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All those Stars: Kraken visit Dallas

The second half of a road back-to-back isn’t the easiest way to get back on track, but it’s what we’ve got

NHL: JAN 12 Kraken at Stars Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What: Seattle Kraken at Dallas Stars

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

When: Saturday, April 23, 2022; 5:00pm PDT

Wait, who are we playing? Landlubber’s Guide to the Dallas Stars

Coverage

Local TV: ROOT Sports NW

Streaming: ESPN+

Local Radio: 950 AM KJR

SiriusXM: Channel 221

Last Time Out

The Kraken got the better of the Stars on the last go around with a 4-1 victory in Seattle. This came at a time when the Kraken had just lost three of their last four, while Dallas was in a heated playoff race with the Vegas Golden Knights for a wild card spot in the West. And wouldn’t you know it, that playoff race is still undecided as of this writing.

Jared McCann opened the scoring with his first and so far only shorthanded goal of the year last time just a few minutes into the game. They played scoreless hockey for the next 40 minutes, until Ryan Donato got the eventual game winner with a highlight reel goal. Chris Driedger saved 29 of 30 shots and got the win.

Stats, Streaks, & Droughts

A brutal loss to Minnesota on Friday night notwithstanding, the Kraken have been playing some very good hockey recently. Seattle has as many wins as losses over the last 6 weeks, their best stretch all season. Some of that is due to the guys that have been around for a while — Jared McCann has points in four straight, and Vince Dunn has six assists in his last five games. Dunn is one point shy of setting a new career high point total. But another huge part of the recent team success is due to the new faces. Matty Beniers now has a point in each of his first five games and looks every bit the guy we hoped he’d become. Then there’s Daniel Sprong, who has scored five goals of his own since making his Kraken debut on March 22 — the most goals among Kraken skaters in that span.

Things haven’t been so nice for the Stars recently. A loss to the Calgary Flames on Thursday extended their losing streak to three games, and they’ve now dropped six of their last nine. They’re still in playoff position as of now, but their next game against Vegas will likely tell us which club is going to make it to May and which will start golfing early.

Joe Pavelski is the hot hand in Dallas right now, with points in six of his last seven games. He’s one assist shy of 500 for his career.

Players To Watch

The aforementioned Pavelski leads the Stars with 77 points on the year, just two shy of his career-high. He’s one of the most dangerous players in the league when it comes to tips and deflections.

At the other end of the age spectrum is 22-year old Jason Robertson, who leads the Stars with 38 goals. He was the fastest Star to reach the 30-goal mark since Mike Modano in 1993-94.

On defense, they’ve got John Klingberg, who has been good for a 40 point season pretty much every year since entering the league.

Injuries, Illnesses, Additions, & Scratches

The Stars are without goaltender Braden Holtby at the moment, who has been dealing with a lower body injury since early March. Jake Oettinger has taken the brunt of the workload this season, but has had some ups and downs recently. He got the start on Thursday against the Flames, and is expected to get the call again tonight. Dallas will also be without forward Vladimir Namestnikov, who missed the past week with a lower body injury of his own.

For Seattle, there’s still no timetable on Jaden Schwartz returning, and at this point it’s safe to assume he’ll rest up the rest of the year along with fellow winger Brandon Tanev. Otherwise Seattle is pretty healthy. Haydn Fleury has missed two straight and hasn’t played since his fight against Ottawa, but with no injury reports on him there’s a good chance he’s back in the lineup tonight. Expect to see Chris Driedger in net for the second half of this back to back, especially with the rough night Philipp Grubauer had in Minnesota yesterday.

Odds & Ends

  • Seattle could get their fifth season-series win tonight if they defeat Dallas. They’ve also got series wins against the Canadiens, Predators, Sabres, and Panthers.
  • Yanni Gourde is just a goal away from scoring 100 for his career, a rare sight for an undrafted player.
  • Matty Beniers now needs a point in the next two games to tie a very specific Wayne Gretzky record
  • And finally, your draft lottery update: the Kraken are still third from the bottom in the league standings, with Montreal and Arizona seeming pretty far out of reach at this point. They’re still jockeying with Philadelphia and New Jersey for positions 3, 4, and 5, and could very well end up ahead of those teams by year’s end. Here’s a good breakdown of the odds of picking at each spot depending on where Seattle finishes the year.