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CU officially enters Prime era with annual scrimmage

"Coach Prime" takes in the action during the CU Black and Gold Spring Game at Folsom Field in Boulder, CO on Saturday April 22, 22023. "Offense" defeated "Defense" by a score of 39 to 27. (Photo by Laura Domingue/fi360 News).

The CU Buffalo scrimmage on Saturday, April 22 at Folsom Field showcased the new era with coach Deon Sanders as more than 45,000 tickets were sold, demolishing the previous 17,800 record attendance in 2008.

Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) hands off to white team Anthony Hankerson (22) during the CU Black and Gold Spring Game at Folsom Field in Boulder, CO on Saturday April 22, 22023. “Offense” defeated “Defense” by a score of 39 to 27. (Photo by Laura Domingue/fi360 News).

The game was also the only broadcasted spring game on ESPN this weekend despite much nationally ranked teams like Alabama and Notre Dame also having scrimmages the same day.

After taking the helm in December, Sanders has been vocal over the team’s future and how Colorado fans deserve more than the past couple of seasons, including their dismal 1-11 record last season.

“We don’t look behind us; we look ahead,” Sanders said at the post game conference.

According to Sanders, due to weather conditions and several other reasons there was not a full-on scrimmage, but instead a “speed day.”

Colorado black team Tayvion Beasley (13) tackles white team Kaleb Mathis (13) during the CU Black and Gold Spring Game at Folsom Field in Boulder, CO on Saturday April 22, 22023. “Offense” defeated “Defense” by a score of 39 to 27. (Photo by Laura Domingue/fi360 News).

The near freezing temperatures and snow did not stop the sellout crowd to join in with electric enthusiasm. This energy carried onto the field, according to Sanders.

“I was amazed,” Sanders said later when talking about the Colorado crowd. “It was a moment you’ll never forget.”

Colorado two-way player Travis Hunter (12) makes a reception during the CU Black and Gold Spring Game at Folsom Field in Boulder, CO on Saturday April 22, 22023. “Offense” defeated “Defense” by a score of 39 to 27. (Photo by Laura Domingue/fi360 News).

The scrimmage started off with 98-year-old Colorado superfan Peggy Coppom taking the opening kickoff while being escorted by Sanders.

Sanders named her MVP after the game.

“She was quick, her first step was unbelievable,” Sanders said. “She was very physical when she grabbed me and made sure I held her arm.”

The period format for the scrimmage for all four quarters featured kick off practice, followed by a drive from the 1st team offense vs. the second team defense. The second team offense then faced against the first team defense for a drive, and the period ended with the 3rd team offense and defense battling for a drive and some field goal practice.

There was also seven on seven play and one-on-one battles between the offensive and defensive lines almost halfway into the scrimmage.

Colorado white team Anthony Hankerson (22) is tackled by black team Aubrey Smith (32) and Jordan Woolverton (16) during the CU Black and Gold Spring Game at Folsom Field in Boulder, CO on Saturday April 22, 22023. “Offense” defeated “Defense” by a score of 39 to 27. (Photo by Laura Domingue/fi360 News).

Offensive players donned white and defensive players were in black; quarterbacks wore gold jerseys and special teams’ players wore silver.

Sander’s son quarterback Shedeur threw for a couple of touchdowns, including a 98-yard score to returning wide receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig; they had a combined 154 yards and two touch downs together.

Shedeur followed his father from Jackson State where he finished with 40 touchdowns and 6 interceptions last season.

Travis Hunter, a cornerback and receiver out of high school, also showcased his skills as a promising recruiting victory by Sanders. He received a touchdown toss from Shedeur and followed that by not allowing a catch despite being targeted three times.

Colorado quarterback Ryan Staub (16) takes off for a run during the CU Black and Gold Spring Game at Folsom Field in Boulder, CO on Saturday April 22, 22023. “Offense” defeated “Defense” by a score of 39 to 27. (Photo by Laura Domingue/fi360 News).

