The Seattle Kraken rolled as their crowd roared, hammering the Dallas Stars for five goals in the second period while trademark depth delivered 12 different players registering a point or better, in a 7-2 rout of the Stars in game three before 17,151 fans at Climate Pledge Arena on Sunday in second round action.
The Kraken lead the series 2-1, visibly capitalizing off two days of rest, the most they’ve had since before the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
How was nice was that?
“Very nice,” said Matty Beniers, earning a goal and an assist along with first star honors. “I would say from personal experience, we’ve been playing a lot of hockey and the hockey’s been intensified. Having that one extra day was good to get your legs under you.”
Philipp Grubauer, solid in net again, turned in a 24-save effort.
Game four is Tuesday, 6:30pm PT (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network), with a chance for the Kraken to put Dallas in a 3-1 hole.
1. MATTY BENIERS PLAYED LIKE A MAN ON A MISSION. A game after Wyatt Johnston performed arguably like the best player on the ice and delivered “he got snubbed” conversation for the Calder Trophy, the odds-on favorite in Beniers delivered a response game like he took it personally. Busting through a drought with just one goal in nine games, he matched his previous total offensive output with a two-point game, in addition to logging three takeaways. His line of Tye Kartye and Jordan Eberle was brilliant and controlled 71 percent of shot quality when on the ice. A future superstar took control and was named first star of the game accordingly.
2. THE GAME CHANGED WITH NO MIRO HEISKANEN. No update to the 23-year old defenseman was available after the game, but it’s clear his absence after taking an errant shot to the face in the second period made a significant impact. Heiskanen drives the Stars offense from their blueline, logs over 27 minutes per game, and plays a massive role on their power play in a quarterback type of position. He missed the rest of the game after he was helped off the ice following Jordan Eberle’s second period goal, and the Kraken took full advantage with the second period onslaught that followed. Stars head coach Peter DeBoer was forced to shuffle his blueline with just five available defensemen and depending on much action Heiskanen will miss, it could significantly alter the Stars ability to move the puck and generate quality scoring chances.
3. HOME ICE ADVANTAGE WAS AT ITS PEAK. We’ve experienced a wild rash of road teams chasing and seizing wins in this year’s playoffs like they’re filled with magic dust. Perhaps there’s truth to it: road teams have a win percentage of .573 this year in the postseason, while the Kraken lost two of three games home in the first round but still found a way to upset the Avalanche in seven.
There would be no such narrative on Sunday at Climate Pledge Arena. A building that was expected to turn loose with volume found the runway in the second period, when the Kraken decimated the Stars with five goals in the frame, scored four goals in 6:12, and chased a leaky Jake Oettinger after 40 minutes.
“You get one in your budling, the crowd starts going nuts,” said Beniers.
“We definitely capitalized on momentum today.”
Production turned into momentum, then pandemonium. With game four on the horizon on Tuesday, the situation is advantage Kraken, needing just two wins in the next four games, max, to catapult this storybook season into the Conference Final.
KRAKEN LINEUP, GAME 3 VS DALLAS, 5/7: