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Kraken flip the script on Stars, use sustained hot start to force game seven 

Period 1

Seattle, WA – Time and time again in their second season in franchise history, the Seattle Kraken have defied the odds and neglected the naysayers that told them that they could not reach new heights. Today’s game six in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was no different, as the Kraken powered their way past the Stars for a 6-3 victory to send this series to a game seven. Seattle was able to find the sort of pace and pressure that they needed to begin the game hot, just as Dallas had in the last two contests, and brought the attack to the Stars. Seattle forces a game seven in Dallas, on Monday the 15th

In games four and five, the Stars have been the ones who came out on fire looking to stun the Kraken, just as Seattle had done in every game of their round one matchup against the Avalanche. Dallas had put together their top line of Robertson-Hintz-Pavelski, and Seattle didn’t have an answer for it as the Stars took the past two games in commanding fashion. If they were going to keep this series going and ensure that they didn’t head out into the offseason just yet, the Kraken needed to flip the script and get out on the front foot before the Stars, especially in their home building. Still a somewhat young team in terms of their players ages and the franchise itself, Seattle looked to their leadership to get things going.  

Alternate captain, and fan favorite to become the team’s captain, Yanni Gourde was the one who got the party started for the Kraken with a persistent goal around the nine-minute mark into the first frame. Taking advantage of a turnover by Dallas, Seattle brought the puck up ice as Eeli Tolvanen found Gourde out on the wing, jamming the puck against Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger’s pads. Gourde found his own rebound over the right pad of Oettinger, who had just gotten out of his butterfly stance, to get things going and gave the fans a mean mug in celebration. A two-time cup winner himself, Gourde knows what it takes to win these elimination games and was able to ignite the Kraken attack. 

“I think our transition was faster a little bit, and then I think we get to the net a little bit quicker, fight through the box out, try to get there, and yeah, I think that was the main key of our games tonight,” Yanni Gourde, Seattle Kraken forward and alternate captain, on the priorities of tonight’s game. 

Just around 30 seconds later, the Stars were able to find an answer on an odd-man rush, catching the Kraken in a bit of a change that left Mason Marchment open with an easy goal. Weathering Dallas’ responses was going to be a key aspect to this game, as if Seattle was unable to do so, they could quickly be overwhelmed and as a result be packing up for the offseason. The Kraken remained calm, drawing a power play late into the first, and finally busting through on the main advantage as alternate captain Jordan Eberle took a rebound and weaved around a sprawled-out Oettinger to score and regain the Seattle lead. That sort of response and ability to weather the pushback of the Stars, was a huge factor in why the Kraken were able to win tonight and force a game seven.  

“I feel like that’s part of the playoffs. I feel like we did that in last couple of games when they scored and I feel like we had a pushback, so we knew that they’re going to have pushbacks and they’re going to have their chances. But I think we play pretty well and we played cool, so it’s just a credit for the team that we can weather those and just move on,” Eeli Tolvanen, Seattle Kraken forward, on the team weathering Dallas’ pushbacks.   

The Kraken will now head back to Dallas to play the win and advance game seven that will decide who will head to the Conference finals to battle Edmonton or Las Vegas. Game seven between Seattle and Dallas will take place on Monday, May 15th with a puck drop of 5PM PST and will be broadcast on ESPN. The Kraken will once again need this sort of hot start and sustained pace to get the right outcome when they battle the Stars in Dallas, knowing that their opponent will surely look to come out with a fight of their own.  

Warriors Fight Off Elimination

Stephen Curry driving the lane. (Photo Full Image 360)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — On the brink of elimination for the second time in two weeks, the reigning NBA Champion Golden State Warriors staved off elimination cruising to a convincing 121-106 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday,  May 10 at Chase Center. The Lakers lead 3-2 in the Western Conference Semifinal, with Game 6 tomorrow in Los Angeles at Crypto.com Arena. 

It was the most complete victory of the series for Dub Nation. Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins all scored more than 20 points in the lopsided win. 

