The Seattle Kraken simply continued playing to their identity in the 3-1 Game-1 playoff victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. They tallied their goals at even strength, they led the NHL in 5-on-5 scoring this season, they picked up goals from a variety of sources, in this case Eeli Tolvanen, Alexander Wennberg, and Morgan Geekie, and they created havoc on the forecheck and officially outhit the Avalanche 40-29.
When asked on a Denver sports-talk radio show on Thursday morning whether or not the Kraken could pull it off again in Game-2, I had to answer, ‘but of course’.
The hosts wondered whether or not the Kraken could play any better. In hearing from Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol over the last 36 hours, there’s no doubt his team can improve. He insists his club has plenty to clean up and a lot more to give.
The bigger question involves just how much the Avalanche will improve in Game-2. They weren’t at their best in Game-1, a concept staunchly shared by their head coach Jared Bednar.
Yet how much of their game being a “bit off” came down to the problems the Kraken were creating?
Thought provoking questions, but ones that are very difficult to answer until we see the drop of the puck.
Rookie’s First Night
A quick look at the stat line and effort from Seattle Kraken rookie Matty Beniers playing in his first ever Stanley Cup playoff game on Tuesday night.
Much was made of his postseason debut; he was asked about it often leading up to the start of the playoffs.
Beniers played 16:02, pretty much right in line with most of the other Kraken forwards, had one shot-on-goal, one hit, and one blocked shot. He got knocked down hard on a couple of occasions and was dominated in the face-off circle. Beniers won two face-offs and lost nine.
Maybe there was a little bit of shock and awe for the rookie as he found himself in the heat of it all, and maybe the Avalanche did a nice job of shutting down the looks for Seattle’s top line.
I get the sense Beniers will be much improved and he and his linemates a bigger factor in Game-2.
Kraken Road Warriors
Another question I was asked: why are the Kraken so good on the road? It’s another query that raises hypothetical answers for the most part. It’s difficult to put a finger on it. Seattle is 4-and-0 in their last four visits to Denver.
Often times teams with good chemistry play well away from home because they get along well and they’re away from distractions. Yes, referring to family and friends as a ‘distraction’ seems a bit unkind, but some teams simply gel better while out taking care of business.
That’s what roadies ultimately are; business trips. One can assume it means the Kraken are focused, unified, and dedicated to the cause, and being dialed into the hotel, rink, hotel, rink routine brings about business-like results. Remember, for the most part it’s a pretty experienced, mature hockey group.
— Stay tuned, we’ll hear from the morning skates next …