Eberle scores 2 as Kraken outshine Stars 6-3, send series to deciding Game 7

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SEATTLE — For their first venture into the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Seattle Kraken are giving their fans quite the exciting, yet stressful experience.

Two playoff series. And now, a second Game 7.

“That’s all you can ask for These games are what makes playoff hockey fun,” Seattle’s Jordan Eberle said.

Eberle scored twice, Eeli Tolvanen had a goal and two assists, and the Kraken beat the Dallas Stars 6-3 on Saturday night to force a deciding Game 7 in their Western Conference semifinal series.

Tolvanen’s goal in the opening minutes of the second period gave Seattle a 3-1 lead. Rookie Tye Kartye scored his third of the playoffs beating Jake Oettinger with a wrist shot less than three minutes later, and the Kraken withstood several pushes by the Stars to send the series back to Texas.

“We were ready tonight. I feel like last couple games they’ve been maybe the ready team at the start,” Tolvanen said. “That was the big key today. All four lines were ready to play.”

Matty Beniers and Yanni Gourde each added a goal and an assist for Seattle, which is headed to the second Game 7 in its short playoff history after ousting defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado with a 2-1 win in the deciding game of the opening round. The Kraken are the sixth team in league history to go to a Game 7 in each of the franchise’s first two playoff series.

Philipp Grubauer stopped 20 shots for the win.

“We had a goal in mind. We wanted to make sure that we were still one of the six teams alive when we woke up tomorrow morning and have the opportunity to go and play a Game 7,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “We know the test. We know the challenge. It’ll be a big one, but we’ll be ready.”

Mason Marchment, Joe Pavelski and Joel Kiviranta scored for Dallas. Oettinger gave up four goals on 18 shots before he was pulled 4 1/2 minutes into the second period. Scott Wedgewood came on and stopped nine of the 10 shots he faced.

Game 7 will be Monday night in Dallas.

“I mean, their lives were on the line. They played desperate hockey and played a good game,” Dallas captain Jamie Benn said.

The Stars last played a Game 7 in the second round of the 2020 playoffs in the NHL bubble in Edmonton when Dallas beat Colorado 5-4 in overtime. This will be first Game 7 in Dallas since the second round in 2016, when Stars lost 6-1 to St. Louis after giving up three first-period goals.

Pavelski scored his 72nd career playoff goal and his eighth of the series when he redirected Miro Heiskanen’s shot from the point during a power play in the second period. Pavelski is tied with Alex Ovechkin for the most playoff goals among active players.

And he could have had more. Pavelski nearly added a second goal in the opening seconds of the third period, but his shot hit the post and Heiskanen’s rebound attempt slid wide of the goal mouth. Moments later, Jason Robertson’s shot from the slot hit the same post and ricocheted away from danger.

Seattle appeared to put a wrap on the win when Beniers finished a 2-on-1 off a pass from Eberle with his third playoff goal at 8:43 of the third period following a key penalty kill by the Kraken. But 16 seconds later Kiviranta tipped Thomas Harley’s shot from the point past Grubauer to pull the Stars back to 5-3.

It created an unnerving final few minutes for Seattle until Eberle’s empty-netter with 58 seconds left.

“We had nothing to lose, obviously backs against the wall,” Eberle said. “So we’re going to have the same effort in Game 7.”

Grubauer was excellent in goal for Seattle, especially in the second period when Dallas made a push. He had 11 saves in the period.

Oettinger was pulled after giving up Kartye’s goal and his 24 minutes, 23 seconds time on ice was the shortest start of his career.

Gourde gave Seattle the start it needed, following up his initial shot and beating Oettinger at 8:59 of the first period. Marchment scored 31 seconds later to pull the Stars even, but Eberle’s power-play goal at 16:46 of the period restored Seattle’s advantage.

“When the other team is hungry like that in an elimination game and you’re on the road, you got to be at least be the smarter team with the puck,” Dallas coach Pete DeBoer said. “I felt we compounded mistakes and fed their energy in the first period.”

Hintz has two goals, Pavelski scores again as Stars take 3-2 series lead over Kraken

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DALLAS – The Dallas Stars have their top line back together – and are a victory away from advancing to the Western Conference finals.