Perhaps even worse for the Lakers is the health of Anthony Davis. He took an inadvertent elbow from Kevon Looney in the fourth quarter and exited with a head injury evidently bad enough to prevent him from returning to a game that was still within reach. His availability for Game 6 is shrouded in mystery and only adds intrigue to the dramatic, well played series.

Early on, Draymond Green was looking to score rather than pass up open shots.  This was the right decision, as his will and energy powered the Warriors to victory. He took most of those open shots, and was successful enough to score 20 points.

 “Draymond is one of the greatest competitors I’ve been around. So you expect him to bring it,” said Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr. 

This was easily the most impactful and best performance  by Andrew Wiggins in the semifinals.  Wiggins had 25 points (on 10-for-18 shooting), seven rebounds, six assists and a player on the floor the Lakers had to respect all game. 

Keep in mind that Wiggins is also guarding James, meaning he’s burning energy at both ends. 
AD had 23 points and 11 rebounds while LeBron added 25 in the loss. The role players did not show up,  Rui Hachimura, not D’Angelo Russell or Jarred Vanderbilt and not even Walker, who scored four points for the game and zero in this fourth quarter. 

It isn’t cause for great concern since role players, especially on the road,  don’t usually play well away from LA Live. However, the depth and the maturation of the supporting cast has been paramount in this triumphant playoff run. 

Game 6 is tomorrow, May 12 at Crypto.com Arena, where the Purple and Gold have been undefeated this postseason. Warriors fans  will be crossing their fingers for another great appearance from “Game 6 Klay.” While the Laker faithful remain optimistic they will knock out the Champs once and for all.  Tipoff is 7:00pm and the game will air on ESPN. 

Stars give Kraken a taste of their own medicine with offensive blast to tie series 

Seattle Kraken (Photo by Megan Connelly / fi360 News)

Seattle, WA – In game four of this second round Stanley Cup Playoffs series, the Dallas Stars flipped the script on the Seattle Kraken with a huge second period that led to the Stars taking a victory inside of the Kraken’s home barn. Just as Seattle had done in game three of the series, Dallas was able to bring the fight early and breakthrough in period two to give themselves a strong cushion to lay back on as they tied the series at two games each. The Kraken never seemed to lock into a groove offensively, failing to sustain much of any time in the Stars zone until things were too far out of reach. The result sends this game back to Dallas for game five of the series, and with the series now tied through four games, the two teams will essentially play a best of three. A potential big boost for Seattle going forward is that forward and 40-goal scorer Jared McCann returned to the Kraken lineup in this game.  

“They had a higher desperation to start the game. Executed better. They were the more aggressive team and we were on our heels and weren’t able to… spend enough time in the o-zone,” Jaden Schwartz, Seattle Kraken forward and alternate captain, on Dallas’ effort. 

If you took games three and four of this second round Stanley Cup Playoffs series, it’d be hard to decipher many of the different in the two when placed atop each other for comparison. In each contest, there was a major surge in the second period after that same team had a strong opening frame but either couldn’t score or only got one. That, the fact that the losing team pulled their starting goaltender heading into the third period, as well as how the losing side simply couldn’t put together sustainable offense in the opposing zone, and these games are nearly identical to each, just with different results. Ironically, these two results are much different than the contests that the team had in the regular season, with two of three of those battles heading into the overtime period.  

The Stars were able to dictate play throughout the first frame, putting the pressure on Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer and the team’s defensive back end, eventually forcing enough of a slip to gain a power play. Seattle’s strong penalty kill wasn’t able to bail them out this time, as Dallas’ Jamie Benn snapped a shot home with a goal that saw him effectively use two Seattle skaters as moving screens. The Kraken got the rare battle back opportunity, but it was never a fully constructed play and often was built out of chaos rather than anything else. From there, the floodgates of the Stars offense parted wide and far, as Dallas founds way to score with some of his balanced and good game. The Stars easily picked apart the holes left in the Kraken defensive backend, and things got ugly quickly.  

“A shift where there’s an extra effort play where a guy goes out and shows that his will is a little above his opponent’s has a way of building and shifting momentum… we’re going to need a whole lot more of that,” Dave Hakstol, Seattle Kraken head coach, on the team’s effort tonight. 

