Round 2, Game 7 Preview: Seattle Kraken @ Dallas Stars
Game Sevens are where legends are made. Kraken and Stars look to be memorable - and move on to the Western Conference Finals.
At the point that a series makes it to seven games, the plotlines have already been set. Teams aren't going to pull a rabbit out of the hat. Surprises are going to be few and far between.
In this second round series between the Dallas Stars and the Seattle Kraken, you're going to be getting a relentless forecheck from four Kraken lines. Scoring is going to come from anywhere in the lineup. Defenders are going to pinch, and the team is going to trap in the neutral zone. When Seattle is playing well, the team is getting to the crease - when they aren't they're stuck on the boards.
Dallas can do the same offensively. Even better, they're top line can instinctively create off the cycle and roll with dominant shifts that lead to dangerous scoring chances. Roope Hintz blazes down the wing - and in something that hasn't been seen yet this playoff, Jason Robertson can pick his spots from anywhere in the offensive zone. Joe Pavelski does whatever it takes and just scores.
As for teams, the Stars have shown the ability to burn the tape and bounce back from ugly games all season. At puck drop, everything is going to come down to execution. Both teams know what they want to do and what they need to stop. That is the primary narrative.
Of course, the reason to take game six seriously is the pure randomness that can happen in a single game seven. Regardless of execution, bounces can turn into victory - and that's why the Stars may regret taking the night off for game six.
Dallas Stars Lineup
Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Mason Marchment (27) - Max Domi (18) – Tyler Seguin (91)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Evgeni Dadonov (63)
Joel Kiviranta (25) - Radek Faksa (12) - Ty Dellandrea (10)
Ryan Suter (20) – Miro Heiskanen (4)
Esa Lindell (23) – Jani Hakanpää (2)
Thomas Harley (55) - Joel Hanley (44)
Jake Oettinger (29)
Scott Wedgewood (41)
As bad as Lindell and Jani Hakanpää were in game six, its hard to imagine a significant change for game seven. Colin Miller for Hakanpää could happen, but everyone else is where they have been and, at this point, should be.
Luke Glendening missed game six, and some have expressed concern about missing him on the dot. Kiviranta and Dellandrea were better than most in Seattle, but one could be the odd man out.
Oettinger, of course.
Seattle Kraken Lineup
Jared McCann (7) - 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) - Tye Kartye (52)
Vince Dunn (29) - Adam Larsson (6)
Jamie Oleksiak (24) - William Borgen (3)
Carson Soucy (28) - Justin Schultz (4)
Philipp Grubauer (31)
Martin Jones (30)
Seattle took care of business on Saturday. No need or desire to change.
Keys to the Game
Hard but loose. Everything is on the line, so play hard. Tight is the enemy of good.
Goaltending. It's a truism, but it's true. Grubauer or Oettinger could steal this one.
Home Ice. Green and loud