Wyatt Johnston, just after cutting his birthday cake and is no longer a teenager, despite the fact that his rookie season with the Dallas Stars, who are on their way to the Western Conference Final, was spent playing like one.
Johnston scored an important goal for the Stars in their 2-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken in Game 7 of the second-round series on Monday night, just one day after turning 20.
One of the league’s younger players made a “world-class play,” according to Stars coach Pete DeBoer. He’s been great the entire year. He’s a vital member of our team. It appears that he wants greater responsibility as we go deeper and become more dependent on him.
For the Stars, Roope Hintz also scored, while 24-year-old goalie Jake Oettinger made 22 stops while once again coming back from a setback.
Dallas will next face the Vegas Golden Knights, a team DeBoer coached in the past. Friday night in Las Vegas is Game 1 of the West final.
DeBoer increased his record in Game 7s to 7-0; this was the fourth different team he had guided to victory in the decider of a best-of-seven series that lasted a long time. The only other coaches who did that were Darryl Sutter and Scott Bowman.
The Stars won a Game 7 for the fourth time in five seasons; the others had all taken place away from home. Since making the Stanley Cup Final for the second consecutive season in 2000, the year after winning their lone championship, they hadn’t won a Game 7 at home.
The Stars lost to St. Louis 6-1 in the only other Game 7 they hosted at American Airlines Center in a second-round series in 2016.
When Johnston grabbed a puck that ricocheted off the back boards to the left of the Seattle goal with 7:12 remaining, he made it 2-0. The young player, who has participated in every game this year and lives with Joe Pavelksi’s family, then fired a shot that deflected off Phillip Grubauer’s shoulder and mask before finding the back of the net.
Two weeks after making 33 saves as Seattle defeated Colorado 2-1 in another Game 7 to eliminate the Stanley Cup champion from the previous year, Grubauer stopped 26 shots this time around.
With 4:01 remaining in the second period and his eighth playoff goal recorded as an unassisted scoring, Hintz extended the longest scoreless streak in this series.
With 17.6 seconds left, Oliver Bjorkstrand scored, keeping Oettinger from recording his second postseason shutout. In the Game 7 last month against the Avalanche, Bjorkstrand scored both goals.
Exactly one year ago, in another Game 7, Oettinger made 64 saves in a 3-2 loss at Calgary after Johnny Gaudreau’s overtime goal ended the first-round series.
After suffering defeats in this postseason, Oettinger improved to 5-0. On 18 shots, he gave up four goals during Saturday’s Game 6 in Seattle before being removed four and a half minutes later.
That is playoff hockey, yes. Although it wasn’t my best series of my career, Oettinger remarked, “it shows how strong of a team we are. “It’s ups and downs, and, you know, you think you might be out of it, and the next thing you know, you’re going to the conference final.”
The Western Conference Final will feature a rematch between Dallas and Las Vegas after a four-season absence. In the 2020 postseason, which was held in Toronto and Edmonton during the pandemic and featured games in the NHL’s bubble, the Stars defeated the DeBoer-coached Golden Knights in five games.
With a 6-3 victory at home on Saturday, the second-year Kraken had forced Game 7.
“We exerted all of our effort tonight”. “We couldn’t find our top gear. I think Dallas deserves a lot of credit for that. They partially responded to the game we played in Game 6. They pressured us after returning home and entering their building”.Coach Dave Hakstol of Seattle stated.
In the first period, Adam Larsson blocked four of Seattle’s 13 shots, including two in short succession just before Dallas’ lone power play. Eeli Tolvanen cross-checked the Stars captain in front of the net before Larsson stopped Jamie Benn’s attempt on a rebound after stopping Evgenii Dadonov’s shot.
Seattle then prevented the Stars from getting a shot on goal during the power play by blocking seven shots, despite the fact that they essentially kept the ball in their offensive zone the entire time.
Only eight more shots were blocked by the Kraken throughout the remainder of the contest.
When the Kraken had its first man-advantage later in the first period after Benn was punished for a high stick, Dallas had the lone shot, a short-handed attempt by Hintz.
Only three and a half minutes into the game, Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen got the puck past Grubauer, but it bounced off the crossbar and went out of play behind the goal.