The Dallas Stars and Seattle Kraken met in Game 7 on Monday tonight to decide their second-round series in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Coming into this game, the story of this series was offense. Each starting goaltender had pulled at least once in the first six games, and several games saw up to nine total goals scored. Game 7, however, was tightly contested.
The first half of the game was played without a goal, as both Jake Oettinger and Philipp Grubauer stopped nine shots in the first period. Dallas began to carry the play in period two, and Grubauer kept things scoreless for a while, but Roope Hintz finally broke through with his ninth goal of the playoffs.
The Stars added to their lead in the third period, while Oettinger pitched a shutout for over 59 minutes. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored in the waning seconds of the game to give the Kraken a glimmer of hope, but it was too little too late.
The Stars eliminated the Kraken in a defensive Game 7.
In the end, the Dallas netminder made 22 saves to hold Seattle to one goal, clinching a Game 7 victory and the Stars’ second trip to the Western Conference Final since 2020.
It took seven games, but we finally got a game that was dominated by defense. Both teams had played solid defense throughout the regular season, and while it seemed like they were destined for another offensive showdown, this 2-1 game seems fitting for these teams.
Seattle’s second NHL season comes to a close with its first playoff appearance and series win in the books. As for the Stars, this Game 7 win sets up a rematch of the 2020 Western Conference Final against the Vegas Golden Knights, one that Dallas won.
They should feel confident as they head to round three. The offense has shown out in the postseason, while the team knows it can play defense at a high level. Dallas has proven that it can win in multiple ways, and it demonstrated that in round two.
This was a highly entertaining series filled with many twists and turns. At the end of the day, it’s the Dallas Stars that are moving on.