Roope Hintz had two goals and an assist, Joe Pavelski scored his seventh goal of the second-round series and Jason Robertson assisted on all the goals by his primary linemates in a 5-2 win over the Seattle Kraken in Game 5 on Thursday night.

“Our best players have to be your best players if you’re going to move through the playoffs,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “And you know, that line (and) Otter was great.”

Goalie Jake Oettinger had 29 saves for the Stars, who take a 3-2 lead into Game 6 on Saturday in Seattle.

It was Pavelski’s second game back with on the No. 1 line with Hintz and Robertson.

“On the same line a couple of years now, so whenever we get back together, everything comes natural,” Robertson said. “And in the playoffs we need that.”

Pavelski also had an assist on Hintz’s second goal, which ricocheted hard out of the net with 8:37 left for a two-goal lead, though play continued for nearly a half-minute before a replay review that confirmed the score. Radek Faksa added an empty-netter with 3:17 to go.

Hintz has eight goals and 10 assist in the Stars’ 11 games this postseason. Pavelski missed the last five games in their first-round series against Minnesota while in concussion protocol after a hit in Game 1.

When Pavelski returned in the opener against the Kraken, he scored all four of Dallas’ goals in a 5-4 overtime loss. He was then began on a different line, like he also did in Games 2 and 3.

Rookie center Wyatt Johnston also scored for the Stars, who are hoping to repeat the pattern from their opening-round series against Minnesota. They also lost that opener in overtime at home and were down 2-1 in the series before winning three in a row and wrapping up with a road win.

Down 2-0 only 5 1/2 minutes into the game, and 3-0 when Pavelski scored on an odd-man rush in the opening minute of the second period, the second-year Kraken cut the gap to 3-2 when Adam Larsson and Jared McCann scored in the second period.

“We spot them two right off the bat, You know, I thought for the most part, we were we were skating and we we we’re moving the puck … but you look at the scoreboard,” Kraken forward Jordan Eberle said. “I like the way that we fought back.”

McCann, their leading goal scorer with 40 in the regular season, got his first of the playoffs and became the 18th Kraken player to score this postseason. It was only his second game back after missing six in a row due to an injury after getting hurt on a late hit from Colorado’s Cale Makar early in Game 4 of the first round.

When Pavelski scored on a backhander in the opening minute of the second period, knocking in his own rebound, he extended his record for U.S.-born players to 71 career postseason goals.

That matched Sidney Crosby for the second-most career playoff goals by an active player, one behind Alex Ovechkin. Pavelski and Crosby are tied with Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier for 17th on the overall list.

Dallas was up 1-0 when captain Jamie Benn gathered a blocked puck behind the net and made a quick pass in front to Johnston. Robertson, who in the regular season became the first 100-point scorer for Dallas, had assists on the next three goals even though his own goal drought stretched to six games.

Hints got his first goal with a top-shelf shot from the top of the left circle over the shoulder of Phillip Grubauer, who stopped 16 shots.

“We gave them the opportunities that they had,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “The first one, it’s just a quick play that we kind of stab at instead of being able to kind of take command of the puck and make a play on that, and the second one off transition.”


There was a moment of silence and reflection observed before the national anthem for the city of Allen and the victims of a mass shooting at a crowded outdoor shopping mall last Saturday about 30 miles from the arena. Players from both teams wore “Allen Strong” decals on their helmets. It was the first time the series was back in Dallas since the shooting in which eight people were killed and seven others were wounded during the four-minute rampage before the shooter was killed by a police officer.

Pavelski scores again, Stars beat Kraken 4-2 to even series

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DALLAS – Joe Pavelski wasn’t alone scoring in his second game back, and the Dallas Stars got even in their first-round series against Seattle.

“Everybody was good,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “In Game 1, Joe Pavelski was great. Tonight, we didn’t have any passengers.”

Pavelski scored his fifth goal in two games since returning from concussion protocol, getting an assist from Wyatt Johnston, his 19-year-old rookie housemate who also scored a goal. Evgenii Dadonov added a nifty wraparound goal and Tyler Seguin also scored and had an assist for the Stars in their 4-2 win over the Kraken on Thursday night.

“It’s been a weird few weeks at the Pavelski household,” Johnston said. “I’m just trying to do my best to learn off of Joe. I mean, just kind of seeing what he’s done in these these two games. It’s pretty unbelievable.”

