It’s somewhat reassuring to know that the Seattle Kraken should earn a postseason spot if they finish out their regular season with a record of 6-and-7 over their final 13 games. That doesn’t seem to be asking a lot.
The task becomes a lot tougher if their goaltenders keep giving up soft goals and the confidence of their teammates heads south.
Before he pulled himself out of the game 6:30 into the second period of Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the Edmonton Oilers with an illness, starter Philipp Grubauer helped put the Kraken in a hole. With memories from the 7-2 home loss to Connor McDavid and friends on December 30th still lingering, when ‘Grooby’ gave up three goals in the first 3:55 and was yanked, he gave up a softy to Evander Kane just 1:35 into Saturday’s contest.
The Kraken tied it in the first period, but were forced to come from behind time and time again. Martin Jones gave up three goals in relief, the sixth one a gift late in the third period for a guy who doesn’t need any freebies, McDavid, to essentially wrap things up.
The Seattle Kraken have gotten away with the inconsistencies because for the most part the two veteran netminders have alternated being hot for stretches, and have mostly made the saves they’ve needed to make. That’s changed somewhat.
Seattle Kraken Stats
Over his last five starts, not all of them complete, Grubauer’s save percentage is .851. That’s far below his still rather pedestrian number of .892 for the season. For the novice, that means he’s stopping 89.2% of the shots that he’s facing.
His “goals above or below expected” numbers are relatively even, which can be attributed to his recent hot streak when the Seattle Kraken won five games in a row, just before he hit this cool spot.
This has happened before, but in previous stretches of inconsistent performance, and when Grubauer was injured for a month early in the season, Jones was there to bail everyone out.
That’s changed as well.
‘Jonesy’ in his last five appearances: A save percentage of .832. A life saver earlier this season, his analytic numbers suggest his game has devolved to the point of giving up goals at a rate substantially higher “than expected”.
Jone’s season save percentage is .887. Both goalies’ goals against averages are a little above three per game.
This isn’t on head coaching or management. There’s no way Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis should have been expected to, or anyone thought he needed to, add a goalie at the trade deadline. These are veteran, Stanley Cup winning goalies, albeit as back-ups, who have seen the commitment and intestinal fortitude required to get the ultimate job done, and they definitely did contribute to those causes.
It’s never too late to hit some level of a reset button. Should the Kraken make the playoffs, it’ll be time for one of these gent’s, or both, to step it up. The focus turns to goalie coach Steve Briere, where psychological counselling becomes as important as mechanics.
“Our team played hard, our team played well, we had to play a little bit too much from behind, starting right away with the first goal that squeaked in,” Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said postgame Saturday. “but we did that for 60 minutes.”
The Kraken worked hard for opportunities and got them. Offense wasn’t the problem.
“Having to play from behind is tough,” Hakstol added. “A couple of the goals that went in take a little wind out of your sails, but we pushed right back in every instance.”
The Seattle Kraken play at the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.