Dallas Stars, Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz, Wyatt Johnston

3 Takeaways from Stars’ 5-2 Game 5 Win Over Kraken

The Dallas Stars are one win away from playing in the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2020, the year they challenged for the Stanley Cup, ultimately losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games. Now that the Stars are ahead of the Seattle Kraken 3-2 in their best-of-seven series, a win on Saturday afternoon will punch their ticket to the final four.

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Interestingly, Dallas took control of the series for the first time, thanks to a 5-2 win on Thursday night, becoming the first team to win two games in a row thus far. Even though the Kraken led the game with 31 shots, the Stars capitalized on their opportunities burying five goals on 21 shots, which included an empty-netter. 

Additionally, the Stars are following a similar pattern from their opening round series with the Minnesota Wild, who had a 2-1 lead after three games but never won again as Dallas advanced with three straight wins. However, before anyone gets ahead of themselves, the Kraken have proved they won’t go easy into the night, so it is one game at a time. With that in mind, here are some takeaways from Game 5 between the Stars and Kraken.

Stars Young Guns, Roope Hintz & Jason Robertson Came to Play

As the Stars headed into Game 4, with their season potentially on the line, many questions surrounded the play of Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson. Ultimately, Hintz ended up as the playoffs’ leading scorer after Round 1 with 11 points but had only collected an assist in Round 2. After going pointless again in Game 4, he responded with his fourth multi-point performance of 2023 with two goals and an assist in Game 5. 

Meanwhile, Robertson came into the second round with just seven points against the Wild, a decline from the 101 points he scored in 82 regular games. Although he collected an assist in Game 4, he had been quiet in the Kraken series until Game 5, when he tallied his first three-point game in the playoffs.

Of course, veterans Jamie Benn, Joe Pavelski, and Radek Faksa also got in on the action; however, the night belonged to the young guns, including Wyatt Johnston, who powered the Stars to within a game of the Western Conference Final. 

Stars Continue to Dominate in the Faceoff Circle

In the second round, the Stars were the second-best team with the man advantage in the playoffs, trailing only the Edmonton Oilers for powerplay goals. Interestingly, their dominance on the powerplay was a talking point heading into this series, but it quickly became an afterthought with just a single goal through the first three games. Although they collected two in Game 4, they didn’t capitalize on two opportunities in Game 5. 

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When listening to the announcers calling the game, they continue to talk about the potent Stars powerplay, which has been a non-factor in the series. Instead, there needs to be more talk about how dominant Dallas has been at winning faceoffs. 

Dallas Stars Roope Hintz Jamie Benn
Roope Hintz and Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)

Statistically, through 11 games so far, the Stars have yet to finish a game winning less than 51% of the draws and already have eight games with a win percentage over 56%. During Game 5, Dallas won 59.6% of the faceoffs, their second-highest total of the postseason, trailing only the 68.8% they won in Game 2. 

Thanks to veterans like Benn (60%) and Pavelski (68.6%), the Stars can gain possession of the puck after stoppages, which has led to significant portions of games where they control the pace of play. Of course, they have lost games even when they are thriving on the draws, but even in those losses, they have dominated for stretches. Continuing to win faceoffs is a significant reason they are 7-4 in the postseason, despite being outhit and outshot in games.

Stars Bend, But Don’t Break After Kraken Stage Comeback

In Game 1, the Kraken fell behind 2-1 early in the contest before scoring three straight goals to take a 4-2 lead, eventually winning in overtime. Then, when they were trailing 4-1 midway through the third period in Game 2, they got a goal to put doubt in the Stars’ minds. Luckily, Dallas held on and tied the series before a lopsided Kraken win in Game 3, with the game never in question by the end of the second period.

However, on home ice in Game 4 at Climate Pledge Arena, the Kraken fell behind 4-0 and mounted a comeback early in the third period, again raising doubts about the Stars’ capability of maintaining a lead. Eventually, they tacked on a couple of goals to tie the series (again) with a chance to go ahead in Game 5. 

During Thursday night’s pivotal Game 5 at American Airlines Center, Dallas jumped out to a 3-0 lead. However, the Kraken rallied to make things interesting heading into the third period, trailing by one goal, 3-2. Even though they managed ten shots on goal, the Stars scored a few insurance goals to remove any doubt fans may have had about the Kraken coming back. 

Moreover, the Kraken have advanced to the second round because of their ability to get goals from the entire lineup. Although the Stars have the same capabilities, the Kraken tend to score goals that leave everyone a little more anxious than they need to be. Now, with a chance to close out the series on Saturday, the Stars again showed they can handle a scrappy Seattle team, which plays until the final whistle. If there is a Game 7, it could come down to one team’s ability to come back and one’s inability to slow it down. 

Related: 4 Reasons Why the Dallas Stars Will Win the Stanley Cup

Historically, teams who have won Game 5 when a series is tied 2-2 have gone on to win the series 78% of the time, which means the odds are in the Stars’ favor as Game 6 takes place Saturday at 7:00 pm EST. 

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