Stars Return Home, Face Kraken for Third Time in Two Weeks
All in all, the roadtrip ended with success. Can the Stars use a weeks worth of home ice to solidify their spot at the top of the Central?
After 10 days on the road, including a cross country flight, the Dallas Stars are back at American Airlines Center for three games, two against playoff contenders and one (the Vancouver Canucks) against a team that seems to have their number this year.
First up are the Seattle Kraken. Dallas played back to back games on the recent trip against the Kraken, coming away with two wins while scoring nine goals. Both games were played without Tyler Seguin, who is now at least back skating with the team, but not ready for game action.
Now, of course, the Stars second line is also missing Mason Marchment.
Head Coach Pete DeBoer has tried to piecemeal several options together, most recently pairing second line center Max Domi with Radek Faksa and Ty Dellandrea. This second line hasn’t been as dynamic offensively as it was with Seguin and Marchment, but the addition of two defensively responsible forwards has kept the line from leaking possession time and goals. Overall, the numbers have been respectable. Per NaturalStatTrick, against the Calgary Flames, they had possession and expected goal percentages of over 70%.
Dallas Stars Lineup
Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Radek Faksa (12) – Max Domi (18) - Ty Dellandrea (10)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Evgenii Dadonov (63)
Joel Kiviranta (25) - Luke Glendening (11) – Fredrik Olofsson (42)
Miro Heiskanen (4) – Colin Miller (6)
Esa Lindell (23) – Jani Hakanpää (2)
Ryan Suter (20) – Joel Hanley (44)
Jake Oettinger (29)
Remi Poirier (50)
Stars calling up Remi Poirier from the AHL and sending back Matt Murray sounds like a swap to get Murray some games— Brian Waddle (@WaddleDALHockey) March 21, 2023
The experiment that brought Nils Lundqvist back to the lineup, such as it was, only showed a defender without a role. Except, perhaps, as a secondary option on the second power play unit.
How management let Lundqvist play through his last games of waiver exemption, with concerns about his ability to contribute to the current roster, remains a mystery. Certainly, it would have been better to ship Lundqvist to Texas and to bring up Thomas Harley for an end of season look if there were major issues. Instead, the only option now appears to be icing Joel Hanley with Ryan Suter, which really isn’t a pairing where either can cover for the others deficiencies.
Seattle Kraken Lineup
Jared McCann (19) - Matthew Beniers (10) - Jordan Eberle (7)
Jaden Schwartz (17) - Alexander Wennberg (21) - Brandon Tanev (13)
Eeli Tolvanen (20) - Yanni Gourde (37) - Oliver Bjorkstrand (22)
Ryan Donato (9) - Morgan Geekie - Daniel Sprong (91)
Vince Dunn (29) - Adam Larsson (6)
Jamie Oleksiak (24) - William Borgen (3)
Carson Soucy (28) - Justin Schultz (4)
Martin Jones (30)
Joey Daccord (35)
Phillipp Grubauer appears to be ill, so the Kraken have called up Daccord from the Coachella Valley Firebirds, where he has been one of the AHLs best netminders. Jones took the last loss against the Stars, so Daccord may get a shot at his second NHL game of the season.
On a side note, Daccord and Poirier were the starting goalies in Palm Desert a week ago Sunday when the Texas Stars lost to the Firebirds.
The defense remains the same. Outside of their top forward line, the Kraken continue to shuffle lines. There aren’t any superstars, but up and down the lineup, there are solid contributors.
Keys to the Game
Johnston vs. Beniers. The last time the two teams met, Beniers had the rookie goal lead. No more. Johnston is making a late charge at a Calder nomination, and there’s nothing like a head to head matchup to get the voters attention.
Roadtrip Hangover. The first game back from an extended trip is always a trap game. Thursday night against Pittsburgh is a national game, but due diligence should be taken here.
Top Line Renaissance. Hintz, Robertson and Pavelski found their groove against the Calgary Flames. The top line dominance that they have supplied has been in hibernation, and its return would solve multiple problems down the depth chart.