The Dallas Stars will have a healthy line-up against the Seattle Kraken. Veteran forward Joe Pavelski participated in the morning skate on Tuesday and is expected to dress in Game-1.
Meanwhile, when asked about injured forward Jared McCann, Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol indicated his club’s leading scorer during the regular season is still out, not on the trip, and officially labelled as day-to-day. McCann was knocked out of Game-4 against the Colorado Avalanche on a late hit by defenseman Cale Makar.
The netminders will be Jake Oettinger for the Stars and Philipp Grubauer for the Kraken, who Hakstol says has had an entire body of work this season that’s better than most believe.
“He’s been more consistent than all of you think, the numbers maybe don’t show it, but “Grooby’s” had a pretty darn good year,” Hakstol said after the morning skate. “His numbers are now reflecting that and showing that, so I see it a little bit differently. I see him having had a year that has ramped up towards the playoffs and for sure he was a big part of our success in series number-one and our guys have confidence in him as we come into Game-1 of this series.”
That checks the most important box for the Kraken. Of course, the Stars can say the same thing with Oettinger, whose numbers are even more sterling than Grooby’s.
Three days off between games versus one day off between games. We brought up the topic on Monday and the coaches expanded on it for us on Tuesday. The Stars wrapped up their first round series win over the Minnesota Wild back on Friday night in six games while the Kraken just finished off the Avalanche on Sunday in seven.
“Rest is critical at this time of year, it’s the old line of rest versus rust. I think it’s the right amount of time for us. I feel good. I think we filled the tanks,” Stars head coach Pete DeBoer said Tuesday morning. “Our conversations have been around … we started slow in Game-1 against Minnesota, lost in double overtime. Then it really took us to Game-5 to kind of get the series back in our control. So we want to avoid that, you want a quick start, you want to grab the series as quickly as you can and that’s something we want to fix this time around.”
“It’s a quick turnaround time, it’s a quick mental switch, but I believe our guys made that mental switch already the night of Game-7,” Hakstol countered. “By the time guys walked out of the meal room after that night, the mindset switched.
“We had switched our focus on to this series, and you could see it just happened naturally with the players. It was later in the evening, but that’s the first thing that had to happen, and I think that’s the maturity of our group. Nobody was lingering on, you know how good it felt to win Game-7. I think guys enjoyed that for an hour or two and then flipped the switch, knowing that the focus had to come here and it would be a quick turnaround for us.”
Even with a positive mental approach, the Kraken won’t have the fresh legs the Stars possess. Physical fatigue is a factor and the home team in Game-1 will look to come out fast and furious. It appears that if Seattle can power through Games 1 and 2 in Dallas, they’ll be getting an extra day off before Game-3 in Seattle.
The schedule tentatively has Game 2 slated for this Thursday, Game-3 on Sunday at Climate Pledge Arena followed by Game-4 on Tuesday.
Puck drop for Game-1 is late, 8:30 pm local time which means 6:30 pm pacific time.