The Seattle Kraken rode a three-game losing streak into Saturday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild. Minnesota was coming off a tough 3–2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights just two nights previous, but sat right near the top of the wonky Central Division. The Kraken, on the other hand, sat firmly at the bottom of the Pacific Division.
The Kraken welcomed forward Colin Blackwell to the lineup after starting the season on the injured reserve list.
The star of this game was Wild center Rem Pitlick. He had a natural hat trick and the only three goals of the game headed into the third period. Seattle started off really slow with only three shots on net in the first period, but were only down by one goal.
Pitlick scored two more in the second period despite the Kraken leading in shots on goal, 13–9.
The third period ended up slightly more exciting, as Marcus Johansson scored a power play goal halfway through the final period to break the shutout and cut the lead to two goals.
— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) November 14, 2021
Nico Sturm added an easy empty-net goal with five minutes remaining as Head Coach Dave Hakstol used the rarely successful “Pull the goalie with over five minutes remaining and down by two goals” maneuver.
Alexander Wennberg scored a late goal for the Kraken with one minute remaining in the game, but it was far too little, far too late. The shot total favored Seattle 30–22, but the final score was 4–2.
⚓ Goaltending! Goaltending! Goaltending! It looks like Hakstol is just going to keep throwing Philipp Grubauer out there to struggle until he works it out on the ice. The rule of thumb is that giving up less than 25 shots in a game should put you in a position to win. The truth is that Seattle was not really ever in this game. If you check the heat map, all five of the non-empty-net goals were in the high-danger area. This is where the game was won/lost. I will concede that two of the goals were breakaways, but Pitlick made the same exact move on both.
⚓ That said, who could have predicted that a 24-year-old center playing in his 16th NHL game ever would score all the goals the Wild needed with a natural hat trick before the second intermission? No one. He had three goals on three shots in only 12:53 time on ice.
⚓ The good news is that the Kraken scored on the power play. Baby steps. This pulled them out of the basement for the worst power play, putting them ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins by 1.8%.
⚓ Analytics, once again, favored the Kraken. They led 5-on-5 in shot attempts (Corsi 54%–46%), unblocked shots (Fenwick 57%–43%), high-danger chances for (HDCF% 64%–37%) and expected goal for (xGF% 56%–44%). This all tells you one thing: Goaltending is still the reason for their demise.
⚓ The only line that was negative in possession was the Wennberg, Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz line, which was at 35% for on-ice even strength Corsi.
⚓ The Kraken are off until Wednesday when they host the Chicago Blackhawks for the first time at Climate Pledge Arena. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. PST.