RECAP: Eberle natural hat trick powers Kraken to 5–2 win

  

Coming off a game they should have won, based on statistics and game flow, the Seattle Kraken used their two-day break to rest up for the newly Jack Eichel-less Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo was without recently acquired Alex Tuch (injured) and Peyton Krebs (assigned to AHL Rochester), which definitely gave the Kraken an edge before the puck even dropped.

After a long emotional day in which their former captain and franchise player was traded away, the Sabres came out expectedly flat. The Kraken peppered goalie Dustin Tokarski with 30 shots in the first two periods while only surrendering 11. The score was surprisingly close, though, and Buffalo even took a brief 2–1 lead late in the second on goals by Tage Thompson and Kyle Okposo.

Buffalo quickly ran out of gas following their second goal, and the Kraken ran away with the game on the heels of a natural hat trick by alternate captain Jordan Eberle in a 10-minute span of the second and third periods.

Eberle’s feat—the first of its kind in franchise history—was sandwiched between goals by Morgan Geekie in the first period and a late third period goal by Jaden Schwartz, which ultimately put the game out of reach for the visitors.

Buffalo tried to mount a third period comeback, but the harder they pushed, the more goals ended up in the back of their net. They outshot the Kraken 10–8 in the frame, but gave up three goals on those eight shots.

Anchor points

⚓ It was the same old story for the Kraken until Eberle caught fire: The failure on the power play and the mediocrity in net. They were shut out on four power play opportunities for the night, which has them still sitting 29th overall at 8.3%. As far as Philipp Grubauer in goal, he gave up two goals on a paltry 11 shots in the first 40 minutes. He finished with 19 saves, which boosted his save percentage, but even .905 is not enough for a goalie due to make $35 million over the next six seasons. His reaction on Thompson’s goal just showed that he is not entirely on his game.

⚓ Another “same old story” for the Kraken is their failure at the face-off dots. They won only 41% of their face-offs as a team. This total has them 25th overall with a team face-off percentage of 46.9%, two spots ahead of Buffalo’s 46.1%.

⚓ Analytically, the Kraken led in 5-on-5 Corsi (shot attempts) and Fenwick (unblocked shots) with percentages of 54% and 61%, respectively. Their 5-on-5 expected goals for percentage was 65%. You can see where shots were generated below, which makes Grubauer’s play that much more suspect.

 

John Hayden tried (and failed) to put a big hit on Jamie Oleksiak in the first period, then came out swinging at the Kraken defenseman. As a reward, Hayden took about half a dozen Oleksiak fists to the side of the head and Geekie then scored two minutes later, clearly shifting the momentum.

⚓ Brandon Tanev continues to make himself noticeable. He had a shorthanded breakaway and always seems to be in front of the net causing chaos.

⚓ On a side note, can we just appreciate John Forslund as a play-by-play guy? He makes the games so much fun.

The Kraken have Friday off and will travel to Arizona to face the Coyotes on Saturday at Gila River Arena. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. PDT.

Center Ice Forums RECAP: Eberle natural hat trick powers Kraken to 5–2 win

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