Overall, CU fans caught a glimpse into the Prime era at Boulder. CU will begin their regular season Sept. 2 against TCU.

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.   

Phoenix Pulls Away In Second Half Over The Clippers

Chuck the Condor (Full Image 360)

PHOENIX, AZ– With the Los Angeles Clippers winning game 1 of the playoffs over the Phoenix Suns on the road, the Phoenix Suns led by Devin Booker’s 38 points pulled away in the second half cruising to a 123-109 victory on Tuesday, April 18.

This exciting Western Conference first-round series is tied 1-1. The Clippers opened up the game with more energy, physicality and superb defense in the first half. Los Angeles held an early 13 point edge, while Phoenix went ice cold from the field.

Unfortunately, Phoenix soon found their stroke, going on a 19-2 run which included a Devin Booker 3 pointer just before the buzzer to even the score at 59 apiece heading into the locker room. 

Although Kevin Durant scored 25 points, his  greatness is not enough to propel the Suns to an NBA Title. The heart and soul of the Phoenix Suns is Devin Booker. Booker went absolutely wild in the third quarter, torching the Clippers for 18 points on 7 of 8 from the field. 

“He’s an all-around player,” Kevin Durant said speaking of Booker. “He can do everything at an elite level on a basketball court.” 

Even with the loss the Clippers still achieved their goal by getting a split in Phoenix. In addition, Kawhi Leonard led all Clippers with 31 points. Their spirited effort showed NBA fans that this is shaping up to be a long, perhaps legendary playoff series. One in which the Clippers now possess home court advantage. 

Russell Westbrook scored 28 points in the loss. “We know it’s going to be a tough series, they came back and took care of business tonight.”

Moving ahead, the Clippers have been frustrating and confusing the Suns with their unpredictable defensive sets. Seamlessly rotating, double teams-anything to cause chaos. 

The Phoenix Suns truly did heat up in the second half. Suns center DeAndre Ayton had 14 points, and Torrey Craig drained five three pointers in the must win for Phoenix. 

In Game 1 on Sunday afternoon, the Clippers went into Footprint Center, and won 115-110 to open up the Western Conference playoff series. 

This series now shifts to LA, when the Phoenix Suns visit the Los Angeles Clippers tomorrow night , April 20. Tipoff is at 7:30 pm. Attention all Clippers fans: make the journey to Crypto.com Arena to support your team. 

In 2021, the Phoenix Suns eliminated the Los Angeles Clippers in game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. That game wasn’t even a sellout. Game 3 figures to be different. 

The series now turns into a best of five. Two of those games will be in Los Angeles including a game 7 if necessary.  Buckle your seatbelts- this will be a wild ride!

Kraken come within inches, can’t end regular season with win, falling to Golden Knights

Photo by Maddy Grassy / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – The Seattle Kraken ended their second regular season in franchise history with a narrow defeat, literally and figuratively, to divisional rival Las Vegas. The Kraken had numerous near misses on scoring opportunities throughout the course of the game and arguably dominated in that category but couldn’t locate the final piece to complete their puzzle. Regardless of the result, Seattle is heading to the postseason, but the loss doesn’t help clear up who their opponent will be in the first round. Following the loss to the Golden Knights, the Kraken will await the result of tomorrow’s Colorado vs Nashville game to determine if they will face the Avalanche or the Dallas Stars.  

“I like our team. I think we match up well with anyone and I know what we can do in this room and what guys are fully capable of… it’s going to be lots of fun,” Kraken forward Morgan Geekie on how he feels about Seattle being in the playoffs.  

The scoring got underway in an unfortunate manner, as Las Vegas got a wacky bounce off Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn trying to clear the puck up the ice. Four ticks below ten minutes into the period, Dunn came around his own goal and looked to throw the puck down the ice to clear it from his zone but was impeded by Las Vegas forward Reilly Smith. The Golden Knights forward stuck his skate backwards in the direction of the puck, redirecting it back towards an unsuspecting Seattle goaltender Philipp Grubauer. It was an odd, bang-bang play that was unfortunate and technically was Las Vegas’ first shot of the night as the Kraken had been dominating with heavy pressure to begin the game. That play and its vibes set the tone for the rest of this contest, in one of the weirder ways that Seattle has lost a game this season. 

