Stars Advance to NHL’s Western Finals

Dallas Stars player battles for the puck | Image by Dallas Stars, Twitter

10:40 p.m. Monday

Dallas survived a winner-take-all Game 7 against the Seattle Kraken with a 2-1 win at home on Monday night, advancing past the second round for the first time since reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2020.

Stars forward Roope Hintz broke the scoreless tie with 4:01 left in the second period, stealing the puck, gliding past the Seattle defense, and beating Philipp Grubauer with a high wrist shot for his ninth goal of the postseason.

Rookie forward Wyatt Johnston added the second goal as he beat Seattle defenders to a loose puck and sent a backhand over Grubauer’s shoulder.

Seattle’s Oliver Bjorkstrand made things interesting, beating Jake Oettinger with a backhand off the rebound to cut the deficit to one with 17.9 seconds left. Seattle got one last shot attempt off from the blue line, but Oettinger turned it away to preserve the win.

“I knew our group would respond like they have all year,” Stars Coach Pete DeBoer said as he met with the media after the game. “Individually and collectively as a team, they didn’t disappoint.”

Dallas advances to face the Vegas Golden Knights in a best-of-seven NHL series that begins Friday in Las Vegas.

9:34 p.m. Monday: Final horn

The Dallas Stars advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken on Monday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Dallas eliminated Seattle in the best-of-seven NHL second-round series, 4-3.

The Stars will play Las Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 on Friday night.

The Carolina Hurricanes will play the Florida Panthers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night.

6 p.m. Monday: Preview

The Dallas Stars host the Seattle Kraken in a winner-take-all Game 7 at the American Airlines Center on Monday night.

After a convincing 5-2 win in Game 5, Dallas had a chance to clinch the series on the road but fell 6-3.

The Kraken jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second period and added two more in the third. Dallas managed to climb back within two goals with around 12 minutes left but could not find success with the extra attacker, as Seattle’s Jordan Eberle stole the puck, split three defenders, and found the empty net for his second goal of the game, forcing the series to continue in Dallas.

“When the other team’s 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 in the first period,” Coach Pete DeBoer told the media after the loss.

“Having said that, [it’s a] tough time of year to beat any team three games in a row,” he continued. “We won four; we won five. It’s a big ask, and the reason you play all season is to have home ice in a game seven like this, and we’ve earned that, and hopefully, we’ll use it to our benefit.”

Monday’s game will be De Boer’s seventh Game 7 of his career, and he is 6-0 in the previous matchups, although he is not one to take the credit.

“The players decide the games this time of year; it’s not the coaches,” he told the media Monday morning. “I had some groups that rose to the occasion, some fortunate play, some great goaltending, [and] at least one of those was in double overtime. The players decide these things.”

Monday’s game is the fourth Game 7 for the Stars since 2019. All three previous Game 7’s went to overtime, and the team is 1-2 in those contests, with its only win coming in 2020 against the Colorado Avalanche.

Dallas last played in a seven-game series last year, losing to the Calgary Flames in the first round exactly one year ago to the day. The Stars have not won a Game 7 on home ice since the 2000 Western Conference Finals against Colorado.

The winner will travel to Las Vegas to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Finals for a chance to play for the Stanley Cup.

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