Game five of this series will take place on Thursday, May 11th with a puck drop time of 6:30PM PST. This matchup back in the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas will be broadcast on TNT as the Kraken will look to bounce back after they allowed six goals on home ice to this Stars team in this game today. Seattle will be aiming to further reintegrate star forward Jared McCann into the lineup ahead of game five, as having him back up to full strength is a major addition to this lineup and could be an X-Factor that pushes them over the edge. With today’s result, there will be a game six and that will take place on Saturday, May 13th with a puck drop time of 4PM PST, and it will be broadcast across ESPN.   

Lonnie Walker’s Lakers Magic

Lonnie Walker IV

LOS ANGELES, CA — Trailing by seven points after three quarters Lonnie Walker IV, a guard who has been buried on the bench in the Playoffs this far, spearheaded the comeback by scoring all 15 of his points as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors, 104-101 on Monday, May 8. Walker had the Crypto.com Arena rafters shaking with his brilliant and clutch shots, and now the Lakers have a commanding 3-1 series lead. 

Walker shot 6 of 9 from the field in the 4th quarter of Game 4, including the go ahead jumper with 1:53 remaining in the game which gave the Purple and Gold a 100-99 lead. “It just comes with a lot of confidence, it’s probably a difficult shot for others, but it really isn’t a difficult shot for me,” explained Walker postgame. 

With Walker shooting himself into Laker playoff lore, LeBron James and Anthony Davis embraced him for a group hug to celebrate the monumental victory. He became the first Laker off the bench with 15 points in the fourth quarter of a playoff game since Kobe Bryant achieved the feat 26 years ago. 

One final note on Lonnie Walker IV before recapping the thrilling action, Lakers coach Darvin Ham deserves credit for having faith in the Dead eye shooter, inserting him in crunch time. 

The Lakers, after starting 2-10, are on the verge

of advancing to the Western Conference Finals. They would also dethrone the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors in the process. 

With the Warriors’ facing the prospect of being down 3-1,  reigning NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Steph Curry delivered a triple-double performance. Curry not only scored a game-high 31 points, but he dished out his 2023 playoff-high 14 assists while grabbing 10 rebounds.

LeBron James with a sky hook

It was a performance for the ages- universally recognized as the game’s greatest shooter, his pinpoint passing combined with his crafty moves solidifies  him as one of the games greatest point guards of all time. 

 James scored 27 points and Anthony Davis had 23 points and 15 rebounds for the seventh-seeded Lakers, earning their eighth consecutive home victory since March.

The Warriors led by 12 late in the third quarter, but the Lakers chased down the champs and finished them with Walker leading the way. 

Davis, who blocked 11 shots in the first three games, wasn’t able to protect the rim with the same ferocity when his defensive matchups required him to go out to the perimeter, and the Warriors capitalized with 52 points in the paint.

It was a testament to the power of celebrity in Tinsel Town. Showtime is back!

 Jack Nicholson returned to his courtside seats for the second time in their last three home games. The Lakers’ 86-year-old superfan headlined another celebrity-studded crowd including Chris Pratt, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, Dave Chappelle, Dustin Hoffman, Kim Kardashian, Colin Jost and Flea.

Game 5 is in San Francisco at Chase Center on Wednesday, May 10. The Warriors backs are against the wall. Tipoff is 7:00 pm. 

Storm rookies show shine in preseason loss to Mercury 

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – A new age of Seattle Storm basketball is underway, showing reasons for both hope and worry in their first preseason game ahead of the 2023 season. The young Storm team started out with a lineup of veterans, and that group shot out with an immediate 11-0 run and grew a lead that reached 17 at one point. It looked like Seattle was going to be able to use their group of “misfits” to come together and truly play as a team to get victories, but things started to fall apart in the third quarter when the team simply couldn’t get stops on the Mercury. The Storm rookies attempted to mount a comeback in the dying moments of the fourth quarter, but failed to prevent Phoenix from furthering their lead.  

