After two days off for the first time since the start of the postseason, the Kraken looked rejuvenated in Sunday’s Game 3 against the Stars and rolled to an easy 7-2 win.
“We hoped [the two days] would refuel us, recharge the batteries a little bit,” said coach Dave Hakstol. “We played a lot of hockey coming into Game 2, and we looked like a tired team.”
Indeed, the Kraken appeared to have a full tank Sunday, and they used the extra energy to snag a 2-1 series lead.
The seven goals for Seattle were unsurprisingly scored by seven different players—the team’s M.O. all season—and the bulk of the damage was done in a wild second period in which the Kraken hung five goals on Jake Oettinger and sent him to the bench.
Here are our Three Takeaways from a dominant 7-2 Kraken win over the Stars in Game 3.
Takeaway #1: That’s Kraken hockey, baby
If there’s one game that encapsulates the success of the Kraken this season, it might be Game 3 against the Stars. We’ve talked ad nauseam about the depth of the team and how anybody in the lineup can produce offensively on any given night. Well, pretty much everyone stepped up Sunday, with 12 different players registering at least a point and seven different players scoring goals.
The goals didn’t start flowing right away for Seattle, and most of the first period was tight checking. But the Kraken looked fast and physical and had a good push at the end of the frame to help set the tone for the second period.
“The first period, we liked our pace,” said Jordan Eberle. “We were skating, I think that’s the biggest thing. We just needed to keep going and find a way.”
Once the dam was broken 2:10 into the second, the goals flowed like wine, and the players instinctively flocked to the scoresheet like the salmon of Capistrano. The Kraken piled on four goals in just six minutes and 12 seconds, and—after Mason Marchment got the Stars on the board at 12:40—put the game well out of reach with a fifth goal by Eeli Tolvanen to close out the period at 5-1.
“That doesn’t happen very often,” said Hakstol. “That’s great momentum in the building. We were able to harness some of that energy in the building.”
Eberle got things started with a fortuitous bounce off Miro Heiskanen’s face, which could be a factor moving forward in this series. Tye Kartye took a hard shot from the top of the slot, which deflected up and bloodied Heiskanen. While Heiskanen was down on the ice, Eberle had all day to deke around Jake Oettinger.
Heiskanen left the game with a towel over his face and looking wobbly on his skates. If he misses more time moving forward, that could be a big factor in this series, as he is the Stars’ best defenseman.
Once that happened, Alex Wennberg, Carson Soucy, and Matty Beniers all scored in quick succession, and it was a comfortable stroll from there for Seattle.
This win felt way easier than the knock-down, drag-out victory varietals Seattle has experienced in these playoffs. Maybe the Kraken should try to score seven goals and only give up a couple every game?
Takeaway #2: Jake Oettinger looked downright beatable
Coming into this series, there was plenty of concern among Kraken fans about how Seattle would fare against world-class netminder Jake Oettinger. The 24-year-old goalie was stellar in the Stars’ first-round series against Minnesota to earn the win, and that came after he almost single-handedly beat the Flames in the first round last year.
In two of three games against the Kraken, Oettinger has allowed five goals, and in Game 3, he only played 40 minutes before being replaced by Scott Wedgewood in the third period.
All five goals scored against Oettinger Sunday came in the second period on just eight Kraken shots in the frame. In all, he stopped 12 of 17 on the night for a .706 save percentage, only a hair worse than Wedgewood’s .750 in the third period.
Once the ball got rolling in that middle period, Oettinger looked rattled. With the Kraken leading 2-0, Soucy made a shifty move around Mason Marchment, then had a clear lane to the net. He skated down to the left face-off dot and shot five-hole on Oettinger. who was very slow to react, allowing the puck to go through the wickets. When Beniers scored from distance 1:52 later, Oettinger’s demeanor was visibly sour.
As the Kraken players were torching Oettinger at one end, Philipp Grubauer was continuing his outstanding play at the other end, stopping 16 of 17 Stars shots in the second. It’s hard to believe that in that period in which the Kraken outscored the Stars 5-1, they actually got outshot 17-8.
“The reality is, the second period, they had a lot of opportunities as well,” said Hakstol. “We gave up way too much off the transition and not taking care of the puck, but the positive is the things that we did offensively and executed and found a way to build that lead.”
When Seattle broke down, Grubauer was there to bail out his mates, as he has been throughout this run. Oettinger, meanwhile, did little to help his team on this night.
Takeaway #3: Marchment / Soucy battle heating up
Mason Marchment drew the ire of Kraken fans in Game 1 after he tripped Morgan Geekie, then cross checked and punched him while Geekie was down on the ice. In Game 2, he ran his face into Soucy’s shoulder to draw an interference penalty, then flopped to the ice and got called for embellishment. Soucy cost Seattle in that moment by going after Marchment and slashing him on the ankle, earning an extra penalty that led to a Dallas goal.
When Game 3 started, it was apparent that Soucy hadn’t forgotten about Marchment’s antics from Games 1 and 2. Early in the game, Soucy stepped up in the neutral zone and blasted Marchment with a high (but clean) hit that sent the Dallas forward flying.
Then, after Soucy walked around Marchment and made him look silly en route to scoring his first goal of the playoffs, Soucy skated by the Dallas bench and appeared to have some words for Marchment.
Marchment did answer with a goal of his own, but it was too little, too late for Dallas. Keep an eye on this ongoing quarrel as the series progresses.
Daniel Sprong left Sunday’s Game 3 in the second period and did not return. Hakstol didn’t have an update on the Kraken forward after the game. Signs seem to be pointing toward a Game 4 return for Jared McCann, though, so if Sprong is out moving forward, that could make lineup decisions relatively easy. Still, Sprong has been a big part of this team’s depth, so here’s hoping his injury is nothing serious.