FINAL: Seattle Kraken 3, Colorado Avalanche 1
The Kraken came out hard and fast, delivering heavy checks deep while establishing an effective forecheck. As they’ve made a habit of doing recently, they almost scored twice in the first minute.
“One of the things we wanted to do was make sure we started well,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said postgame. “You don’t want to come into this building against this calibre a team and chase the game. We wanted to make sure we were on it from the start of the game. We started each period well, we were able to build the lead, and that was obviously an important piece of the hockey game tonight.”
The 1st period became a battle of the Seattle forecheck against the Colorado break-out and rush game.
The match-up featured current Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev against former Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer.
Seattle went 0-for-2 on 1st period power plays which meant barring anything extreme, the Avalanche would inevitably get the next man advantage, which they did early in the 2nd period.
Kraken Goal Scorers
1-0 Kraken – Even Strength – Eeli Tolvanen (1) Unassisted, 3:26
Avalanche goalie Georgiev dropped a puck behind his net for D-man Bowen Byram who coughed it up and sent it in front of his own net. Tolvanen was there to whack at it twice, cashing in on his own rebound.
— It wasn’t a rush that led to Colorado’s 1st period equalizer, it was a sloppy Kraken play following a failed power play attempt that resulted in an icing call and an offensive zone face-off for the Avalanche. Colorado won the draw and quickly converted a slap-pass from Nathan MacKinnon near the left point to Mikko Rantanen, who re-directed the puck in front. Byram picked up the other assist.
2-1 Kraken – Even Strength – Alexander Wennberg (1) from Jaden Schwartz and Jamie Oleksiak, 1:20
Wennberg took a cross-ice feed and teed up a twisted wrister from the top of the right wing circle that beat Georgiev high, shortside, just inside the post.
3-1 Kraken – Even Strength – Morgan Geekie (1) from Alexander Wennberg and Justin Schultz, 4:03
Solid board play in deep and a nice hop allowed Wennberg to find Geekie alone in the low slot.
— Simple formula: The Kraken outworked the Avalanche, won more puck battles, and played a hard, honest game.
— Shots-on-goal ended up 35-30 in favor of the Avalanche. Power Plays: Seattle 0-for-3, Colorado 0-for-2.
Kraken 3 Stars:
1) Philipp Grubauer – ‘Grooby’ made some huge saves. He turned aside 34 shots and some Grade-A chances.
2) Alexander Wennberg – A goal and an assist and a consistent threat in 20-minutes of ice time.
3) Vince Dunn – Three shots-on-goal, no points, but a physical force and steady presence throughout.
— Lots more from Denver coming here on Wednesday.