Round 2, Game 2 Preview: Seattle Kraken @ Dallas Stars

Forced to speed up, Stars take their hands off the wheel.

Round 2, Game 2 Preview: Seattle Kraken @ Dallas Stars
Credit: Tim Heitman / Dallas Stars

There is a difference between playing fast and rushing. After a physical slog against the Minnesota Wild, it should come as no surprise that the team speed of the Seattle Kraken gave the Dallas Stars some problems.

A lot of this is physiological. The human brain can only process information so fast - and if it gets too much information at a given time, it either rushes a decision by not processing all of that information or it overthinks, meaning that the body doesn't react quickly enough to react appropriately.

The Kraken's forecheck in game one was dynamic and relentless. The Stars all too frequently found themselves rushed, or maybe worse, underestimating the amount of time and space that was available to make a play.

The good news is that bodies and brains adjust. What seems incredibly fast in game one will be normalized by the end of the series. What remains to be seen is whether the Stars have the capacity to handle the Kraken's pressure, even after the team has acclimated. If Dallas can't collectively do that, this is going to be a long (and short) series.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Tyler Seguin (91)
Mason Marchment (27) - Max Domi (18) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Evgeni Dadonov (63)
Luke Glendening (11) - Radek Faksa (12) - Ty Dellandrea (10)

Ryan Suter (20) – Miro Heiskanen (4)
Esa Lindell (23) – Jani Hakanpää (2)
Thomas Harley (55) - Colin Miller (6)

Jake Oettinger (29)
Scott Wedgewood (41)

Up front, the Stars generated plenty of chances. Domi and Pavelski were dynamic, which probably keeps them together.

Defensively, Harley was the best player on the ice not named Heiskanen. Miller took his share of Twitter abuse, but Lindell and Hakanpää struggled more with the pace. As a big Joel Hanley fan, I'm not ready (yet) to call in the reinforcements.

Oettinger was both good and bad. Rebound control is usually a strong suit, but there were points in the game, especially early, where he fed the beast.

Seattle Kraken Lineup

Tye Kartye (52) - Matthew Beniers (10) - Jordan Eberle (7)
Jaden Schwartz (17) - Alexander Wennberg (21) - Morgan Geekie (67)
Eeli Tolvanen (20 - Yanni Gourde (37) - Oliver Bjorkstrand (22)
Brandon Tanev (13) - Ryan Donato (9) - Daniel Sprong (91)

Vince Dunn (29) - Adam Larsson (6)
Jamie Oleksiak (24) - William Borgen (3)
Carson Soucy (28) - Justin Schultz (4)

Philipp Grubauer (31)
Martin Jones (30)

The Kraken's top line/top pair dominated shot share and expected goals when they were on the ice. Not bad for a group that features two rookies, one of whom (Kartye) spent almost all of his time in the AHL this season.

Soucy and Schultz as a third pair weren't great, but they were decent. Overall, Seattle's defense played as advertised: solid, with a sprinkling of Dunn dynamics.

Likewise, Grubauer played well, but seemed "get-able".

Keys to the Game

Pace. Dallas needs to physically and mentally play fast, but not rushed. The first period of the game on Tuesday was rushed, but things settled in as the game progressed. Overtime returned to a more frenetic pace - and that is something that will get the Stars into trouble.

Neutral Zone. Both teams counter attack off of neutral zone turnovers. Seattle had the advantage in game one. At a minimum, Dallas needs to clog center ice so that the defense can gap up at the blue line without allowing the Kraken to blow by them with possession.

Players not named Joe. Both teams have scoring depth. Seattle spread their scoring around in game one. Dallas needs to show that they can do the same.