SEATTLE — Prior to leaving Dallas, Tyler Seguin stressed focusing on Game 6, the first chance the Stars had to eliminate the Seattle Kraken in the Western Conference Second Round.
“The mindset is never, you know, having that back-pocket Game 7,” the forward said Friday. “When you have a chance to eliminate someone, you want to bring everything you can to that game and bring your best game and see what happens.”
The Stars didn’t bring their best Saturday. Not even close. So, Game 7 it is.
“We knew they were going to come out fast. Just didn’t help ourselves turning pucks over,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said after a 6-3 loss to the Kraken in Game 6 at Climate Pledge Arena.
Game 7 is at American Airlines Center in Dallas on Monday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVAS).
“When the other team is hungry like that in an elimination game and you’re on the road, you’ve got to at least be the smarter team with the puck, and I thought we compounded our mistakes and fed their energy in the first period,” DeBoer said. “Having said that, it’s a tough time of year to beat any team three games in a row. We won four, we won five, it’s a big ask. So, it’s the reason you play a whole season is to have home ice in a Game 7 like this. We’ve earned that, and hopefully we’ll use that to our benefit.”
[RELATED: Complete Stars vs. Kraken series coverage]
Sure, but that doesn’t make the Stars’ Game 6 performance any less frustrating.
Dallas forward Roope Hintz had a great scoring chance six seconds into the game, but after that, the first period was dominated by the Kraken, who outshot the Stars 16-5.
It was a similar start to Game 5 when Seattle outshot Dallas 14-5 in the first period. There was just one big difference: Despite the shot disparity, the Stars had a 2-0 lead after the first in Game 5.
Joe Pavelski scored his eighth goal of this series for Dallas. Mason Marchment, who missed Game 5 after taking an elbow to the head from Seattle forward Alex Wennberg in the first period of Game 4, scored his fourth goal of the season. Joel Kiviranta also scored.
The good moments, however, were few and far between. After Marchment’s goal tied the game 1-1 9:30 into the first period, the Kraken scored the next three goals.
“I mean, they keep coming at you in waves,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “Give them credit. Seems like when they get one, they get going. So, I don’t know.”
The fourth, scored by Seattle forward Tye Kartye 4:23 into the second period, was the last one Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger would face. He allowed four goals on 18 shots before Scott Wedgewood replaced him.
“I mean, we didn’t give him any help, and this is a grind,” DeBoer said. “At that point, we’re looking for a spark for the team, looking down the road to make sure Jake’s the fresher goalie for Game 7, all those things come into play.”
A lot of Stars had tough nights but likely none rougher than the defense pair of Esa Lindell and Jani Hakanpaa, who were on the ice for five of Seattle’s goals.
“I mean, everything went sideways today. I don’t know if I’ve played that bad for a long time,” Lindell said. “I just felt they got odd-man [rushes], won battles, all the things we’ve been good at before went sideways today.”
The slow start, the miscues, some bad luck (top-line forwards Pavelski and Jason Robertson hit posts early in the third period), it just wasn’t happening for the Stars on Saturday.
They have home-ice advantage for Game 7. As DeBoer and some of his players said, this is why they worked to get the great record, get the higher seed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and get that potential Game 7 at home.
Nevertheless, it stings they didn’t finish the job in Game 6.
“I think that kind of game just can’t happen at this time of the year. Just so disappointed at myself too,” Lindell said. “Only thing now is to move on, get ready for Game 7 and be way, way better in that one.”