The Kraken’s visit to the Nashville Predators on Thursday night turned into the Philipp Grubauer show. If not for him, the game would have been out of hand after two periods. Instead, with a half dozen sterling saves in the middle stanza alone, to go with 28 total after 40-minutes, ‘Grooby’ kept his club in it.
It didn’t matter in the end as the Kraken lost 3-0.
Kraken 1st Period
The tone was set early. Both teams played fast … very fast. It was an exciting brand of hockey with plenty of hits, plenty of quick, feisty board battles and scoring chances at both ends.
The best scoring chances in the first period went to the Kraken with Predators goalie Juuse Saros robbing Andre Burakosvky point blank and later stopping a great chance from Jared McCann below the left wing circle. Saros was the difference in what was a very even first period with Nashville out-shooting Seattle 15-12.
Both teams went 0-for-1 on the power play with the Pred’s getting a second opportunity near the end of the period that would carry over into the 2nd.
The carry over power play quickly turned into an elongated 5-on-3 when Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak went off for delay-of-game just seven seconds into the period. He pitchforked the puck over the glass from deep in his own end.
Seattle responded by killing off Nashville’s entire two-man-advantage, but instead of seizing momentum from it, they allowed the home team to turn up the intensity instead. The Predators dominated the rest of the 2nd and created numerous golden chances.
That’s when Grubauer took over. His only blemish, and it’s definitely a stretch to pin it on him, was Colton Sissons scoring on a breakaway shorthanded at 10:24. He deked and scored on the backhand.
With the goal the Kraken found itself 0-for-5 on the power play through the first five periods of the season with one goal against.
Grubauer came up with his biggest saves later in the 2nd, robbing Filip Forsberg and Dante Fabbro among many.
Time ticked away quickly in a fast moving 3rd period. The Kraken failed on an early power play opportunity. At this point, Seattle was 0-for-2 on the man advantage with two total shots while the Predators shorthanded had a goal and three shots.
It would get worse moments later. On a delayed penalty call, the Kraken found themselves flat-footed while trying to fend off a Nashville 6-on-5 with Saros on the bench for the extra attacker. By the time it was over, Gustav Nyquist banked a pass/shot off Adam Larsson’s skate and in past Grubauer for a 2-0 lead.
Grubauer continued to make big saves at one end while his teammates failed to generate chances at the other.
The clock became the enemy. The Kraken were forced to pull the goalie with 3:31 remaining.
Seattle would hit a post. Nashville would hit the empty net. 3-0. Juuso Parssinen, unassisted, with 1:41 remaining on the clock.
Shots on goal: Nashville had the advantage 35-23. Power Plays: Seattle 0-for-2 while giving up a shorty. Nashville 0-for-3.
Seattle hops back on an airplane for a short trip to St. Louis to take on the Blues on Saturday night.
Kraken 3 Stars:
1) Philipp Grubauer – Not even close. He was the best player for Seattle and the main reason it remained close.
2) Jaden Schwartz – Three hits and three shots-on-goal for the veteran. Involved, but not chance to finish.
3) Tye Kartye – The rookie did what he kid in his 1st NHL regular season game. Two hits, two shots in just 8-minutes of ice time.