Veteran Kraken forward Jaden Schwartz scored the only goal in tonight’s game for Seattle, a response to Las Vegas’ odd bounce score earlier in the opening period. One of the teams’ alternate captains, Schwartz was seen in full pads for morning skate ahead of the regular season finale which is a rarity as he’s always seen in a track suit for practice. Perhaps the 2019 Stanley Cup champion was feeling it today, as he hammered home one-timer off a pass from Alex Wennberg through heavy traffic to tie things up with under four minutes before the first intermission. Keeping Schwartz’s health as a top priority will be a major key if the Kraken want to go deep into the playoffs. 

“Both have great depth, that’s big. Both teams are hard to play against, they make teams work for chances. And they’re very close-knit groups,” Seattle forward and alternate captain Jaden Schwartz on what similarities exist between the 2019 cup-winning St Louis Blues and this Seattle team 

When the Los Angeles Kings secured victory during this game, it meant that the result of Las Vegas against Seattle was obsolete and that it had no value for the Kraken in terms of seeding. Now, Seattle and their fans will have to wait till tomorrow at 5PM PST when the Avalanche take on the Predators in a game that will decide who the Kraken face in round one, their first ever playoff series. It’s as simple as this: If Colorado wins, then the Kraken will play Colorado. If Colorado loses, the Kraken will play the Dallas Stars. Those two are both teams that Seattle has beaten over the course of the past few months, but the Kraken must remain purely focused on the task at hand.   

Lakers Are In ‘Seventh’ Heaven

LOS ANGELES, CA– The Los Angeles Lakers clinched the NO. 7 seed in the Western Conference after defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves in Overtime, 108-102 on Tuesday, April 11th at Crypto.com Arena. With the hard fought victory, the Lakers will face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Although LeBron James has gone on record proclaiming his disdain for the NBA Play-In Tournament, he and the Lakers have provided classic moments for fans of the Purple and Gold. For instance, their furious comeback as the T’Wolves built a commanding fifteen point lead in the second half.

Dennis Schroder scored 21 points, drilling a clutch 3-pointer on a pass from James with 1.4 seconds left in regulation before icing the win with two free throws with 8.4 seconds remaining in the extra session for the Lakers. They started the season 2-10 and sat six games below .500 at the trade deadline.

Minnesota has a knack for blowing big leads- leading the NBA with 19 losses after having a 10 point lead. It was a sloppy, fierce matchup in which both teams made critical errors down the stretch.

When Schroder buried the potential game winner with 1.4 seconds left, everyone thought the game was over.

Anthony Davis implored his teammates in the huddle not to foul the shooter, then AD inexplicably fouled Mike Conley on a desperation three with 0.1 seconds left in regulation.The Timberwolves forced overtime when Conley hit his free throws after the foul.

Davis and James said they had a mix-up about who was supposed to defend the shooter in the corner. “That was totally on me,” said Davis, who had 24 points and 15 rebounds.

That California cool attitude certainly payed off in the extra five minutes. With the T’Wolves confidence shattered, the Lakers pedigree combined with their playoff experience signaled winning time for the Lakers.

Another sloppy aspect of this nail-biter game was the questionable officiating.

Fans at Crypto.com Arena were shaking the rafters loud, hollering at the refferees for their calls. LA sports fans have a notorious reputation for being blase, quiet fans. More interested with their cell phones and spotting celebrities, rather than paying attention to the game being played.

This stereotype proved to be blatantly false, a big assist goes to the 20,000 passionate Laker fans, who never quit believing the Lakers would find a way to win.

Minnesota went scoreless for six minutes in the fourth quarter. Los Angeles began its comeback after Karl Anthony Towns had to sit with his fifth foul, and it took the lead for good on a 3-pointer on the opening possession of overtime by Rui Hachimura, who had 12 points.

