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Round 2 Game 4: Kraken vs Stars - Figured Out Oettinger

May 9, 2023, 6:26 PM ET [28 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Seattle Kraken Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
My first title of the first game against the Stars was "Figuring Out Oettinger," and revolved around the need for Seattle to figure out how to beat the elite Jake Oettinger if they had any hope of winning this series.

Well in Game 1 and Game 3 that was certainly the case as Seattle won both games, scoring 12 goals in those two games. Most impressive was that in each game there was no player who scored two goals.

This is why the Kraken are such a difficult team to play against. In the playoffs, it's common to see teams stack a line, defensive pair, or double team a top player or players to try and shut down where the main offense is generated. That can't happen against this Seattle team. Focus on Beniers? Eberle scores. Bjorkstrand? Schwartz pots one. Gourde? Enter Wennberg, or Tolvanen or any other player down the line. 16 different players have scored for the Kraken in these playoffs; that is the most of any of the remaining teams.

It's this endless amount of depth that seems to have the Stars panicked, trying to figure out how to set up their roster and defense to best protect their goaltender who is now looking very beatable. The Stars have tried to turn this series into a track meet and play a physical game at the same time, playing to their strengths; but Seattle has no issue playing that game too.

Tonight I expect the Stars to try and slow things down and find ways to try and keep Seattle in the corners and prevent them from playing their transition game. It's an excellent strategy but not one that seems to be able to get done against the Kraken thus far.

Some great news for Seattle is that Jared McCann is very close to returning. The forward is no longer wearing a non-contact jersey and might be in the lineup tonight as Hakstol was a little coy when asked about the forward.

McCann was the Kraken's best forward during the regular season and a key player in the Avalanche series. Having him return to the lineup would be a major boost for this team. If he returns I would still try and find a way to keep Tye Kartye in the lineup. The rookie has been excellent since coming in in lieu of McCann's injury and seems to have some real chemistry with Beniers. Even if Kartye slides down in the lineup I think he could still add the spark that he has in the six games he has played.

A win tonight puts the Kraken well on their way to advancing to the Western Conference Finals. This darkhorse run has been incredibly impressive and Seattle fans are loving it. Can't wait to see what the boys have in store for us tonight.

Thanks for reading.
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