The Dallas Stars are returning to the Western Conference Final for the second time in four seasons. On Monday, the Stars shut down the Kraken 2-1 to win Game 7 and received a sensational performance from goaltender Jake Oettinger.
The Stars opened the scoring courtesy of Roope Hintz late in the second period. Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, who had played a strong game up to that point, couldn't corral the puck in the neutral zone, and Hintz made the Kraken pay. Hintz went top shelf and beat Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer to give the Stars a 1-0 lead at the 15:59 mark of the second period.
The goal was Hintz's ninth goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and his fourth of the series. Hintz also registered four goals and two assists over the series' final four games.
This particular Game 7 proved to be a defensive battle, evident in the fact that there wasn't a goal through more than half of the contest. However, the Stars got some much-needed insurance in the final period.
At the 12:48 mark of the second period, rookie forward Wyatt Johnston scooped up a loose puck and tucked it over the shoulder of Philipp Grubauer to give the Stars a 2-0 lead. It was the fourth goal of the postseason for the 20-year-old Johnston.
While the two goals were impressive against a confident Grubauer, Oettinger added another spectacular performance to his Game 7 lore. The Stars goaltender turned aside all 21 of the 22 shots he faced in Game 7.
This came after Oettinger stopped 64-of-67 shots against the Calgary Flames in Game 7 of their opening-round series during the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. That marked the second-most saves in a Game 7 in NHL history, behind only Kelly Hrudey (73).
The Kraken added a goal at the 19:42 mark of the third period, thanks to Oliver Bjorkstrand, but it was too little, too late. Despite the loss, goalie Philipp Grubauer played extremely well as he recorded 26 saves.