Martin Jones has had his moments in the sun as the Seattle Kraken’s number-one goaltender this season for a spell, and now it’s Philipp Grubauer’s turn again. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
The fact that Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol has that option, whether it’s fluctuating between the two netminders or not, is key for this team moving forward. The goalie 1A and 1B situation has continuously morphed this season. “Grooby” appears to be the hot guy now.
He pretty much saved the club’s bacon in Winnipeg in Tuesday night’s shoot-out loss to the Jets. It could have been worse; the Kreaken were happy to pick up a point.
“He was awesome, he kept us in the game,” Seattle forward Morgan Geekie said when it was over. “There was a save at the end there, a save in the third, ha, there were multiple saves, I can’t just pick one. He’s been awesome for us, both our goalies have been great.”
Without that, an NHL goes nowhere.
“They (the Jets) had quality (shots) in the last 50 minutes of the hockey game and Grooby did a real good job,” Hakstol said postgame, “and that’s how you earn points on the road, good goaltending, win the specialty teams battle, do the little things, and we were able to do that tonight. Grooby was a big part of that.”
Again, if it’s an ongoing problem having to choose between two veteran goaltenders, the Kraken will take that problem all day long.
Check Your Kraken I.D.
As the stretch drive to playoff berths continues and the games get more challenging, it’s ultimately important that the Kraken stay within themselves and play within their identity.
“Gutsy efforts, up and down the line-up,” Kraken forward John Hayden said, “guys playing like it’s all on the line.”
Despite the slow start out of the bye week and NHL All-Star break, Seattle fans should be confident the team will continue to play the brand of hockey that’s brought them success. We saw strong signs of it in New Jersey against the Devils and again for stretches against the Winnipeg Jets.
Despite the 1-3-and-1 road trip, there’s no reason to believe the club will lose what coaches love to refer to as “process”. Avoiding frustration, sticking to game plans, and staying true to their identity, the Kraken should be a playoff club.
Not that it’s desirable, they’ll want more wins, but .500 hockey the rest of the regular season should get the Kraken to the postseason. The points equivalent of a record of 15-and-13 the rest of the way would put them at 96 points, very likely enough to get in.
The team could conceivably reach the 100 point plateau, but we’ll definitely try to not get ahead of ourselves. Of course, shooting for 100 is safer in the long run than shooting for 96.
I’ll pop the clichés for them: One day at a time. Process. Identity.
The Kraken play four of their next five games at Climate Pledge Arena starting Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.