In the Stars’ 5-4 overtime loss in Game 1, Pavelski scored all four of their goals. That was the 38-year-old forward’s first game since banging his head hard on the ice after a big hit in the opener of the Minnesota series April. 17.

But just as they did in the first round against Minnesota – this time with Pavelski – the Stars bounced back from an overtime loss at home in the series opener and got even before hitting the road.

Game 3 is Sunday night in Seattle.

“We didn’t get to our game long enough tonight at any point in time,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “We had a couple of spurts. We were fine in the first period, you knew the first couple of shifts were going to be a momentum push by them.. … We didn’t generate a whole lot.”

Jake Oettinger had 25 saves for the Stars. Philipp Grubauer stopped 33 shots.

Before Pavelski’s latest goal, Tye Kartye got the Kraken within 2-1 on a break when he took a long pass off the boards from Vince Dunn and got the shot around defenseman Miro Heiskanen to score.

Jordan Eberle also scored for the Kraken.

Johnston, who has lived with Pavelski’s family this season, set up his mentor’s power-play goal when he initially whiffed at the puck before whipping around and sending it into the laid-out stick of Grubauer. Pavelski was there for the rebound and put the Stars up 3-1 with 3:03 left in the middle period.

“It was pretty cool to be able to have an assist on his goal,” Johnston said. “Just a cool moment.”

Johnston’s second career playoff goal came right after the end of a power play earlier in the second period for 1-0 lead. His 24 goals in the regular season tied for the NHL rookie lead.

Colin Miller had taken the shot from the top of the circle to the right of the net after he had gotten a cross-ice pass from Max Domi from the opposite circle. Johnston initially got his blade on the puck, knocking in his own rebound after it ricocheted off Grubauer’s chest.

Dadonov, a trade deadline addition, got his fourth goal of the playoffs when he skated around the net and sent the puck sliding across the line – and finally over it – for a 2-0 lead and the middle of their three goals in the second period.

“They pressed hard. I think they played a lot more together than we did, and that’s where we saw ourselves get exposed,” Dunn said. “I think we made the game a lot harder than it needs to be on each other.”

Seguin put the Stars up 4-1 with his fifth goal this postseason, the first at even strength, midway through the third period. The veteran center is the only Dallas player who has won a Stanley Cup – as a 19-year-old rookie for Boston in 2011.

NOTES: Pavelski extended his record for U.S.-born players to 69 career playoff goals. That is third among active players, trailing on Alex Ovechkin‘s 72 and Sidney Crosby‘s 71. … Stars captain Jamie Dixon and Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak both got holding penalties in the game’s opening minute after the former teammates were tangled together on the ice in the corner. Oleksiak, the Stars’ first-round pick in the 2011 who played parts of nine seasons in Dallas, was selected by the Kraken in the expansion draft two years ago.

Devils beat Capitals in OT, will face Rangers in 1st round

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WASHINGTON — Dougie Hamilton tied it in the third period, Luke Hughes scored his first NHL goal in overtime and the New Jersey Devils rallied to beat the Washington Capitals 5-4 in their regular-season finale.

New Jersey erased a three-goal deficit, climbing back into it thanks to two from Erik Haula and one on the power play from Miles Wood. But Carolina’s victory at Florida locked the Devils into the second seed in the Metropolitan Division and set up a first-round matchup against the rival New York Rangers.

It’s the first time the Devils and Rangers have met in the playoffs since the 2012 Eastern Conference final. The three New York-area teams are in the NHL playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Aiming for first place in Game 82 took a back seat to being as healthy as possible for Game 1 of the playoffs Monday or Tuesday. New Jersey opted to rest top goaltender Vitek Vanecek, veteran forward Ondrej Palat and defensemen Ryan Graves and John Marino.

Starting in place of Vanecek, Mackenzie Blackwood was pulled after giving up four goals on 11 shots. Blackwood allowed goals to Joe Snively, Rasmus Sandin and Craig Smith on the first five shots he faced in 10-plus minutes and got the hook when Tom Wilson scored 1:05 into the second period.

Akira Schmid, recalled from the minors to back up, stopped all 20 shots he faced in relief to give the Devils a chance to come back for their second straight victory.

At the other end of the ice, Darcy Kuemper made a handful of big saves among his 29 before allowing two goals in the third period and Hughes’ goal with 26.4 seconds left in 3-on-3 OT. New Jersey’s top prospect, Hughes was playing in just his second pro game after playing his final season at the University of Michigan.

