The Seattle Kraken will try to salvage a point or two out of St. Louis on Saturday night when they wrap up their three game opening road trip against the Blues. Starting the season 0-and-3 is not a great option, before heading home to take on what will likely be a vengeful Colorado Avalanche team in the Seattle home opener next Tuesday.
The Kraken eliminated the Avalanche in the first round of the playoffs in the spring.
The Kraken lost Thursday night 3-0 in Nashville against the Predators after losing the season opener in Vegas two nights earlier.
Lack of finish, lack of scoring; that would be the primary topic for Seattle after 120-minutes of hockey that’s left little room for error.
“It was a tight hockey game, the turning point in the middle of the game was giving up a shorthanded goal,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said postgame. “They took a lot of momentum out of that for the second half of the 2nd period.”
They did indeed, and Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer was up to the task in terms of keeping his team in the game. He was busy and he was excellent, making a number of what some refer to as “10-bell saves”.
What he didn’t see was “run support”. Right now his teammates are averaging a half-a-goal-a-game on offense.
“On the offensive side, a few too many missed nets,” Hakstol said. “A play like the first shift in the 3rd period, we generate a 2-on-1 opportunity and that puck rolls up on “Burky” (Andre Burakovsky) and he misses the net by six or twelve inches, so that’s a little bit of the story of our night offensively.”
We saw similar missed opportunities in the 4-1 opening loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.
Veteran winger Jaden Schwartz shared the team lead in shots-on-goal against Nashville with three, along with Oliver Bjorkstrand and rookie Tye Kartye who was playing in his first ever NHL regular season game. He scored three playoff goals for the Kraken while appearing in ten playoff games in April and May.
They couldn’t solve ‘Smashville’ goalie Juuse Saros.
“When you’re not scoring goals you’ve just gotta get to the inside,” Schwartz said postgame. “We had some good looks, their goalie made some pretty big saves. Just didn’t quite execute well enough. Some good things but not near enough.”
Meanwhile, an offensive sticking point from last season has carried over. The power play is now 0-for-6 and gave up the big shorthanded goal in this one.
“If you’re not scoring you want to try and create as much momentum as you can, get some shots, get some traffic, make it tough on their goalie and get some energy for our team,” Schwartz added. “Hasn’t been there enough.”
1 Out Of 2 Ain’t Bad, But It Ain’t Good Either
When a team isn’t lighting the lamp, it needs great goaltending to keep the score low. Through two games the Kraken have received it from Grubauer.
That lack of scoring punch was expected given some of the club’s roster changes. This short clip from the Kraken themed podcast with “Simmer and Forslund” presented the concept.
Right now, of course it’s not just about the 4th-line contributing, it’s about all of them.
— Winger Brandon Tanev missed the game with an upper body (head) injury and the details of his prognosis are unknown. Hakstol wouldn’t label it day-to-day or week-to-week.
— The Kraken will experience a third consecutive home opener when they visit the Blues on Saturday. St. Louis lost to the Dallas Stars in a shoot-out 2-1 on Thursday night in their first game of the season. They’re 0-0-and-1.
— “We’ve just got to slow down a little bit, simple, get back to the very basics of hockey,” Kraken center Yanni Gourde said postgame in Nashville. “Work together, be closer to one another, I think we’re going too quick, out of structure, too fast, and bounces happen and we can’t recover. I think we’ve got to slow down our game a little bit and be more effective in what we do.”
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