Avalanche take series lead, poke holes in Kraken defense in game three 

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – For the first time since the early part of the 1900s, there was Stanley Cup Playoff hockey in the great city of Seattle. Game three and four of this first round series between the Colorado Avalanche and Seattle Kraken flipped to the Emerald City, where the Kraken again aimed to start fast and maintain that energy for the full 60 minutes. Early showings made it seem as though Seattle could ride their home-ice momentum to a victory, but the Avalanche found the weak points in the Kraken play and exploited them. Colorado’s superstars came to play and made their mark to put the game out of reach for Seattle, after the Kraken had fought back with a two goal second period to tie things up. With the 6-4 victory, the Avalanche took a two games to one lead in the series.   

Kraken forward Jaden Schwartz began the scoring in this game, notching the first ever home playoff goal in Kraken franchise history, with a tipped puck in the Colorado crease. After some chaos in front of the Avalanche net where Seattle tried and tried to get a greasy goal against Alexandar Georgiev, Kraken forward Alex Wennberg pushed the puck out to defenseman Justin Schultz at the blue line. Schultz, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, flung the puck towards the goal where Schwartz had parked himself net-front. Schwartz made the redirection play with his stick, and the capacity crowd at Climate Pledge Arena erupted like only a Seattle sports crowd could. Schwartz notched his first goal of this postseason, 25th in his playoff career, and began the show in Seattle that seemed like it was going to be joyous for the Kraken and their fans.   

“We had a good start and some momentum. Got some energy, spent a lot of time in their zone and then they grabbed the momentum back on just a couple errors that end up in the back of our net and did a good job of climbing back. That’s how these games are. They’re tight. Each teams seem to grab momentum at different times and it’s close out there, tight games,” Jaden Schwartz, Seattle Kraken forward and alternate captain, on the start of the game.  

All season long, defensive lapses and mistakes have hindered Seattle’s ability to be even better than they have been. The Kraken, an excellent team in five-on-five play with incredible offensive production up and down the entirety of the lineup this season, still need to tighten up on the backend. While they’ve been able to do so to reach this point, tonight the Avalanche exposed the issues that remain in Seattle’s defensive areas. Top defenseman pairing Vince Dunn and Adam Larsson have been the easy choice for best duo on the backend, but even those two have had their issues here and there throughout the year.  

Seattle Kraken (Photo by Megan Connelly / fi360 News)

Tonight, Seattle’s issues actually began when the Kraken were on a power play. On the man advantage with four minutes to play before the first intermission, the Avalanche were able to battle along the boards to regain possession and launch a counterattack. It appeared that Seattle was going to be able to defend it just fine, as the Kraken were able to match the two Colorado skaters with two of their own in Justin Schultz and Daniel Sprong. Sprong lost traction and fell on his backside trying to backpedal as the Avalanche counter came down ice, leaving Colorado’s J.T. Compher wide open to receive a pass from teammate Cale Makar and dangle around Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer to tie the game. From there, the Avalanche scored on a four-on-four, immediately off a faceoff and caught Seattle in a three on two to display a few of the ways they found cracks in the Kraken.  

“Well, those guys, we know the level of players there. Those guys are world class players, we gave them too much time and space a little too easily tonight, right? They’re going to work. They’re going to generate. They’re going to get their opportunities. When we’re taking away some of that time and space and defending and making it a little more difficult, that’s obviously a better scenario for us. Like I said tonight, the first one is a mistake on the power play, right. The second we dive in on a four on four when 29 is on the ice. That’s something you can’t do, and then you can go through each one. But we got to do a better job as a group on those guys,” Dave Hakstol, Seattle Kraken head coach, on defending Colorado’s superstars better moving forward.   

Like game two’s loss, the Kraken will need to flush this loss quickly after game three’s result. Seattle will not skate tomorrow, and will get back to action on Monday, April 24th for game four of this first round Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup. Puck drop for Monday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche is at 7PM PST, as the Kraken will view this game as a must win before the series will flip back to Colorado for game five of the series. Depending on the result of game four, we’ll see if a game six in Seattle and or a game seven in Colorado will be necessary for this series.