LeBron James had 30 points and 10 rebounds, while Anthony Davis had 24 points to go alongside 15 rebounds.

Now it’s off to Tennessee to face JA Morant and the NO. #2 seed Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

The first game of the first round of the playoffs will take place on Sunday, April 16th at 12:00 p.m. at FedEx Forum. The game will air on ABC

Kraken continue to climb, tighten up before Playoffs with 7-3 rout of Chicago 

Seattle Kraken (Photo by Megan Connelly / fi360 News)

Seattle, WA – A game off their playoff berth clinching victory, the Seattle Kraken sought out to continue their positive momentum in the final four games of the regular season. Seattle, with some hiccups along the way that they’ll want back, pummeled Chicago and were able to keep the good vibes pushing as their winning streak now rests at four games. With the Kraken win, the two points they gain secures their spot as the top Wild Card team in the Western Conference at very minimum, as they still have a shot at overtaking the third seed in the Pacific Division. Seattle must continue their winning ways and the Los Angeles Kings need to drop a few more games, which won’t be an easy road for the Kraken as after they face the Arizona Coyotes on Monday, take on the Las Vegas Golden Knights twice to round out the season. 

The Kraken’s success story this season has primarily been because of their depth in their four forward lines, and in another key victory, that shown through in this win. Seattle had 12 different skaters tally a point in the victory, while all four of Seattle’s forward lines recorded a point in the game and two of the three defenseman pairings got in on the fun with a point. The Kraken have been able to do this sort of thing all season long, and it’s arguably the biggest reason why they have been so successful in just their second year as a franchise. Getting this level of production all year long at this time of year is crucial for Seattle to start clicking at the right time as they head into their first ever postseason.   

““Especially [when] you’re playing teams that can shut you down pretty well and shut down one or two lines… I think it’s huge that four lines could put pucks in,” Seattle Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak on his team’s depth 

Kraken defenseman and alternate captain Adam Larsson, jubilant about his breakaway goal scored in the second period, noted that the team needed to address some things on their end as Chicago tallied three goals in the contest and could’ve had a fourth if it hadn’t been for a video review overturning it. Seattle’s defensive play had its typical issues, turning over the puck in their own zone and allowing persistent pressure throughout the course of the game to a Blackhawks team that has struggled all season as the second to worst team in the NHL. The vibe and general feeling of this game was unique, as the Kraken dominated the matchup, but the Blackhawks hung around and snuck in their shots when they found them.  

It wasn’t as if Seattle was doing anything different or like Chicago’s offensive attack was something special, the Kraken were sloppy in their own zone and turned the puck over like they were trying to. The passing lanes were relatively open for the Blackhawks, the Kraken turned the puck over twice in their defensive zone, and Seattle generally played a bit down to their opponents’ level in the game following their playoff berth clinching victory. If there is one area of their game that I would change or improve about the Kraken, it easily would be their defensive play. With a rock-solid defensive effort game in and game out, Seattle could be unstoppable.  

“There were sloppy portions of the game and [some of that’s] inherent coming off of a big win the other night… The guys know we got to make sure that we clean that back up,” Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol on his teams defensive play 

The Kraken continue their final steps to the postseason, now with just three games left before they take on their first ever playoff opponent. That opponent still must be determined and will be sorted out of their next three games, which begin on Monday, April 10th inside of the infamous Mullett Arena when the team battles the Arizona Coyotes for the third and final time this season. Puck drop for the battle in the desert is at 7PM PST, and the Kraken will need to be careful about the trouble that the Coyotes may get into considering the number of fights that Arizona started in the past two games the teams played last season. 

Seattle Kraken clinch playoff berth with inspired victory over troublesome Coyotes 

Period 3

Seattle, WA – Thanks to a satisfying 4-2 victory over the aggressive Arizona Coyotes, the Seattle Kraken have clinched their first postseason berth in franchise history. Seattle will head to the playoffs in just their second season in NHL existence, getting to this point as a complete team that rolls deep with contributors all over its roster. The Kraken have shown that they don’t need a superstar to be successful, and it was the line of two formerly “bottom-six” skaters and Calder Trophy front runner Matty Beniers who tallied three of the four goals that Seattle scored in the win. With the win and their playoff ticket punched, the Kraken will learn their first-round opponent as the final week of the regular season is up next. 