The beginning of this game very much looked like the type of Storm basketball that we’ve become accustomed to in recent memory, as who else but Jewell Loyd buried a three-pointer to open the scoring and begin a Seattle run. Veteran Yvonne Turner, starting the night as the Storm point guard, buried a three-pointer to follow up Loyd. Kia Nurse joined in to make it a trifecta of triples to begin this game and it felt like we were watching the big three of Bird-Stewart-Loyd with different faces. Nurse added two free throws before Phoenix was finally able to break through and end the run, as legend Diana Taurasi buried a three. The run had featured critical perimeter play on both ends, with the Mercury missing three of their four shots from beyond the arc.  

While Phoenix did close the gap to two by the team the first fifteen minutes had ended, the injection of some Storm youth onto the court helped Seattle build a strong lead that had hopes running high. Jordan Horston, the ninth overall selection in this past year’s draft, brought a spark of offensive versatility and defensive range. Rookie point guard Jade Melbourne, drafted in 2021 but played another year professionally before joining the team this year, was able to hang with the veterans even if she got roughed up a bit. It was encouraging to see the Storm get impact minutes from these rookie guards in their first ever game against real competition, as those two very likely could be a huge part of the future of this franchise.  

As everyone expected, this Storm team did have some injuries hold them back in this game, and the rough stretch that they faced ended up playing a big factor into why they lost this game. Out of the halftime break, the Mercury (with their starters now resting) were able to blow by the Seattle defenders on the court and force the Storm into bad shots throughout the third quarter. Seattle went on to miss their first three field goals of that quarter, and couldn’t stop Phoenix inside the paint or outside on the perimeter. The Mercury were playing good basketball, and clamped down the Storm as if the first half never happened. Seattle was only able to knock down four field goals in those fifteen minutes, all within three-point range. Although Ezi Magbegor did get a one-point lead back during the Phoenix surge, the Mercury regained the advantage and never looked back.  

Before their opening night battle against the reigning WNBA Champion Las Vegas Aces, a team that somehow got better this offseason, Seattle will play one more exhibition game. The Storm will head down to California for a closed scrimmage in Los Angeles against the Sparks on May 14th. Head coach Noelle Quinn said that Seattle still has a ton to figure out when it comes to the roster and the necessary decisions needed to be made to trim down before the regular season deadline, and the remainder of training camp and this scrimmage should help the coaching staff and front office figure out who wears a Storm jersey this year. 

Kraken slam Stars with 7-2 game three win to take series lead 

Period 1

Seattle, WA – Stanley Cup Playoff hockey returned to the Emerald City for game three of this second-round matchup between the Dallas Stars and Seattle Kraken. Outside of the one game during the regular season where Dallas beat Seattle by three goals, all the matchups (postseason +regular season) totaled together coming into this game tallied to five goals. The Kraken came out tonight and dominated the Stars, winning by a differential of five to match the total from those postseason and regular season games combined and rocking Climate Pledge Arena all Sunday-night long. With Philipp Grubauer remaining rock solid between the Seattle pipes, the Kraken were able to release their offensive pressure and relentless forecheck after a few days off to take the series lead at two-to-one and display the dominance their depth can generate.  

After a somewhat depleted effort proved to play a role in their loss in game two of the series back on Thursday, May 4th, Seattle as a team had two days off to take to themselves and recharge ahead of a game three battle with a deep Dallas team. It paid major dividends for the Kraken, as their relentless forecheck and offensive aggression showed was apparent in combination with the depth of their team. Seattle was able to dominate the offensive statistics throughout the first frame and looked ready to play from the jump, keeping the Stars on their heels and bringing the fight to Dallas. The Kraken got on the door step of a goal numerous times, often in frantic instances, but failed to get the ice to lean in their favor to go on the board first. The pace of the game was dictated by Seattle and they came out of the gate heavy on the forecheck, just the type of recipe that helped them knock off the Avalanche in round one.  

