Kraken Power Outage
The 0-2-and-1 Seattle Kraken enter a difficult week on home ice, welcoming in three bona fide NHL playoff teams, beginning with one that will be seeking vengeance after getting bounced by the Kraken in the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs.
That would be the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. They’ll be followed through the Climate Pledge Arena doors by the Carolina Hurricanes, a Eastern Conference Finalist last spring, and the always challenging New York Rangers, who were bounced in the first round in seven games by the New Jersey Devils.
Thus far, Seattle’s goaltending has been outstanding with Philipp Grubauer starting the first two games and Joey Daccord the last one. Defensively the club has improved with each game, giving up three non-empty-net goals in the loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, two against the Nashville Predators, and just one before dropping a shoot-out to the St. Louis Blues.
The Kraken are a perfect 11-for-11 on the penalty kill.
Up front is where the main issues lie. The Kraken haven’t generated many 2nd-chance opportunities, haven’t cashed in on their Grade-A looks, and have scored a grand total of two goals through the first three contests. One of those goals came on the power play (1 for 7 overall).
Kraken winger Brandon Tanev took a hit to the head in the second period of the season opener in Vegas and hasn’t returned to the line-up. Thus far, head coach Dave Hakstol hasn’t been clear on a timeline for the player’s return.
Chicago Blackhawks winger Taylor Hall suffered a similar injury against the Boston Bruins last week, but definitely not as severe. Unlike Brett Howden, who received a two-game suspension for the hit on Tanev, Bruins D-man Brandon Carlo did not receive any supplemental discipline for the hit on Hall.
Although first considered week-to-week, the former 1st-overall NHL Draft pick from 2010 will once again be skating on the Blackhawks top line with center and 2023 1st-overall pick Connor Bedard. Hall should be in the line-up tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Completing the never-popular head injury trifecta, Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is listed as day-to-day after taking a puck to the melon last Thursday in a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. He sat out the 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
By the way, Vegas also beat the Kraken 4-1 last Tuesday. That’s a pretty good habit, with all three matching final scores coming against Pacific Division foes. The defending champs are off and running despite also missing regular defenseman Zach Whitecloud and Alec Martinez.
Very Early Surprises
The Kraken’s neighbors to the north definitely take the cake in the Western Conference, with the Vancouver Canucks beating the Edmonton Oilers twice by scores of 8-1 and 4-3. Elsewhere it’s pretty much been teams you’d expect to win, winning. Maybe the 2-and-1 Ottawa Senators out east are a mild surprise, but with lots of blossoming young talent, the fans in Canada’s capital city are pretty optimistic.
Seven NHL teams possess perfect records through the opening weekend, without a regular or post-regulation loss. Two of them, the Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars have only played one game.
The Colorado Avalanche, the Kraken’s next foe, are one of those perfect teams with a record of 2-and-0.
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