Following another long hiatus, the Seattle Kraken began a five-games-in-eight-days stretch and hit the ice Monday night against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. The bad news was that the captain-less Avalanche were riding an 11-game home winning streak coming into the matchup, while the Kraken were riding a five-game losing streak that went all the way back to Dec. 14.
The Avalanche did not take long to start the scoring even though the Kraken had their opportunities. Forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel beat former Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer (with the help of Carson Soucy running into his own netminder) at the 5:50 mark to give the Ball Arena crowd something to cheer about.
Following the Aube-Kubel goal, Grubauer put his net on lockdown for the rest of the first and most of the second period. A fortunate power play allowed wing Marcus Johansson to tie the game at 9:16, which held into the first intermission. The tight shot totals were 10–9 in favor of Seattle.
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In the middle period, the Kraken came out shooting and brought a little luck with them. Jared McCann gave Seattle the lead on a bad-angle goal five minutes in, and Colin Blackwell gave them a two-goal lead 10 minutes later at the 14:20 mark.
Colorado cut the lead in half before the second intermission on Aube-Kubel’s second goal of the game with three minutes left in the second. Grubauer made 11 saves in the second period (some of them spectacular) to hold onto the elusive one-goal lead for the Kraken. He would be called upon in the third period even more, but his luck was not as good.
The Kraken’s bend-but-don’t-break defense finally gave way in the third period. Colorado peppered Grubauer with 14 shots, and goals by defenseman Devon Toews and Nazem Kadri snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat for the Avalanche. Toews’ goal was reviewed for a possible kicking motion, but eventually deemed good, which seemed to take the wind out of the Kraken sails.
Seattle could take a moral victory from this one, though, as they were heavy dogs coming in. They held the lead until late in the third and their goaltender played an excellent game. The final shot tallies were 35–24 in favor of Colorado.
⚓ I have been pretty hard on Grubauer (and for good reason), but I was really impressed with his play. He clearly came out with a little extra motivation to beat his former club and made some great saves. His team just left him fighting alone in the third period.
⚓ Another good sign for the Kraken was their power play breaking through in the first period with the Johansson goal and their penalty kill holding Colorado scoreless on three attempts.
⚓ The only Kraken line to have any success for the entire game was the Johansson-McCann-Jordan Eberle line, which was in the 60% range for Corsi and Fenwick. The Joonas Donskoi-Riley Sheahan-Alex Wennberg line was held to only three shots for and 10 against.
⚓ Soucy had a rough night, as he was directly responsible for two Avalanche goals. He ran into Grubauer on the first Aube-Kubel goal and inadvertently deflected the game tying Aube-Kubel goal into the net. He was on the ice for the Toews goal, as well.
⚓ Seattle was dominated in most possession metrics, but they focused on high-danger chances, which kept the game within their reach. Head Coach Dave Hakstol should take note and continue this approach. It never hurts to get the puck to the net and get some rebounds or redirections.
🔱 5-on-5 Corsi (total shot attempts) 58%–42%
🔱 5-on-5 Fenwick (Unblocked shot attempts) 58%–42%
🔱 5-on-5 High-danger chances for 56%–44%
🔱 5-on-5 Expected goals for 63%–37%
🔱 Face-off percentage 52%–48%
⚓ The Kraken have Tuesday off for travel but head to Texas to face the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night. The puck drop is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PST.