4 Takeaways From Stars’ 4-2 Game 2 Win Over Kraken

After witnessing veteran Joe Pavelski score four goals in a losing effort on Tuesday night, the Dallas Stars hit the ice for Game 2 on Thursday, seeking redemption in their second-round series with the Seattle Kraken. 

Related: 4 Takeaways From Stars’ 5-4 Game 1 OT Loss to Kraken

Although the Stars looked flat during the first contest, failing to score on the man advantage while not being physical, they responded with a solid 4-2 win to knot the series at a game piece. As the teams leave the Lone Star State, the series becomes a best of five, with the next two games in Seattle. 

Here are four takeaways from Game 2.

Stars Expose a Philipp Grubauer Weakness: Five Hole Goals

As mentioned, Pavelski had all the goals for the Stars in Game 1, which went to overtime. Although he didn’t tally the game-winner, he provided all the offense, including two tip-in goals, while leading the team in shots on goal with six. Interestingly, nothing snuck through Philipp Grubauer‘s legs, as Pavelski found different ways to beat the Kraken goalie up high. During Game 2, the Stars collected another four goals, with two sliding right through Grubauer’s legs. 

Initially, Wyatt Johnston found the back of the net with a rebound shot through the pads. Then, Evgenii Dadonov scored the second goal of the contest by tucking in a wrap-around while Grubauer’s pad was tucked past the goalline. Eventually, Tyler Seguin’s goal in the third period was a tip, a redirected puck that went through the netminder’s legs as he moved across the crease.

Ultimately, it will be interesting to know if the Stars studied the game tape and noticed a trend in Grubauer’s mechanics and whether this will be something to watch for during the remainder of the series. Despite not giving up a goal along the ice in Game 1, Dallas may have exposed a weakness in their opponent’s game, which could result in more low shots moving forward. 

Stars Score First Again, Pick Up a Win This Time

In their opening-round matchup with the Colorado Avalanche, the wild card Kraken scored first in every contest, walking away with a series win in Game 7. Interestingly, when the team showed up in Dallas, the Stars took an early 1-0 lead before dropping a 5-4 contest in overtime. Ultimately, the Kraken trailed for the first time at the beginning of a game and rebounded with no problems.

After being scoreless in the first period of Game 2, the Stars again opened the scoring when Johnston gave the Stars a 1-0 lead. However, Dallas built on their lead this time and never lost control of the game, even when the Kraken scored late. 

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During their opening round series against the Wild, the Stars scored first in their four victories while giving up the first goal in the two defeats. Realistically, every team wants to score first and hold that lead to the end; however, the best teams find a way to win whether they are ahead or need to come from behind. Since the Kraken are used to scoring first, taking that part of their game away is an excellent way to find success and much-needed victories in a tight playoff matchup. 

Pavelski is on the Verge of Stanley Cup Playoff History (Again)

The media had a field day examining all the puck marks on Pavelski’s Game 1 stick when he became the oldest player in NHL history to score four goals in a game. After collecting another goal in Game 2, he raised his series total to five, one tally behind Teemu Selanne, who, at 40, had six goals in the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Joe Pavelski Dallas Stars
Joe Pavelski, Dallas Stars (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Ultimately, the Stars outdueled the Wild in the first round without Pavelski, who went down in Game 1 with a head injury. Although this Kraken team presents a different challenge, since they can get goals from every skater in the lineup, the Stars will rely on Pavelski to stay healthy as a critical member of their offensive game plan. 

Additionally, after a historic first game and a solid performance in Game 2 as an encore, Pavelski will be one of the reasons the Stars advance to the Western Conference Final. Whether he’s winning draws, tipping pucks, or being a veteran voice in the room, he is one of their most important players and on the verge of making history again by becoming the oldest player to score the most goals in a playoff series.  

Stars Control Game Pace With Faceoff Wins & Shots on Goal

In Game 1, the Stars were the better faceoff team, winning 58.2% of the draws compared to the Kraken’s 41.8%. Even though they had the lead in his category, they trailed in shots on goal, finishing the game behind Seattle 44-35, forcing Jake Oettinger to be busier than usual. 

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As mentioned, the Stars came out with a purpose in Game 2, dominating the circle to win 68.8% of faceoffs, leading to more puck possession and scoring opportunities. Furthermore, the team nearly doubled their hit total from the previous game, collecting 32, compared to the Kraken, who still played rough with 45 hits. 

However, the game was lopsided for the first two periods, with the Stars collecting three goals on 30 shots while the Kraken managed only one tally on 14 attempts. Although it appeared the Stars eased up towards the end, which resulted in a late Seattle goal with 13 shots in the final period, they played great initially, finding ways to generate offense off checks and faceoff wins. Ultimately, their performance improved over their first outing, so the series is now tied. Game 3 takes place Sunday at 7:30 PM EST.