It took less than a minute in Dallas on Wednesday to realize it wasn’t going to be the Seattle Kraken’s night. The Dallas Stars scored early, built a first period lead, and held on to win 5-2, sending the Kraken to a season worst seventh straight loss.
Joe Pavelski had a big night for Dallas (18-13-2) by scoring two tap-in goals to go with three assists, Jake Oettinger kicked out 23 Kraken bids, and the stars improved to 14-3-1 at American Airlines Center.
Seattle (10-21-4) got another strong night from Jared McCann who scored his career best 15th goal of the year and added an assist for his second straight multi-point game. Philipp Grubauer got the start and made 20 saves but didn’t get a ton of help from the guys in front of him.
“Enough’s enough here,” McCann said. “Everybody’s getting pretty frustrated. We know, in order for us to win, we have to play a full 60 minutes and it hasn’t been the case lately.”
Trailing 3-1 in the second period, McCann gave the Kraken some life when he buried a shot after Jordan Eberle made a nice cross-crease pass to him. After a lackluster first period, the Kraken continued to push after cutting the lead, but an ill-advised pass along the boards was intercepted, and the Stars found Pavelski for a tap-in goal at 18:37 of the second to make it 4-2.
“It sucks to lose,” Calle Jarnkrok, who scored a goal Wednesday, said. “You play this game to win games and winning games is fun. We’re pissed off tonight but we have a new chance tomorrow to win a hockey game and hopefully we can get two points tomorrow.”
Bad first period put Kraken behind the eight-ball
“Number one, this team starts really good in their building,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “We didn’t match that in the first… It’s tough to come back from behind in this league.”
The good Dallas start came in the first minute when Jason Robertson’s shot at 50 seconds was deflected by Roope Hintz and Kraken defender Mark Giordano into the net to make it 1-0 early. Hintz was credited with the goal, but Robertson extended a point streak to 12 straight games with the assist.
Seattle got a push back and tied the game at 1-1 at 8:25 with a power-play goal by Jarnkrok.
The period was all Dallas after that, however.
Pavelski knocked a rebound off the end boards into a wide open net to make it 2-1 at 11:00. On the play, Grubauer was screened by Jamie Oleksiak and Hintz. He never saw the original shot and was not able to react to get over on Pavelski.
At 13:01, Pavelski got it to Robertson in close and he would score with a backhand on a 5-on-3 power play to make it 3-1.
“There’s always momentum shifts in hockey games,” Hakstol said. “There’s going to be back and forth. They won the first period and that’s on us. We know this team comes out hard in the first and they beat us in the first period.”
How bad was the first for the Kraken? Dallas took 60% of five-on-five shot attempts and created six even-strength scoring chances to none for Seattle.
The Kraken found their legs in the second period. McCann’s second goal in as many games cut the lead to 3-2 at 5:38.
Seattle got looks but couldn’t find the equalizer and then were done in by a mistake. Ryan Donato’s blind, backhand pass around the net and up the boards was picked off by Esa Lindell, which set up Pavelski’s second to make it 4-2.
Jani Hakanpaa scored on the empty net at 18:18 to erase any doubt and make it 5-2.
“Our second and third periods were, effort wise, real good,” Hakstol said. “We turned the game, made a mistake at the end of the second to give the two-goal lead back. I have no issue at all with our effort and compete in the second and third periods, but we didn’t match them in the first.”
Grubauer’s night not as bad as the numbers look
When you look at his stat sheet, you see that Grubauer allowed four goals for the second straight game. But, those numbers are misleading when you look at how the goals were scored.
The first two Dallas goals came after the Kraken were guilty of icing the puck and setting up face-offs in the Seattle end. The first goal deflected off two players, including one of his own, and in. The second goal he was screened, partially by one of his own players, and was unable to see the shot.
Dallas’ third goal was on a 5-on-3 power play and the fourth came after a bad pass by Donato that caught the Kraken defense out of position.
There’s no question that Grubauer has struggled this season, but it’s on nights like Wednesday where it’s evident that not all the goals are completely his fault.
+ Shots were even at 25 apiece Wednesday.
+ The Kraken were without center Morgan Geekie who is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Max McCormick stepped into the lineup.
+ Joe Pavelski became the first NHL player age 37 or older to record at least five points in a game since Teemu Selanne (40 years, 268 days) on March 28, 2011 (3-2=5).
+ Seattle has little time to lick its wounds and will be back in action Thursday against the St. Louis Blues.