Seattle Kraken, Vince Dunn

Kraken AM Skate: New Year 5-Game Win Streak

It’s hard to go 5-and-0 to start a new year like the Seattle Kraken have and not share some superlatives. We chose five:

The Kraken are now 13-4-and-2 this season away from Climate Pledge Arena, with two more road wins than they had all of last season. They’ve won the first four games on their franchise-long seven game road trip.

“We’re halfway into this right now, it’s a difficult month,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said Monday night after the win in Montreal. “You’re gonna get into rhythms like this where you’re going to be busy and play a lot of hockey, so it’s nice that we’ve been able to start it off successfully. That feels good. Probably one of the bigger strengths of our group has been, they’re able to enjoy the moment for a little while and then turn the page. We go right into Buffalo tomorrow, and that’s gonna be a real challenging one.”

The Kraken have scored 26 goals over their five-game winning streak that started at home on New Year’s Day against the New York Islanders. Seattle now sits third in the NHL in goals-for-per-game at 3.67, trailing only the Boston Bruins (3.85) and Tuesday’s opponent, the Buffalo Sabres (3.89).

“We’re a deep team, we rely on everyone to win games,” Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn said in Montreal. “You see in the Ottawa game we had eight different players scoring goals, so that’s really big for the team right now. Especially in the second half (of the season) you need everyone on board, everyone contributing and doing their part.”

Dunn is on a roll. With his goal and assist against the Canadiens in the 4-0 win on Monday, he now has goals in three consecutive games for the first time in his career. He’s on what players refer to as “a heater”, with three goals and nine assists over his last ten games. Not too shabby for a blueliner.

“‘Dunner’s’ just playing with confidence, he’s doing a lot of the little things,” Hakstol said Monday night. “When you look at how he’s getting us out of the zone, he’s defending well, but he’s using his feet, he’s playing fast on our exits. It starts with the little things, it starts with retrievals, it starts with knowing what’s around him, and then the confidence that he’s playing with is evident out there.”

— NHL rookie leading scorer Matty Beniers of the Kraken has a four-game goal scoring streak for the first time in his young career. He notched an empty-netter with just more than a minute remaining in the win over the Habs.

“I think we’re just playing the right way,” Beniers said after the Toronto win. ‘We’re playing with all four lines are going, everyone’s really working hard doing doing the right things, hitting guys, getting in on the forecheck, getting back. I think we’re hard to play against and we’re finding the back of the net right now, which is huge.”

The Kraken are the only NHL team this season to have four different defensemen with at least four goals. Dunn leads the way with six, Jamie Oleksiak has tallied five, with Adam Larsson and Justin Schultz both scoring four times.

“The term that I would put on our group first and foremost is ‘competitive’,” Hakstol stated. “Guys know the details that they want to play with and they’re working hard to do it every day.”

Puck drop in Buffalo is a little after 4 pm pacific on Tuesday. The Kraken are in 3rd-place in the Pacific Division with 50 points and games in hand on the two teams they’re chasing.

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.