With a blank scoreboard after 20 minutes that saw the Kraken play the game that they wanted to, Seattle was finally able to kick the door down and find results. The scoring began in a somewhat peculiar way, as Kraken rookie forward Tye Kartye attempted to whip a puck in on Oettinger. The puck either took a weird angle or was redirected off the tip of a Stars skater that was trying to block Kartye, sending it directly at the face of Dallas’ Miro Heiskanen, sending him to the ice immediately. The puck fell right in front of the crease after colliding with Heiskanen, and Jordan Eberle was in the right spot at the right time, zooming into the play before making a move around Oettinger to score. A bang-bang play, Heiskanen taken off the ice and out of the game following the sequence, but it was the first domino to fall for this Kraken win.  

“We might not have the biggest names like a lot of teams but you know, we play like a real team. That’s what we’ve been doing it all year,” Matty Beniers, Seattle Kraken rookie forward, on the team’s depth scoring. 

Less than two minutes later, Seattle caught Dallas unprepared off a Kraken faceoff win (those are rare). Seattle’s Jaden Schwartz, demanding attention from two Stars skaters, was able to hold the puck just the split second long enough to get linemate Alex Wennberg wide open to snipe a puck near top corner and double the Kraken lead. Everything started to go Seattle’s way, as defenseman Carson Soucy jumped into the play and created some space for himself before taking advantage of Oettinger leaving his five-hole unchecked. In a span of minutes, the Kraken had jumped on the Stars and the floodgates had been opened. 

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the final score is. It’s a second win of the series for us. Flip the page, move on to Game 4, and make sure that energy that we had tonight is back with us two nights from now,” Dave Hakstol, Seattle Kraken head coach, on the win.  

The Kraken will host the fourth game of this series and second consecutive contest on Tuesday, May 9th against these Stars. Coming off a game that saw Seattle’s players get time off, the Kraken will take a day between games before they get an opportunity to take an imposing 3-1 lead over the Stars before the series swaps back to Dallas for game five. The puck drop time for that game four takes place at 6:30PM PST and will be broadcast on ESPN, and the Kraken may be getting a critical piece of their lineup back. Seattle forward Jared McCann was on the ice for morning skate ahead of game three in a normal jersey, and while he wasn’t available tonight, he’s progressing well in his recovery. 

Los Angeles Lakers Rout Golden State in Game 3

LOS ANGELES, CA – Anthony Davis was dominant in critical Game 3 on Saturday night leading the Los Angeles Lakers past the Golden State Warriors 127-97 at Crypto.com Arena. AD scored 25 points and 13 rebounds as the Lakers took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series.

LeBron James filled up the stat sheet finishing with 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. D’Angelo Russell carried the Lakers early by scoring all of his 21 points in the first half. The Lakers remained unbeaten at home in the postseason with a strong defensive effort against the reigning NBA champions.

Los Angeles seized control in the middle quarters, outscoring the Warriors 63-38 to turn Game 3 into a joke.

“After that first quarter, guys just really turned it up,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “They dialed up their competitiveness, and their communication was great. … We were just playing a really physical, forceful downhill game.”

The Warriors led 30-22 after the 1st quarter. From that point forward, it was all Purple and Gold. Going on a game changing 30-8 run thanks in part to Russell’s sweet stroke. Russell hit five 3-pointers while scoring 21 points for the seventh-seeded Lakers, who suddenly are not looking like a seventh seeded team.

Seems like everytime the Lakers win it comes down to defense and rebounding. When The Lakers utilize their size and drive aggressively to the rim, they are tough to beat.

It was the second consecutive blow out, the Warriors cruised to a 27 point victory on Thursday. Less than forty eight hours later, it was the Lakers who won by 30 points.

Golden State is on the ropes once again, as their offensive woes continue. committing 19 turnovers while never mounting a response to the Lakers on either end in the second half.

The Warriors were one dimensional in Game 3, hopelessly launching desperate three pointers with no ball movement due to the Lakers smothering defense.

Golden State went 13 for 44 on 3-pointers — making just 10 while the game was still competitive — after hitting 21 in each of the series’ first two games in San Francisco.

Stephen Curry scored 23 points and Andrew Wiggins had 16 in a collective letdown for Golden State. The Warriors were held under 100 points for only the fifth time in 92 games this season.

