Seattle Kraken, Yanni Gourde

Kraken Diary; A Night With Shift Disturber Yanni Gourde

Kraken center Yanni Gourde won two Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning (2020, 2021) and joined Seattle shortly thereafter as one of the club’s picks in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. He brings veteran leadership, grit and what many refer to as “shift disturber” qualities. Of course, in hockey circles, there’s an alternate four-letter word for ‘shift’.

It’s part of what he does best and what the Kraken will need in spades on Thursday night if they have any hope of pulling off an even bigger surprise by going up 2-0 in the best of seven series with the Avalanche.

No better time than Game-2 for a Yanni Gourde shift diary, taking an up close look at his efforts.

1st Period

0:00 – :21 – Lost the opening draw but was quick to the puck off a Colorado dump in. Kraken counter attacked with two shots on goal, including Gourde with an excellent chance off a rebound from the slot. Right on cue, after the whistle, he mixed things up with Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram, much to the delight of the Ball Arena crowd.

2:21 – 2:40 Offensive zone draw in the left circle won by the Avalanche. Their attempt to gain the Seattle zone failed. On the counter-attack, Kraken D-man Justin Schultz jumped into the play and scored the opening goal from the slot, five-hole on Georgiev. Gourde tallied an assist. 1-0 Kraken.

4:20 – 5:00 – Hopped off the bench to join a rush that took a bit of time to develop. A mild regroup led to the Kraken gaining the O-zone and getting the puck deep. Gourde had a prolonged battle along the right corner boards with Av’s forward Logan O’Connor. The puck was finally dug free. Colorado worked it up ice and after the Kraken gained possession, they changed lines.

6:57 – 8:08 Neutral zone draw just outside the Kraken blueline. Gourde waved out, Oliver Bjorkstrand won the draw for Seattle. Kraken dump-in retrieval failed as did the Avalanche’s. Colorado had brief zone pressure before Seattle broke out. This time the Kraken gained the offensive zone and had sustained time along the end boards. Again, Gourde right in the middle of a puck battle in the right wing corner. He was finally knocked off the puck and Colorado cleared. After failing to gain the zone again, the Av’s backed up as the Kraken dumped into the O-zone. Gourde was the lone forechecker as his linemates peeled off. He finally hit the bench on the backcheck after an extremely long shift. He chirped Byram again in front of the Kraken bench following the whistle.

10:05 – 10:40 Quiet two-way play for Gourde.

12:56 – 13:27 – A one man wrecking crew. Shorthanded, working the middle of the D-zone, Gourde generated a clear. He chipped the puck deep into the Avalanche zone and then beat two Av’s to the puck. He then beat Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon to the puck and poke-passed it into the high slot where Brandon Tanev skated in and ripped a shot high over Georgiev for a shorthanded goal. 2-0 Kraken.

13:50 – 14:15 – Back out to finish off the remnants of the penalty kill. Save by Grubauer. Puck held. Whistle.

15:45 – 16:15 – Penalty kill shift again, this time with Jordan Eberle off for slashing. Covered his area in the middle of the zone, a shot resulted from Avalanche puck work. Grubauer made the save and held. Gourde to the bench at the whistle.

16:40 – 17:15 – Back out to finish the penalty kill again, this time continuing into 5-on-5 after Eberle came out of the box. Had a neutral zone touch but no O-zone time and no threats for either club. Peeled off to bench after a Colorado dump in.

18:47 – 19:35 – Out for a D-zone draw in the Av’s left wing circle. Lost the draw, but the Avalanche gave up possession with a wide shot from the point retrieved by the Kraken. Colorado fell asleep on the ensuing break-out as Seattle ended up with a 2-on-1 that turned into Gourde all alone in front by himself. Skating in, he fired a shot and Georgiev made a stick or blocker save. The forecheck continued briefly before the Avalanche were able to clear and chip into the Kraken zone, allowing Gourde to change.

1st period – 6:14 in ice time (1:52 shorthanded). 2 assists, 1 grade-A scoring chance, 2 shots-on-goal, plus-2. Best player on the ice in the first period despite going 0-for-4 on face-offs.

2nd Period

0:00 – :43 – Lined up on the wing as Bjorkstrand lost the opening draw. Kraken guilty of icing 8-seconds into the period. Sustained pressure from Colorado off a face-off in the right circle. Gourde worked the middle of the D-zone. Two tremendous saves by Grubauer kept Colorado off the board. He eventually covered the puck for a whistle.

3:09 – 3:40 – Off the bench for a D-zone draw to the right of Grubauer. Puck squirted out of the Kraken zone off the draw. Colorado brought it back in and got off an quality shot on goal. Kraken gained puck but did nothing with the break-out/transition. A couple of possession changes. Uneventful shift.