Seattle’s top line of Jared McCann, Matty Beniers, and Jordan Eberle came to play in this historic game for the franchise. One of, if not the most, productive groups for the Kraken, these three feature veterans in Eberle and McCann who have been able to revitalize their careers in Seattle. And then centering them, the young star Matty Beniers, Seattle’s first ever draft pick and the Calder Trophy front runner that could be the face of the Kraken franchise for years to come. The three combined for nearly all of the Seattle goals tonight, and perhaps it’s a bit fitting considering the production that they have all had for this team this season.  

“You look at the leap that we made, I mean, it’s special,” said Kraken forward and alternate captain Jordan Eberle. “We’ve got a special group here, and I think from Day one, a lot of people have written us off. And to get to this point is obviously an accomplishment.” 

Jared McCann began the scoring as the first period was winding down, as Beniers sprinted up ice to corral a loose puck behind the net, passing it to Eberle from behind the goal, who then found McCann open on the back door to give the Kraken a one-goal lead heading into intermission. Eberle got on the board next, on a play started by an excellent forecheck by Matty Beniers. Beniers took on two Coyotes skaters, Jared McCann was able to snag the loose puck and sling it to Eberle, who had acres and acres of space for Eberle to easily fire away and score. Finally, it was Beniers’ turn, flying down the ice on a breakaway to beat Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka and ice this victory. 

Not only does this victory clinch the team’s first playoff berth in just its second playing year of existence as an NHL franchise, but it shows the type of turnaround that the Kraken have had. With many of the same faces still on this team from its inaugural group in 2021-22, Seattle acquired key additions in names like Andre Burakovsky, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Justin Schultz to help them get known veteran contributors that could help their near bottom of the league scoring and defense. They haven’t been the complete answer to the problems the Kraken faced last season, but their impact helped in putting the right pieces together for Seattle that have them ready to potentially surprise teams once the postseason begins. 

“We’re new, right?” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “Everybody in this room a year and 10 months ago was new, but we’ve grown a little bit. So that belief has shown itself, and we probably put just a little building block of tradition in place by solidifying a playoff spot tonight.” 

The next game for the Kraken comes on Saturday, April 8th, when the team hosts the Chicago Blackhawks in one of the last games they play in the regular season and the second to last one that they will host. Chicago, just like the last two teams Seattle has played in Arizona and Vancouver, has struggled all season. Taking into account that the Kraken have already secured their playoff berth, Seattle’s strategy may be a bit different when the puck drops on Saturday at 7PM PST takes place.  

Kraken overwhelm Coyotes with tidal wave of goals in critical victory in playoff race 

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – The Seattle Kraken begin the final two weeks of the NHL regular season, with the first of two games in three days against the struggling Arizona Coyotes. Seattle washed Arizona away, tallying eight goals total and four in the third period to really emphasize their victory. Jared McCann potted two goals in his 500th career NHL game, while 15 of the 18 Kraken skaters and even goaltender Philipp Grubauer recorded a point for the largest margin of victory in franchise history. With the win, and the Nashville Predators loss, the Kraken magic number to clinch a playoff berth sits at six points.  

Kraken forward Jared McCann is on his way to becoming a “legend of the deep” for the Seattle franchise, as he was the first player in team history to sign a contract extension and led the team in goals during the inaugural season. Again, he leads the team in goals (and is on pace for 40, at 37), while sitting just a tick behind the team lead for points. He got those marks with today’s performance, on a special day, as he scored two goals in his 500th career NHL game. McCann’s goals came short-handed (he now has the most short-handed goals in franchise history), and then off a nifty toe-drag to sling the puck against the pipes. Seattle’s top sharpshooter continues to knock ‘em down for the Kraken, and they will need McCann’s play to continue as they approach and hopefully enter the postseason.  

