DALLAS – When one of the last five teams is alive, the noise gets a little louder. Criticism hits a little harder. And when does the journey reach a crossroads in Game 7? The spotlight shines brighter.
Luckily for the stars, these are the moments Jake Oettinger lives for. After it was reported to Pete DeBoer that Oettinger complimented the Stars’ head coach’s calm demeanor, DeBoer spilled that right onto his goalkeeper.
“I appreciate that from Jake, which is to me, our calming presence as a team, and how he plays,” DeBoer said after the Stars’ 2-1 victory over the Kraken in Game 7.
Gamers love promoting clichés, especially this time of year. This is especially high in Game 7s when you hear things like nothing happened in matters of the past – not earlier in the series, not during the regular season and certainly not in years past. It’s the right thing to say in front of a microphone and it’s not complete bullshit. It’s the kind of tunnel vision you want your players to have, ensuring the great moment isn’t underestimated.
it’s not like that completely TRUE.
“I don’t think experience can ever hurt you, in any aspect of life,” Tyler Seguin said Monday morning. “I think you can take that for what it’s worth with this[Game 7]too.”
DeBoer was 6-0 in Game 7s of his NHL coaching career prior to Monday. These games from years past don’t pit Xs and Os or Jimmys and Joes (well, except for one Joe) against the Kraken but the experience doesn’t hurt. DeBoer’s Game 7 chess move began early in the second period of Game 6 in Seattle when he pulled Oettinger after the Kraken scored their fourth goal of the game to take a 4-1 lead.
Oettinger wasn’t the main reason for this deficit, but DeBoer’s move was multifaceted. He wanted to try to stir his team up right now, but he also wasn’t oblivious to the fact that an important elimination game was looming. As DeBoer mentioned earlier this season as well, Oettinger is a locker room favorite. In addition to the basic fact that it’s their job, players want to play hard for Oettinger. When DeBoer pulled Oettinger in Game 6, it was a message to the rest of the team. They let go of the goalkeeper.
“Obviously Jackie gives us a chance to win every night,” said Wyatt-Johnston. “I mean, he doesn’t even give us a chance to lose sometimes. He’s great. We want to help him as much as we can because he saves us a lot, makes some incredible saves and helps us out. It was definitely nice to try to play a little better against Jiki and help support him a little bit more.” .
Oettinger ate that Game 6 loss onto the stat sheet, which was instantly star-studding because DeBoer’s flawless Game 7 record leads the way. Going into Game 7 on Monday, Oettinger is an impressive 21-1-3 in games after a loss this season, including four shutouts and a . 933 save percentage. During his career, Oettinger was 40-11-5 after a loss with a . 919 save percentage.
On Monday, Oettinger was 17 seconds shy of a Game 7 shutout, stopping 22 of 23 shots taken with a save percentage of 0.957.
“It’s part of the situation,” Oettinger said. “As a goalkeeper, a lot of times you get a lot more praise than you deserve and a lot more criticism than you deserve sometimes. If I were to read into everything bad that was said about me when I played badly, I think I would drive myself crazy. It’s a tough situation. I have Goalkeeper coach (Jeff Reese), a big family, a lot of people who believe in me. I believe in myself and I know that when I’m not playing my best I can shake it off and regroup and play great the next night. That’s what the playoffs are about. I won’t We’re our best selves every night, me especially. If that happens, you’ve got to put the group back together and get rid of it. I’ve done that so far.”
Star-Kraken Handshake Lines pic.twitter.com/H5lO4xm4sW
– Saad Youssef (@ SaadYousuf126) May 16, 2023
DeBoer said of Oettinger: “His mental strength, I told him this morning at a pre-ski game, he’s the best goaltender I’ve ever had the chance to coach. When I say back, it’s when our team has or he’s had a night off, the next night he’s locked and loaded and ready to go.” I knew he was going to do it again tonight, and he has. That’s the backbone of what we’re about. He’s elite, and I’m glad he’s getting a few days off because we’ve been riding him hard here.”
To understand Oettinger’s resilience, one must understand the standard he sets for himself, which is higher than anyone else has for him. A perfect example of this is Oettinger’s answer to the first question he was asked after the victory about the roller coaster of emotions in the series and how it felt to come out of Game 7 with a win.