6:20 – 6:39 – 6:42 – Jumped off the bench to join back-check. Shift quickly interrupted by puck knocked out of play at the Kraken blueline. TV Timeout. Gourde lines stayed out. He lost a clean draw to the left of Grubauer and three seconds later the puck was in the back of the net off a point shot. Avalanche Goal – 2-1 Kraken.

Avalanche Goal – 2-2 – :48 seconds later at 7:30 (Gourde’s line on the bench)

8:48 – 9:16 – Mostly a D-zone posture for a short shift with Colorado trying to generate chances from the outside. After backing up into his own zone, Gourde eventually worked his way up ice off a Kraken clear and hit the bench.

10:55 – 11:25 – On his heels with his teammates as the Colorado wave of momentum continued. Grade-A scoring chances with Gourde trying to help out Grubauer in front. Big saves by ‘Grooby’ saved the line’s bacon. After a cover-up and a whistle, a scrum ensued and once again Gourde got into it with Colorado D-man Byram.

13:24 -14:05 – Gourde waved out. Neutral zone draw won by Colorado followed by flow in both directions but no Grade-A chances either way. Good physical play by both teams. Big hits in the N-zone and inside the Kraken blueline on a regroup. With the momentum change and the adrenaline boost, the Avalanche dramatically picked up the physicality.

17:05 – 17:18 – 18:00 – Hopped on the ice in time to join action in the offensive zone. Fired a shot from the left point that was deflected high out of play behind the net. Stayed on the ice for the left wing O-zone draw and lost it. Colorado couldn’t sustain a break-out play; Seattle regained possession and re-grouped. On the ensuing rush, the Kraken earned substantial O-zone time and created a couple of high quality chances. Georgiev eventually covered the puck and Gourde and Tanev got involved in front in a heavy scrum. Tanev and Cale Makar of Colorado went off for roughing.

19:25 – 20:00 – Hopped out for a transition into the Colorado zone and then trailed an Avalanche counter-attack. Shot wide. Kraken gained possession just as the period ended.

2nd period – 5:26 in ice time, 11:40 total through 2 periods. One hit, no shots, lost all four face-offs he took. Now 0-for-8 in the game on draws.

3rd Period

0:00 – 1:02 – Won his first face-off of the evening in nine tries. Kraken chipped and chased. Colorado gained possession and counter-attacked. Grade-A chance with Gourde and line on the back-check. Big right pad save by Grubauer. On ensuing rush for Seattle, Gourde peeled off to the bench. Bit of a ‘touchy-feelie’ shift to start the period as both teams re-established their legs and their presence.

3:30 – 4:30 – Outstanding shift book-ended by fine defensive plays. Gourde was all up-in MacKinnon’s kitchen as the Av’s star center tried to break out of his zone. The Kraken came away with the puck. Not much came of the Seattle re-group. Colorado regained possession and gained the O-zone for some pressure. Trapped in their zone for a bit, Gourde broke up the sequence by burying Nichushkin along the left wing boards with a huge hit and taking possession of the puck. The lines changed off the ensuing clear.

6:20 – 7:07 – Hopped over to attempt a rush only to see the puck go the other way. Was deep in the Colorado zone when the Avalanche headed out. He caught up to the play in time to see Grubauer catch the puck and hold it for a whistle. TV Time-out.

9:10 – 9:53 – Hopped over the boards to run into some Avalanche pressure. Managed to help clear the end boards and move the puck out of the zone. Actually chipped and chased deep into the Colorado zone. The Av’s came away with the puck in the right wing corner. On the the back-check that followed, the Avalanche got to a couple of loose pucks and fired a couple of shots wide. Grubauer made one point-blank save. He held the puck after making the next one.

11:15 – 11:55 – Hopped over to create a turnover and start a Bjorkstrand rush. Nothing came of it. Gourde led the back-check and prevented Colorado from getting a good scoring chance. The Kraken held the puck in their own end as the Avalanche made changes. The Kraken went ahead and did the same.

Avalanche Goal – 3-2 Colorado – 12:59 (Gourde’s line on the bench)

15:12 – 15:50 – Came over the boards for a set break-out. The Kraken gained the Avalanche zone but couldn’t sustain pressure. The puck just alluded Gourde on the forecheck. Same thing the other way on a counter-attack, not much happening for Colorado. The home team started to line up at their own blueline in an attempt to shut down any Kraken offensive opportunities.

18:40 – The game wound down as the Kraken pulled their goalie for the extra attacker but failed to gain the zone for any substantial period of time. The couldn’t muster an attack.

Totals: Gourde played exactly 18:00, 1:52 of that shorthanded, with :13 seconds on the power play. He finished with 2 assists, 2 shots-on-goal and 4 hits. Unfortunately his sound play was off-set by his 1 win, 9 loss face-off performance, one that had a direct impact on the final result.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.