“Yeah, I’m not a guy that’s really focused on numbers. I want to win the Stanley cup. That’s the main thing, right? Your time in the NHL goes by so quickly. Ask anybody on our team that’s been in league, Jordan, Jaden, those guys, even some of the guys that have won a cup. You work so hard for it, you have to work so hard for it. And if you get in the playoffs, it’s special and you need to take advantage of it,” Seattle Kraken forward Jared McCann reflected when asked about approaching 40 goals on the season. 

It’s been stated all season, and tonight’s blowout victory highlighted it to a tee, the biggest strength of the Kraken is the scoring depth that they have up and down the lineup. Up and down their four forward lines, and even the same through the three defenseman pairings. It’s been displayed throughout the course of the year, as all the players who have played more than 15 games have tallied at least 15 points and Seattle is the only team with 13 ten+ goal scorers (if Jamie Oleksiak scores again, they will have 14). This victory displayed that to a tee so well, that the Kraken saw their first ever goalie point as starter Philipp Grubauer got the secondary assist on Jared McCann’s second goal. The depth of this Seattle team is serious, and they will need it to click once again as the playoffs approach.  

“Yeah, we’re moving the puck well. We’re getting pucks on net. We’re playing with confidence on the power play, and we’re taking the chances we need. And the looks are there, we’re capitalizing on it, so it’s good momentum for us, especially near the end of the year.,” Seattle Kraken forward Daniel Sprong on what went right tonight.  

Seattle has a quick turnaround following this massive victory over the Coyotes at home, as they’ll travel up North to Vancouver for their final game of the season against the Canucks. While things seem good for the Kraken after scoring eight goals tonight and having beaten Vancouver the last time that the two division rivals met, Seattle cannot afford to try and cruise through this game. The Canucks have been a massive thorn in the Kraken side for Seattle’s existence as an NHL franchise, and Vancouver has a winning record in their past ten contests. The Kraken must again put together a 60-minute effort and handle business against the Canucks, so that they can continue their march to the playoffs. That game is on Tuesday, April 4th with a puck drop at 7PM PST.  

Kraken fail to find offense until too late in tight loss to Kings 

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – For the final time this season, a Pacific Division battle between the Seattle Kraken and Los Angeles Kings took place, and this contest vastly differed from the one played in Los Angeles back in November. It was no high scoring matchup, unlike the November 29th game that saw both teams combine for 17 goals, and defensive play was the theme as the Kings prevailed three-to-one over the Kraken. With the loss and a Nashville Predators win, Seattle’s magic number remains at nine points.  

Los Angeles is a team that has become very comfortable in close games, playing many of them over the course of the year despite their hot form since All-Star break. Seattle, on the other hand, is still learning to dig deep and secure points in those instances, as was the case tonight when the Kraken failed to break the ice until late. By then, the Kings had put two on the board, and Seattle needed to bring an extra skater on late, allowing Los Angeles to find an empty net goal to finish things off. The first Kings goal highlighted a Kraken mistake, as all five skaters were caught on one side of the ice, leaving Los Angeles’ Sean Durzi all alone back door to tap the puck past Seattle’s Martin Jones. A second goal came off a pickpocket of Brandon Tanev, and with their plays at the right time, Los Angeles built their lead. 

“They kinda sit back and play good defensively, it makes it hard to get chances. You really gotta work hard for your shots, net presence, and so on. It was kind of a playoff-like game,” Kraken forward Oliver Bjorkstrand reflected.   

Seattle was able to get on the board late, as Oliver Bjorkstrand was able to punch home a rebound chance that had sizzled off the stick of Daniel Sprong. Sprong’s initial one-timer was stopped at first by Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley, but it leaked behind him and into the crease, where Los Angeles failed to clear it. Bjorkstrand was in the right place at the right time, pushing the puck into an empty net for a power play goal, giving the Kraken a lifeline late. Seattle failed to generate much danger before they ultimately had to pull their goalie and put a sixth skater on the ice with a minute left. The Kraken weren’t able to get the puck past Copley, and the Kings found an empty netter to finish things off.  

