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Middle Frame Rally: Stars Win 3-2 Against Kraken

Couldn’t have happened at a better time for the Stars.

NHL: Seattle Kraken at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars can’t win every game in an 82 game season, but some are more make-or-break than others. After a three-game losing streak in the late season, the Stars had found their do-or-die. Thankfully it came against a struggling expansion team.

The Seattle Kraken are having a typical first season for most expansion teams that aren’t the Vegas Golden Knights. They’re 8th in the Pacific and 15th in the West, scraping the bottom of the league in the company of Arizona and Montreal.

Still, this is the third meeting between the teams, and the Stars lost the last one 4-1. Nothing in this game is a given.

First Period

The first five minutes of this hockey game were all Stars all the time. They had seven shots on goal before the Kraken had one. Unfortunately, it was just the first five minutes that were truly great.

Former Star Jamie Oleksiak lost the puck behind his own net, giving Joel Kiviranta two big chances in front of Kraken goalie Chris Driedger, but Driedger denied both attempts.

Oleksiak assisted Roope Hintz with taking Driedger on a walkabout, giving Joe Pavelski ample room to score, but as that’s not allowed per the NHL rules, the goal was waived off.

The Stars continued to have some good chances. Tyler Seguin nailed Driedger in the blocker on their next near miss.

Almost five minutes into the game, the Kraken still didn’t have a shot on goal, but they did get the first power play opportunity of the game as John Klingberg got called for tripping Alex Wennberg.

Face offs became a huge part of the game discourse on twitter after the Stars won a face off, dumped the puck into the bench, and then lost the ensuing face off back in their zone. Adam Larsson took a shot from the top of the zone and Riley Sheahen cleaned up the rebound around Jake Oettinger.

Jamie Benn took Yanni Gourde’s skate to his face after Gourde tumbled on a face off. Benn is one of the holdovers after the rule change to require visors. It might not have helped in this instance as Benn’s nose took the brunt of the impact, but it’s just another reminder that visors save eyes.

The Stars went ten minutes after the deflating power play with one single shot on goal, but picked up again toward the end of the period.

With less than two minutes to go in the period, the Kraken scored a second goal on a tip in from Gourde.

The Stars had a good first five minutes but floundered after that and didn’t get what they needed out of Oettinger as a back stop.

Shots: Stars 12, Kraken 9
Goals: Stars 0, Kraken 2

Second Period

The Stars finally figured out how to break Driedger’s force field in the second period. Jason Robertson and Hintz were the first to figure it out when Robertson caught a beautiful pass from Pavelski and tipped the puck in off Hintz’s skate.

The assist was Pavelski’s 500th of his career.

The Stars were then given a power play after Derrick Pouliot cross checked Joel Kiviranta.

Hintz had one rush on net that was foiled but followed it up shortly after with another and an actual goal.

Then Denis Gurianov got the steal behind the net, centered a pass to Vladislav Namestnikov, and the Stars got the go-ahead goal.

Pavelski was on the ice for all three goals.

Shots: Stars 26, Kraken 18
Goals: Stars 3, Kraken 2

Third Period

It’s hard to overstate how much the Stars failed to play the third period, but the shots on goal should sum it up pretty well. The Kraken, down only one goal, had 14 shots on the goal, while the Stars turtled hard with only 5. Five shots while protecting a one goal lead for twenty minutes.

Thankfully, Oettinger recovered from a weak first period and had a stellar third period performance.

The Stars had one power play opportunity and Suter and Lind took matching minors in a scuffle in front of the Stars net later in the period. Despite some close calls, the Kraken weren’t able to pull out another goal and the Stars snapped their losing streak just in time.

Shots: Stars 31, Kraken 32
Goals: Stars 3, Kraken 2

A bonus: secondary scoring is a larger conversation they need to have at some point:

The Stars will continue their season ending homestand on Tuesday night against the Vegas Golden Knights. Puck drop will be at 7:30 pm CST.