After a rough Game 2 in which Anthony Davis scored only 11 points, he had an exceptional effort in Game 3. Davis played well on both ends of the court, blocking four shots and leading the Lakers’ latest strong defensive effort.

Los Angeles has built its 16-5 run since March 17 on defense, and the Warriors couldn’t hit enough shots from the perimeter to counteract their disadvantages in size and athleticism.

What superlatives can one even use to describe LeBron James? At 38, he is still in his prime mixing in a handful of plays that defied his age and 20 years of NBA experience. He made a deft spin move and blocked a shot on the other end shortly after he leaped the front row of fans and ran well up into the stands after making a deflection. King James in full force.

Pivotal Game 4 is on Monday, May 8 at Crypto.com Arena. Tipoff is at 7:00 pm.

New Roads Baseball wins Coast League

New Roads Baseball Celebrate a win. (Photo by Full Image 360)

New Roads School is a college preparatory private independent school in Santa Monica serving the Westside area.  At New Roads, students build a foundation for their futures by engraining in meaningful scholarship and developing a well-defined moral compass.  New Roads is known for placing its graduating students into extraordinary universities where each student is prepared to thrive.  New Roads, however, is not known for its baseball team.  Indeed, over the past four years, the New Roads varsity baseball team compiled a record of 1-41.

That has changed. This past Friday, New Roads defeated Coastal League two-time defending champion Lennox Academy by a score of 4-1 on Senior Night in front of a crowd of nearly 200 at Clover Park. That victory clinched New Roads’ first Coast League championship ever.

New Roads School Jaguars Baseball 2023 Coastal League Champions. (Photo by Full Image 360)

New Roads made a statement move last season, hiring former New York Yankee prospect and community college coach, Culver City’s Hector Zamora to turn the baseball program around.  Zamora brought in former New Roads star outfielder Erik Scott, as well as Culver City’s Justin Weiner and Scott Zeidman to assist in the program’s turn-around. 

New Roads entered Friday’s league championship game with one loss, facing off with the previous unbeaten Lennox Academy.  New Roads turned to staff ace freshman Xavier Walker for the start.  With the playoffs looming and on a limited pitch count, Walker was scheduled to go two innings.

Tristan Nash at the plate. (Photo by Full Image 360)

Lennox took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first.  New Roads answered in the bottom of the first as Junior shortstop Tristan Nash led off with a booming double to right.  Sophomore second baseman Fox Raggio followed with a triple, scoring Nash.  Likely Coastal League Most Valuable Player, freshman Elio LaPorta, singled in Raggio, giving New Roads a 2-1 lead.

Walker excelled in his two innings, striking out five and giving up the lone run in the first.  Leading 2-1, LaPorta followed Walker on the mound.  La Porta was nearly unhittable for the next four innings, giving up a lone infield single and striking out seven.

New Roads clung to a precarious 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning of the scheduled seven inning game.  New Roads exploded for two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, with Raggio and Walker. Freshman Hayden Farrell-Katseanes contributed to the scoring with a clutch single.

LaPorta throws a pitch on the mound. (Photo by Full Image 360)

LaPorta took the mound for the seventh inning and made quick work of the Lennox lineup, retiring the side on 12 pitches, sealing the victory for New Roads.  Asked about how it felt to beat Lennox for the first time in his high school career, senior captain Jackson Chapman couldn’t have been more diplomatic.  “That Lennox team is incredibly good. They are fundamentally sound, and make the plays.  This game could have gone either way, and I expect to see Lennox go far in the playoffs.”  Chapman continued, “We (the New Roads team) worked so hard this year under coach Hector (Zamora).  I’m so happy for the seniors (Chapman, Diego Flores-Montes and Isaac Snegaroff) as we’ve experienced a lot of losing before this year.  That makes this year that much better.  And look, we start six freshman (Walker, LaPorta, Katseanes, Shea Tucker, Asamino Spong, and Bishop Banks).  This might be our first playoff appearance, but it certainly won’t be our last.  We are stacked!”