Despite Washington having nothing to play for, captain Alex Ovechkin returned after missing the past three games with an undisclosed injury.

The Capitals missed the playoffs for the first time since 2013-14, ending a streak of eight consecutive appearances that was tied with Nashville for the second-longest in the league. Pittsburgh’s run of 16 in a row also ended.


Devils: Open the playoffs next week against the Rangers.

Capitals: Face an uncertain offseason that could include a coaching change.

Malkin’s late goal lifts Penguins past Ovechkin, Capitals 4-3

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PITTSBURGH — Evgeni Malkin remains a live wire. Even now, 17 seasons into a career that is likely destined for the Hall of Fame, there’s an unpredictability the Pittsburgh Penguins star plays with that can be both endearing and exasperating to teammates and coaches alike.

The latest proof came against Washington on Saturday.

An untimely roughing penalty in the third period helped spark a Capitals’ rally from a three-goal deficit. Malkin made up for it by burying a breakaway with 1:20 left in regulation that lifted the Penguins to a 4-3 victory.

“His care factor and his compete level for me is off the charts and that’s what I love about him and usually when the stakes are high that’s when he’s at his best,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “He gets a huge goal for us tonight at a key time.”

Malkin’s 25th goal of the season – a low wrist shot to the far post – helped the Penguins avoid a potentially messy collapse. Pittsburgh appeared to be ready to cruise to victory after Jake Guentzel‘s power-play goal 27 seconds into the third period made it 3-0.

Washington instead stormed back, with Alex Ovechkin right in the middle of it. Ovechkin scored his 42nd goal of the season and 822nd of his career from his favorite spot in the left circle with 6:42 to go in regulation. Washington drew even when Dylan Strome flipped the puck into an open net with 2:44 to go in regulation.

Yet instead of sagging, the Penguins surged. Malkin stripped Washington’s Anthony Mantha near center ice and broke in alone on Kuemper. Seconds later, the puck was in the net and Malkin was on one knee celebrating while pumping his fists, the kind of display of raw emotion that’s become one of his trademarks.

“It’s a huge goal for me, and two points for the team,” Malkin said.

Pittsburgh moved three points clear of Florida after the Panthers lost to the earlier Saturday. Both teams have nine regular-season games left.

Ryan Poehling and Chad Ruhwedel scored a little over two minutes apart in the second period for Pittsburgh. Jake Guentzel added his team-high 32nd goal early in the third before Washington scrambled back. Casey DeSmith played spectacularly at times while finishing with 31 saves.

Tom Wilson started the Capitals’ comeback with his ninth goal of the season 5:19 into the third. Kuemper stopped 36 shots, but was outplayed by DeSmith as Washington’s hopes of making a late push for a playoff berth took a serious hit. The Capitals are six points behind Pittsburgh with only eight games remaining.

“It’s a tough one,” Washington center T.J. Oshie said. “I don’t think that last play was the only thing that lost the game for us. I know that (Mantha) feels terrible about it, but we trust him with the puck. It just wasn’t a good enough 60 minutes against a good hockey team over there.”

It felt like old times for much of the night for teams that usually enter late March battling for a spot near the top of the Metropolitan Division.

Not this season.

While the 35-year-old Crosby is averaging over a point a game as usual and the 37-year-old Ovechkin is steadily making inroads on Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal record, their teams have spent most of the year skating in place.

Pittsburgh has been wildly uneven thanks in part to goaltending that has fluctuated between solid and shaky, the main reason a 17th straight playoff appearance is hardly assured. Washington, meanwhile, appears to be pointing toward the future after injuries and a small sell-off at the trade deadline.

Pittsburgh put itself on slightly firmer footing with DeSmith making a compelling case that he should supplant Tristan Jarry as Pittsburgh’s top goaltender down the stretch.

DeSmith was spectacular at times, including stoning Ovechkin on a breakaway near the end of the second period in which Ovechkin deked DeSmith to his knees, only to see DeSmith extend his left leg just enough to knock the puck out of harm’s way.

“I’m not very tall,” the 6-foot DeSmith said. “But I had that one inch that I needed.”


Capitals: Host the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Penguins: Visit Detroit on Tuesday.