NHL Playoff Recaps: Stars take down Kraken in Game 7

NHL Playoff Recaps:  May 15, 2023

Jake Oettinger made 22 saves and Roope Hintz and Wyatt Johnston scored to lead the Dallas Stars to a 2-1 win over the visiting Seattle Kraken in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal series on Monday.

The Stars advance to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference finals, with Game 1 in Las Vegas on Friday.

Dallas is in the conference finals for the first time since the 2020 playoffs, when the Stars lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final.

NHL Playoff Recaps: Stars advance

nhl playoff recaps
May 15, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (14) shakes hands with Seattle Kraken center Jaden Schwartz (17) celebrate after the Stars defeat the Seattle Kraken in game seven of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Hintz opened the scoring after a takeaway at 15:59 of the second period, tallying his fourth goal of the series and ninth of the postseason. Hintz has 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) in the 2023 playoffs, the most of any player still active.

Johnston added the eventual game-winning goal at 12:48 of the third period. A long pass down the ice wasn’t called for icing, leaving Johnston alone to fire a canny shot over Philipp Grubauer’s shoulders for the rookie forward’s fourth goal of the playoffs.

Oliver Bjorkstrand scored with 18 seconds remaining in regulation to give Seattle a late chance and to spoil Oettinger’s shutout bid.

Oettinger struggled to an .865 save percentage through the series’ first six games, and he was pulled after 24:23 of action in Game 6. However, the goaltender found his form at the best possible time, stopping 22 of 23 shots in Game 7.

Despite the disappointing result on Monday, it was still an outstanding season for the Kraken in their second NHL campaign. Seattle exceeded expectations just in reaching the playoffs, and the Kraken then eliminated the Colorado Avalanche in seven games in the first round.

Grubauer stopped 26 of 28 shots, keeping Seattle close despite waves of offensive pressure from the Stars.

The Kraken and Stars combined for 49 goals in the first six games, but scoring was much more limited in Game 7, despite multiple close chances. Both teams had two players (Dallas’ Miro Heiskanen and Jason Robertson, Seattle’s Bjorkstrand and Jamie Oleksiak) hit the goalpost on near-miss shots.

–Field Level Media