New Roads is scheduled to face the winner of Tuesday’s Wild Card game between Brentwood and Coastal Christian in the CIF Division 7 playoffs this Thursday.

Avalanche come out on the offensive, take game six as Kraken fail to capitalize on massive opportunity 

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – With a chance to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a victory, the Seattle Kraken fell flat on their face in front of their raucous home crowd at Climate Pledge Arena. The Kraken failed to mitigate the intensity and aggression displayed by an Avalanche team with their season on the line and already down numerous starters due to various reasons, and Colorado pushed through. With their backs against the wall, the defending Stanley Cup Champions showed why they secured the Central division in the western conference and their loaded top line pushed the pace all night. Now, the fate of both teams’ seasons hangs in the balance of game seven on Sunday.  

The Avalanche had to come out in this game swinging and bring the fight to the Kraken, and that they did. Seattle had been the better team early in nearly every game of this series, and Colorado knew that if they were to take game six on the road they’d need to get off to a good start. Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar decided to load his top line, placing Artturi Lehkonen, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen together to really put pressure on the Kraken. It appeared Colorado were going to find an early score to begin this game, as Bowen Byram used numerous Seattle skaters in front of Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer as screens to find the back of the net. Seattle’s head video analyst Tim Ohashi had the team challenge the goal for offsides and they won, taking the goal off the board, but the Avalanche were not deterred in their intensity.  

After the Kraken seemed to respond with a goal that counted, putting the Avalanche in a deficit, Colorado roared back and struck in a crucial moment before the intermission. In the dying seconds of the first frame, the Avalanche built from their defensive zone with speed as Nathan MacKinnon facilitated a pass from a faceoff circle to teammate Devon Toews who was jumping into the play. Toews shot was stopped initially by Grubauer, but remained free as it bounced in front of the crease. No Seattle stick could clear the puck in time, allowing Colorado’s Evan Rodrigues to poke the loose puck over to teammate Mikko Rantanen for the easy tap in. Just like that, there was no lead heading into the first intermission, and the Avalanche had broken through.  

“A lot of pace in the first period, back and forth, both ways up and down the rink. Second period, they tilted the game their direction in terms of they got on top of us with their forecheck, which it starts momentum, and we weren’t able to break that enough. So you start defending, you end up defending and end up in that period killing six minutes in penalties, and now you’re coming off of that and fighting for energy and fighting to turn around the momentum at the same time, we weren’t able to do that in that second period,” Dave Hakstol, Seattle Kraken head coach, on his assessment of the loss.  

A big reason for the success of Seattle in this series against the defending Stanley Cup champions has been their quick starts and waves of pressure generated against Colorado. The Kraken were able to find a faint hint of that in this game, thanks to Vince Dunn’s one-timer goal to open the scoring in the first period. Just over a minute after the Avalanche “goal” by Bowen Byram was overturned, Seattle had a zone entry that saw rookie forward Tye Kartye send a puck towards Colorado goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. Georgiev made the right leg pad save, and teammate Erik Johnson attempted to clear the puck up the boards for a change. In the right place, at the right time, was Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn, who immediately took his shot and slammed a one-timer past Georgiev cleanly to open the scoring.  

The vibes were good inside of Climate Pledge Arena following the Dunn goal, the 17,151+ fans waving their rally towels and erupting in immediate succession. It appeared that Seattle was again going to muster up that pressure that they had generated early in each game of the series to this point, but it turned out to be a blip on the greater scale of Colorado’s most complete game of the series. After a first frame that saw them register ten shots on goal, the Kraken were only able to muster four shots in five-on-five play in the final two periods. In total, Seattle registered 13, but both of those numbers are truly inexcusable when it comes to trying to close out a series against a team that’s down numerous notable players and when the chance to advance is in your home building. 

“I thought we played a lot on our heels tonight. We expected them to give the game to us and didn’t really play with pressure. And obviously a good team like that or play with desperation, they’re going to come at you in waves. I think obviously that we were in the box a lot too. It gives their power play a lot of opportunity and that just creates momentum and then tires us out. So, I mean, accustomed to a lot of that stuff,” Jordan Eberle, Seattle Kraken forward and alternate captain, on what changed after his team scored first.   

