The Kraken played with a consistent intensity we saw from last season’s playoff team. As in, really intense, embodied by their 3rd period forecheck that eventually wore down the visiting Nashville Predators. Seattle won going away, 4-2.
Coming In …
The battle of the forechecks. The Kraken earned a solid, hard working reputation last season with their O-zone pressure while the Predators picked up their pace this season by replacing head coach John Hynes with Andrew Brunette. “Brooner” likes a fast game, north-south, high pressure. The team with the more consistent break-out and transition game would likely win.
Goalies: Juuse Saros at Philipp Grubauer.
Nashville beat Seattle at Bridgestone Arena 3-0 on October 12th.
The Kraken put themselves in a hole early by heading to the penalty box. Moments after Eeli Tolvanen went off for tripping 67-seconds into the match, Seattle defenseman Adam Larsson joined him with a four minute high sticking infraction.
After the Tolvanen infraction was killed, Predator Colton Sissons went off for tripping, triggering a four-on-four situation that took a chunk out of Nashville’s Larsson-related power play. When Sissons came out of the box, Larsson still had 23-seconds remaining on his double minor.
Tommy Novak would score with two-seconds remaining on the power play. 1-0 Nashville.
The parade to the box would continue with Nashville, specifically Dante Fabbro, picking up back-to-back minors just past the midway point. The Kraken would capitalize on the second one; Oliver Bjorkstrand rang one in off the left post through a screen from the right point. 1-1.
Late in the period a forecheck mistake cost the Predators. A turnover with their forwards below the O-zone circles led to a flat-footed situation for their D-men in the neutral zone. The Kraken zoomed up ice on a 3-on-1 rush and Jared McCann made no mistake with a one-timer from the right wing circle on a feed from Yanni Gourde. 2-1 Kraken.
The Nashville forecheck was feisty to start the second, dominating zone time in the opening two minutes. Then the match opened up, with both teams getting solid looks. Grubauer was the busier of the two goalies, with the Preds outshooting the Kraken 5-1 going into the 1st TV time-out. The visitors had the Grade-A chances.
Back and forth we went with little result until Kraken blueliner Will Borgen went off for holding at 14:53. The Preds made him pay with captain Roman Josi smoking a one-timer from the right circle just inside the near post to tie the game. 2-2
Just 24-seconds later Kraken blueliner Brian Dumoulin scored for the second straight game with a shot from the left point that may have ticked off Nashville D-man Ryan McDonagh on its way through. 3-2 Kraken.
How impressive was the Kraken forecheck in the first half of the 3rd period? Looking down from our press box perch, I can say that it was as intense and tenacious as it was at any point last season.
Coming out of the 1st TV break, that determination paid off in a different way. Alexander Wennberg won the face-off in the offensive zone, left wing circle, Jaden Schwartz chipped the puck back to Vince Dunn at the point, he dusted it off and stepped into a slapper that beat Saros high glove. 4-2 Seattle.
Shots on goal: After a slow start the Kraken nearly caught up to the Predators. Nashville with the edge 34-31. Power Plays: Nashville 2-for-5, Seattle 1-for-4.
Kraken 3 Stars:
1) Philipp Grubauer – He made enormous saves in the first two periods. He played very well against Nashville three weeks ago and wasn’t rewarded. This time he picked up his second win of the season and his second consecutive.
2) Jared McCann – Goal and an assist, two shots and plenty of O-zone time.
3) Justin Schultz – Two assists in just more than 16-minutes of ice time.