Seattle Kraken, Ryan Donato

Kraken Daily: Gunning for 2-and-2; Down 2 D-Men

The Seattle Kraken will hope to finish with 2 wins and 2 losses on their road trip with a victory on Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. That would actually be an extremely satisfactory conclusion if they can pull it off.

Rolling through a set of four games in seven days against the Washington Capitals, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes is no easy task. The Kraken have alternated loss, win, loss so far with a practice scheduled for Wednesday in Raleigh.

With the 6-2 loss to the Lightning on Tuesday night, the Kraken stand at 9-3-and-1 away from Climate Pledge Arena this season, still the fourth best road record in the NHL.

Goalie Let Down

More often than not, it’s difficult to bounce back from a soft goal in an NHL game. It’s particularly difficult to give up anything ‘light’ against Tampa Bay, especially when one considers who the goaltender is standing at the other end, Andrei Vasilevskiy.

He’s rarely gonna give one back.

It took Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol a good portion of his post-game presser to get there, but he eventually did. He tentatively fingered the difference in the hockey game as netminding.

The major turning point was the 3-1 goal in the waning seconds of a Tampa power play in the second period when Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer simply needed to make the stop. The penalty kill had otherwise been excellent.

“We needed a little bit better, from ahh, we needed a little bit better on the second goal from ‘Grooby’, we needed a little better on the third,” Hakstol stated.

He admitted the third Lightning goal provided a major setback for his team after it had battled back into the game from down 2-0.

Schultz Hurt Lingers

Justin Schultz, who got slammed face-first into the D-zone endboards in Florida on Sunday by Panthers forward Ryan Lomberg, first appeared to be ready to play Tuesday. That reality changed as the game got closer.

“He wasn’t able to play tonight, I told you guys he was ready to go as we came through morning skate, but with situations like this, more information comes in that wouldn’t allow him to play tonight,” Hakstol said. “I don’t know what his situation is, right now I’ll label it as day-to-day and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

With Jamie Oleksiak sitting out the second game of a three-game suspension for a hit-to-the-head match penalty against the Washington Capitals on Friday, it meant two substitutions for the Kraken’s usual group of six.

Right-hander Cale Fleury had four hits, a blocked shot and a shot-on-goal in 13:53 of ice time while lefty Gustav Olofsson finished with three shots-on-goal and three blocked shots in 15:20.

Game time in Raleigh on Thursday is 4 pm pacific.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.