The Dallas Stars finished out their four-game westward road trip on the second half of a back-to-back against the Seattle Kraken. It was the Stars’ first and only trip to Climate Pledge Arena this season; the other two games were and will be played in Dallas.
The first game, back in January, ended 5-2 Stars and is indicative of how the Kraken’s season has gone so far. They’re so far out of a playoff spot that it would take a miracle for them to make it, but they’re a fun—if chaotic—team to watch.
There was a rare last minute replacement for the Stars roster as Jani Hakanpaa took a puck to the face during warm ups. Andrej Sekera tagged in for game time.
As previously mentioned, this game was the second this weekend for the Stars and the third in four days while traveling. They were clearly tired and struggled with the puck.
The first penalty of the game went to Kole Lind on a tripping penalty against Michael Raffl. Even with the man advantage, the Stars managed no shots on goal but let Jamie Oleksiak, former Star, attempt a between-the-legs shot on goal and, eventually, an actual shorthanded goal from Jared McCann.
SHORTY! Jared McCann speeds into the zone and blasts home Wennberg’s feed for a short-handed tally, taking advantage of a poorly timed Stars change and opening the scoring!#SeaKraken pic.twitter.com/LWm3yXwMYw
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) April 4, 2022
The Stars got caught on a sloppy line change and it ended up in their net.
Shots: Stars 6, Kraken 8
Goals: Stars 0, Kraken 1
Some early casualties of the second period: Jacob Peterson went down to the Stars room briefly during the second. He came back out and took a lap during a TV time out and then played the rest of the game, so hopefully nothing too concerning. Jake Oettinger took a puck to the dome and played the rest of the game in his backup mask.
The goal in the first period was bad on several accounts, but the only reason the Stars weren’t down more in the second was Jake Oettinger, as they generated almost nothing offensively in the first half of the period. Sekera almost scored on Oettinger but thankfully Oettinger not only saved that but then subsequent scoring attempts by the Kraken.
Yanni Gourde pinged one off the post and Oettinger kept out a flurry of scoring attempts and then had to deal with being poked for a loose puck that he had total control over.
More than ten minutes into the second period, the Stars had two shots on goal.
In the second half of the second period, the Stars managed to finally generate some offense, resulting in several shots on goal but no actual goals. Joe Pavelski did draw a penalty, but unfortunately that only managed to sap all of their recently acquired mojo as Oleksiak had another shorthanded attempt. In two penalty kills to that point, the Kraken had six shorthanded shots on goal. Dallas had zero shots on the power play.
Despite some good moments, the Stars were struggling overall. Nothing showed this more than a zone entry featuring three Stars players and one Kraken defender in which they didn’t manage a shot on goal.
Shots: Stars 16, Kraken 23
Goals: Stars 0, Kraken 1
The Stars came out strong in the third period. They must have decided during second intermission that they would not be going quietly into that good night.
As seems typical with this particular game, this pressure was rewarded with an absolutely life-draining breakaway and goal from Ryan Donato. The Stars didn’t really try to break it up and Oettinger couldn’t catch it.
Though the Stars were outshooting the Kraken in the third, the Stars were not without their struggles. Shortly after the Kraken goal, the Stars had an absolutely unhinged scramble in front of their net that somehow didn’t result in another Kraken goal, but did feature defenders in net, Oettinger throwing himself across the mouth of the goal, dogs and cats lying together, pure chaos.
The Stars had another power play opportunity when Oleksiak hooked Tyler Seguin, which meant he can’t get another shorthanded attempt. However, amidst requests from all corners on Twitter for the Stars to decline the power play, Jason Robertson was called for interference against Carson Soucy, putting both teams at four-on-four.
That strategy that was quickly rewarded when John Klingberg found a lane through Kraken defenders to shoot the puck on net. The goal was eventually awarded to Joel Hanley who redirected the puck. A tired, scrambling Stars team brought themselves within one.
It was erased three minutes later when Gourde ran with a breakaway down the ice, taking the Kraken up two again.
An empty-net goal for the Kraken, a rare occurrence for the Stars, was the final dagger.
Shots: Stars 30, Kraken 29
Goals: Stars 1, Kraken 4
The true cost of this loss: the Vegas Golden Knights won their game against the Canucks, taking the Stars’ spot as the second Wild Card in the Western Conference standings. The Stars also whiffed on the opportunity to leapfrog the Nashville Predators. They have games in hand on Vegas, but those only matter if those games actually get points.
They’ll be back home in Dallas against the New York Islanders on Tuesday, April 5. Puck drop will be at 7:30 pm CST.