It was a wire-to-wire thriller in the Lonestar State on Tuesday, as the Seattle Kraken defeated the Dallas Stars 5-4 in overtime. No lead was safe as the two teams found themselves in sudden death overtime to decide who walked away with two points. This was the third matchup in two weeks between the two Western Conference playoff contenders.
There was no shortage of talking points after this game, so let’s look at three takeaways from the Kraken’s overtime victory over the Stars.
3. Fourth Line Dominates First Period
The scoring began early for the Kraken as Brandon Tanev put them up 1-0 just 2:32 into the first period. It was a tone-setting goal that began a near-perfect road period against a very difficult opponent.
The first-period mid-air deflection was Tanev’s 14th goal of the season, which would have tied a career high if he hadn’t scored his 15th with just under six minutes remaining in the third. He also tallied an assist in the win and set a new career high in points with 32. This sounds like a broken record in the best way, as yet another member of the Kraken’s depth-scoring brigade has set new highs in 2022-23.
The other member of that group is Daniel Sprong, who tallied his 17th goal of the season and seems destined to hit 20 for the first time in his career. His goal marked a response after the Kraken conceded a power play goal to Stars defenseman, Miro Heiskanen. They pulled ahead 2-1 on Sprong’s marker and never looked back.
2. Overtime Thriller That Shouldn’t Have Happened
While there are few things as exciting as an overtime game, this is one that should never have made it to the extra period. Despite holding multiple two-goal leads, the Kraken were never able to pull away. Defensively, they made it awfully difficult on starting goaltender Joey Daccord, who was making his first NHL start since Nov. 1. He manned the net after it was announced Philipp Grubauer would be unavailable due to a non-COVID illness.
Daccord can’t really be faulted on any of the Stars’ goals, as most of them were either unlucky bounces or defensive breakdowns. The final three scored by the Stars can be credited to a forward getting into open space around the Kraken defenders.
When teams allow the opposition to get into the soft areas, it becomes that much harder for a goaltender to get to the puck. Ultimately, the Kraken escaped without totally beating themselves, but consistent defensive breakdowns are never part of a winning formula.
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Despite coughing up leads, Adam Larsson‘s overtime winner gave the Kraken a much-needed win after dropping four of their past five games. It was a happy ending to a somewhat turbulent evening, but the two points will be important regardless of how they were attained.
1. Finally Beat the Stars But Could See Them Again
This was the third meeting between the Kraken and Stars since March 11, but this game was different from the other two. Most notably, this was the only win the Kraken were able to snag in their season series.
The game between the two teams on March 11 was a near mirror image of last night’s victory, with the clear difference being the loss the Kraken suffered in that game. Both games featured a late tying goal by the Stars, although last night’s with less than a second on the clock was a bit more dramatic. Both ended in overtime, with Jason Robertson winning the first matchup, and Larsson closing out this one.
On March 13, the Kraken suffered a more lopsided loss to the Stars, dropping that contest 5-2. While they failed to win the season series, they ended it on a winning note. That said, it isn’t unlikely that these two teams meet again under different circumstances.
With the Kraken hovering around the first wild-card spot, they would play the lower of the top two seeds in the conference. As it stands right now, that would mean a first-round date with the Stars. Much is left to be decided, but these two teams could find themselves playing with much higher stakes in just under one month’s time.
With only 12 games remaining in the Kraken’s regular season, every point counts. Getting that extra one to remain two points up on the Jets in the wild-card race was a massive positive after a rough stretch caused them to lose ground.
Now, the Kraken head to Nashville to play two games against the Predators on Thursday, March 23, and Saturday, March 25. With playoff implications on the line for both teams, fans are sure to get two very exciting matchups.