A cohort in the press box referred to it as “good value for the fans entertainment dollar,” while I was simply labelling the 1st period of the Colorado Avalanche – Seattle Kraken game as festive. Call it what you will, but for hockey fans in the Pacific Northwest, the style of play at Climate Pledge Arena is habitually fast paced and definitely worth the bang for their buck.
Although neither team scored in the first period, both clubs created plenty of opportunities and kept the pace energized. The Pacific Division’s first place Kraken were looking to stay in that spot, while the defending Stanley Cup champions were looking to keep a four-game win streak alive while holding on to the final Western Conference playoff spot they slipped into Friday night with a win in Vancouver.
Reigning Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s best defenseman, Cale Makar of Colorado, sat this one out, joining a literal avalanche of injuries that slowed the champs in the first half of the season.
‘Dinged up’ would also describe the Kraken for this match, a rare occurrence for the local boys. Defenseman Justin Schultz missed his 2nd consecutive game while forward Jaden Schwartz missed his fourth overall. Winger Andre Burakovsky also sat out.
Recent call-up from the AHL John Hayden earned a slot up front, while Cale Fleury jumped in for his second straight game on the back-end.
Goalies: Pavel Francouz, one of the very few NHL goalies who catches right-handed, against Philipp Grubauer of the Kraken.
Kraken Goal Scorer:
1-1 Tie – Even Strength – Ryan Donato (11) Unassisted, 9:26
With his 3rd goal in two games, all from the right wing circle, Donato capitalized off an Avalanche turnover.
— Colorado opened the scoring when Alex Newhook scored his tenth goal of the season on a second rebound opportunity after Grubauer had made two solid saves. Newhook’s goal came 1:08 ahead of Donato’s.
Kraken D-man Jamie Oleksiak rang a shot off the post and two Avalanche whiffed on half-empty net chances. Nothing doing …
Kraken – Ryan Donato: No*
Avalanche – Evan Rodrigues: No (shot wide)
Kraken – Jordan Eberle: No*
Avalanche – Nathan MacKinnon: Yes (deke – 5-hole)
Kraken – Daniel Sprong: No*
- All three Kraken went deke and all three failed to get a shot off.
The Avalanche win the game 2-1. With the Vegas Golden Knights win over the Washington Capitals, the Seattle falls one point behind first place in the Pacific Division.
Kraken 3 Stars:
1) Philipp Grubauer – Kept Seattle in it at clutch moments. Despite losing the shoot-out, made 26 saves on 27 shots.
2) Ryan Donato – Third goal in two games with a pretty snipe off a turnover.
3) Brandon Tanev – Key penalty killer, five hits, two shots on goal in 16:02.