“I don’t think I had the best streak of my career, but it shows how good our team is,” Oettinger said. “I feel like the best hockey is still ahead of me. It shows how good a team we have. That’s hockey, it’s ups and downs. You think you might get out of it and the next thing you know you’re going to the conference finals. I’m sure there’s more ups and downs ahead of us,” And ahead. I’m just going to take what I learned from this series and use it to my advantage.”
When the Stars won big in Game 5, they did so by keeping Team Kraken out of the perimeter. Seattle ran the clock but didn’t have any quality chances. Game 6 was the exact opposite. The Kraken team tweaked and broke the Stars’ defensive structure and got right into Oettinger’s workspace. They flooded the hole and crease and, as a result, scored easily. The stars responded not only by restoring their structure but also matching the Kraken in their power, namely speed.
“I thought they were half a step quicker in everything they did tonight,” Kraken coach Dave Huxtol said.
The Stars had no problem sparking the offense, though finishing was a different story. Evgeny Dadonov helped set the tone with some relentless foreclosure checks. Jimmy Benn and Johnston got some good looks early on, as did Miro Heiskanen.
Luke Glendening, back in the lineup in place of Ty Dellandrea, won against a key defensive zone on a Kraken strong play late in the first period that soon led to Roope Hintz’s field goal opportunity. At halftime, the Stars had 74.91 percent goals expected, according to Natural Stat Trick, and were controlling the pace of the game but the score was 0-0.
When the Kraken played Game 7 in Colorado two weeks ago, the Avalanche finished the first period with 70.57 percent expected goals. In the second period of that game, the Kraken had a 2-1 lead on the scoreboard and were facing high-risk chances to score.
In the second half on Monday, Jason Robertson quickly fired home early before Seguin and Mason Marchment had a few minutes of great chemistry as a duo. Hintz, again, had another first-class chance but Philipp Grubauer held him back.
Finally, at the end of the period, Hintz broke through on an unassisted goal.
“The first goal was decisive,” said Debor. “I liked how we started, I liked the way we played. I thought we got better. I liked our first period, I liked our start. I thought the second period we really went up to another level. The first goal is crucial. If you don’t get that first goal, the momentum can change quickly.” Big, despite all the good things you’re doing. Big goal for the guy (Hintz) who’s been clawing our way the whole playoffs. He was a beast again out there today. He could have had two or three. He was great.”
Speaking of clutches, the Stars held their one-goal lead for half of the third period. That’s when Johnston, who turned 20 on Sunday, applied a dagger and sent AAC into a frenzy.
Twenty years old WYATT JOHNSTON!!!! pic.twitter.com/ta85lkGpxY
– Dallas Stars (DallasStars) May 16, 2023
“What a goal,” said Debor. “It’s not just a goal. It’s a goal – it’s hard to explain. I don’t know how many guys would think to do it, it doesn’t matter that you pull it off and score like that on that play. It’s an elite, world-class play by one of the youngest players in the league. Just phenomenal.” “.
Johnston’s first goal of the postseason came in Game 6 against the Minnesota Wild, and was the game-winning goal in a first-round series. With the Kraken scoring late on Monday, Johnston once again scored the game-winning goal in the series-clinching game.
Game 6 was an ordeal for the Stars. In Game 7, the entire team responded, from driving DeBoer to concrete moves, such as running back in Colin Miller’s Jani Hakanpää on the blue line (officially with a lower body injury) and Glendening on the fourth line. There was typical greatness to Heiskanen, who looked like his usual over 32 minutes of play, and Hintze added to his points total that is nearing the top of the league. There was the profound contribution of the likes of Johnston and the stellar play of Dadunov, Seguin, Marchman and others. Then there was Oettinger, a workhorse who once again responded to the loss with a resounding victory.
It all accounts for a Star win in the biggest game of the year, and a date with the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Final.
(Photo of Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger standing in front of the Kraken in Game 7: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
“Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner.”
Diamond Sports stops broadcasting Padres games; MLB to take over the flow
Phillies vs. Mets: Ranger Suarez rebounds but the Phillies bat is silenced by Kodai Senga
Tyler Boyd of the Bengals – I would beat the Chiefs if I was healthy