Tonight’s game six result sets up a winner take all game seven on Sunday, April 30th with a puck drop time of 6:30PM PST. Instead of handling business and advancing to the second round in their own building, the Kraken couldn’t put it together against this inspired Avalanche team and the series will meet its end in Colorado at Ball Arena. While Seattle has showed throughout the course of this series that they belong and that they’ve been the better team, the lack of effort and drive to close tonight’s game out raises the question if perhaps the experience of the Avalanche is pushing through. The Kraken will look to bounce back from this poor performance and make history in game seven this Sunday.   

Jordan Eberle’s overtime winner tops Avalanche in game four as Kraken tie series 

Period 3

Seattle, WA – After a tough loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning last March, Kraken alternate captain Jordan Eberle said that the team had “twenty days to find out who wants to be here” when referencing the trade deadline. Numerous veterans were shipped out as Seattle looked to the future, and Eberle made a statement that he wanted to be here as a member of the Kraken and build something special. Tonight, in game four of the first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup against the Colorado Avalanche, Jordan Eberle scored the most important goal in franchise history to tie the series at two games apiece.   

Game four of this series started off fast for the Kraken, just as it has in every single game of this first round Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup. Seattle became the second team in NHL history to score first in their first four contests of the postseason, joining the Toronto Arenas (Now the Maple Leafs) thanks to Will Borgen’s first period goal. Just as they had before, the Kraken were displaying the waves of attacking pressure that they can bring thanks to their depth, and it was doing its job against Colorado. Seattle continued to pelt Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev with shots through the first frame and were able to create a golden opportunity on an unfortunate event.  

Colorado defenseman Cale Makar hit Kraken forward Jared McCann far after the whistle, slamming him in the boards and eventually taking him out of the game as he did not return. Considering that the play had been blown dead and the puck was not close to the two, Makar was issued a major penalty (five minutes) initially before the officials discussed and decreased it to a minor. That itself is ridiculous and here’s to hoping that the NHL safety committee punishes Makar for the play, but the Kraken pushed on and took advantage of the power play when Daniel Sprong rang the puck off the pipes of the goal in the dying seconds of the man advantage. Once again in this series, Seattle had a two-goal lead to begin the game.  

“Yeah, it’s part of the plan. I mean, we’ve got to play at the bottom there, I think we have a lot of success there. Keep using our D, keep shooting the puck. If we do that, I think we’re a pretty successful group,” Yanni Gourde, Seattle Kraken forward and alternate captain, on the team trying to wear down the Avalanche. 

Stanley Cup Playoff hockey continues to show out for the Seattle Kraken and their fans, in a variety of different ways. Whether that be the intensity level of the play on the ice, the stress that it brings on a minute-by-minute basis throughout the course of each game, or the physicality in each hit. The Kraken and their fans are seeing it all play out in this first round series against the Avalanche, and one of those key aspects was especially apparent in the win for Seattle.  

“I think all around. I think our forecheck was much better tonight. I think part of it is just having a better chip. It’s tough to forecheck someone when their eyes up, especially that group of defensemen there, they’re pretty solid. But any defenseman that is trying to dig out that puck from the wall, it’s pretty inconvenient, and that’s what we did tonight. We put the puck in better spots, and it was easier to forecheck that way. So, like I said, we did a better job tonight sticking to our system,” Yanni Gourde, Seattle Kraken forward and alternate captain, on tonight’s physicality. 

The series now switches off into individual games instead of the two game blocks through the first four. The Kraken will head back to Colorado for game five of this series, taking place on Wednesday April 26th with a puck drop at 6:30PM PST. Seattle, coming off this historic victory, will be gunning to keep the pressure on the Avalanche but will have to do so without 40-goal scorer Jared McCann, as the forward was taken out after the whistle by Colorado defenseman Cale Makar. The win tonight guarantees we will have a game six, which will take place on Friday, April 28th with a puck drop that is still to be announced back at Climate Pledge Arena.   

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