Seattle Kraken, Tomas Tatar

Kraken Morning After: Step 1 Of 4, Hakstol, Tatar

The 6-2 ‘must win’ over the Chicago Blackhawks was the perfect stepping stone for the Seattle Kraken as they ready for a match-up against one of their closest playoff race competitors, the St. Louis Blues.

The Wednesday night victory over Chicago comes just as a handful of Seattle players get healthy and with the game against the Blues looming on Friday night.

“We played again tonight without two of our top three centermen. we had a lot of good efforts, our PK did a nice job,” Kraken had coach Dave Hakstol said postgame.

Hakstol referred to Matty Beniers, hoping to return to the line-up Friday after suffering an upper body injury on January 5th and missing five games, and Yanni Gourde, who just completed serving a two-game NHL suspension.

As for the penalty kill, it went two-for-three against the Blackhawks, giving up a power play goal to Nick Foligno in the first minute of the 3rd period. It could have been worse if not for Kraken goalie Joey Daccord.

“There’s some big moments momentum-wise, Joey’s save on the PK in the first, the save on the breakaway that turns into a breakaway at the other end for ‘Tuna’,” (Tomas Tatar scored for Seattle) Hakstol pointed out. “There’s some good points in there where the game could swing the other direction, but we were able to keep it under control.”

Kraken Likes Tuna

Tatar has five goals and four assists in 16 games since arriving on December 15th in a deal with the Colorado Avalanche for a 5th-round 2024 draft pick. The 12-year pro seems to have enjoyed this latest change of scenery.

“It’s been wonderful since day one,” Tatar said postgame. “I could feel the support from the teammates and the fans and I just feel good and welcomed, which is good for confidence.”

“He’s an intelligent player,” Hakstol stated. “He finds a way to make guys he’s playing with … he makes them a little bit better.”

Even while working with different centers, Tatar and fellow winger Jordan Eberle have found some consistent synergy, dominating as linemates at even strength. Tatar is a plus-11 since arriving.

“Eb’s is a very experienced player, has played in the game a long time, he’s been very successful,” Tatar pointed out. “The great part is we’ve been talking a lot, on the ice, off the ice, which helps a lot to know where we’re at and what to do better. We’re not shy to talk about something when we do something wrong, we just want to be better every day.”

“He’s a smart player, he sees the ice well, he hangs on to it, he makes little plays and creates space that way,” Eb’s said of Tuna. “He’s had a ton of chances to score, it’s nice to see him get a couple tonight.”

Both wingers are 33-years-old with Eberle drafted in 2008 by the Edmonton Oilers, one summer ahead of Tatar being picked by the Detroit Red Wings.

What’s Next?

Step two of these final four games before the long NHL All-Star break and bye week is the visit from the Blues on Friday. St. Louis is one point out of the 2nd wild card spot and one point ahead of Seattle. The Blues have one game in hand on the Kraken.

Seattle then hosts the ‘lowly’ Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday evening before heading to San Jose for a game against the Sharks on Tuesday night.

Earlier Kraken:

— Kraken Snap Skid; Handle Blackhawks With 6-2 Win

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.