for 19 points in the first round. And the Stars, with 16 players recording a point in the first round, can compete with the Kraken throughout the lineup.
The biggest area Dallas has the advantage is in net. Jake Oettinger is undisputedly one of the top goalies in the league. And he is definitely a playoff performer. In the series against Minnesota, he had a .929 SV%, a 2.01 GAA, and according to Moneypuck, sits second in the league with 4.3 goals saved above expected.
Even though Philipp Grubauer is playing some of the best hockey he has in years, he does not provide the same level of play that Oettinger does. And this gives the Stars a huge advantage. They know they can trust their goalie in every situation at all times. But if the Stars put up relentless pressure against the Kraken, can Grubauer hold up and make the important saves?
The Kraken will have to find ways to strike quickly. They focus on this as their strategy, with a team designed to play fast, take advantage of quick breaks, and score. The Stars do not make a ton of mistakes, but the Kraken will need to play aggressively and pressure Dallas into turning the puck over so the Kraken can put their scorers to work.
Bjorkstrand, Eeli Tolvanen, Daniel Sprong, and, if he is healthy, Jared McCann are all players who can score at will and change the tide of a game in the blink of an eye. This will be the key for Seattle, relying on these types of players to ensure that, even if they do not get a ton of chances, they make the ones they do get count.
Dallas Stars versus Seattle Kraken prediction
The Kraken deserve a ton of credit for getting through the Avalanche in the way that they did. It shows that they have a competitive roster. But the Stars have a stronger and deeper roster in a couple of key areas, depth and goaltending, that is a much more difficult matchup for Seattle. The Kraken have a chance if they can find a way to minimize shots and high quality chances against and their scoring forwards make the most of their chances, but it will be a tall order.
4–1 Dallas Stars