“Both teams checked really well, it’s getting to that time of the year where teams are getting ready for playoffs. There’s just not a lot of room out there, neither team was able to really break free and make a lot of plays offensively. I thought that we had a good push in the third, but their goalie played pretty well,” Seattle goaltender Martin Jones reflected 

The Kraken return to action on Monday, April 3rd when they host the Arizona Coyotes in the first of three contests that the teams will play this month. In the first game of a back-to-back, the Kraken will host the Coyotes with a puck drop of 7PM PST before immediately leaving for Vancouver following the conclusion of the game against Arizona. While the Coyotes have struggled as of late, dropping their last three, they remain a scrappy team that’s will surely put up a fight against Seattle in all their matchups.  

Kraken handle business, inch closer to playoff berth with 4-1 victory over Ducks 

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – Returning home to Climate Pledge Arena following a four-game road trip where they secured five points, the Seattle Kraken pulled away in the third period to defeat the Anaheim Ducks. A team with nothing to play for, despite going down by two goals in the first period, Anaheim kept their head in the fight and put even more pressure on Seattle when they scored in the second period to bring the score within one. The Kraken dug deep, as fourth-liner Daniel Sprong pounded home a power play goal to extend Seattle’s lead and effectively put the game to rest. The Kraken, with their win and a Nashville loss, pushed their magic number to make the postseason down to nine.  

With the regular season ticking down and every point ever important, urgency is critical for the Kraken. Seeking their first postseason berth in just their second year of existence as an NHL franchise, Seattle has a tricky road to the Stanley Cup playoffs as they face some teams with a bit of a Wild Card aspect to them. Playing known winners in Los Angeles and Las Vegas in the end of the season schedule, teams such as Arizona, Vancouver, and Chicago all make appearances. While these look-like easy points on paper, Seattle has had its struggles against mediocre opponents throughout the season, and you can never count an opponent out.  

“It’s the National Hockey League. You build wins through 60 minutes. Everybody’s playing for something. Everybody is motivated by something and it’s no different for [Anaheim] them… This group inside of this room has continued to find a way to push for some things that we’ve wanted to push for. We continue to be in that position. There’s still work to do. [But] tonight’s a great two points,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol on tonight’s win.  

With that urgency coming into play, the Kraken have needed to find their offensive touch once again and they need to do so in whatever method possible. Seattle has slowly and gradually improved at getting net front to score those greasy goals, but they must continue to improve in that area and at finding those sneaky goals in general as we approach game 82 on the NHL’s regular season. The Kraken were able to do that tonight and get production from three different lines in this win against Anaheim.  

“We want to take advantage of every game, we want to get better, we want to keep improving. The two points are big. Obviously, if you look at the standings, teams are trying to move up, and you don’t want to leave it to the last two games of the year to have to win, to get in. You want to build as much of a lead as you can. So, these are big, and we want to play a little bit better at home, too. Our record hasn’t been quite where we want it to be,” Kraken forward and alternate captain Jaden Schwartz on the importance of finishing the season strong.  

Kraken goaltender Martin Jones got his first start since March 13th in tonight’s divisional contest, and Seattle desperately needed him to find a better form than his last seven starts, as he had allowed at least three goals in all of them. With Philipp Grubauer dealing with an illness that he had been trying to return from since March 18th, the Kraken opted in favor of emergency-usage goaltender Joey Daccord for two starts before Grubauer returned, which may tell you something. Jones was solid in his first start back in action, stopping 18 of the 19 shots that he faced and having to bail his skaters out a few times.  

Seattle will continue a three game homestand in just two days when they host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, April 1st with a puck drop of 7PM PST. The Kraken will have their hands full as they host a Kings team that’s won six of their last ten and have been on a general tear since the All-Star break. The Pacific Division continues to be a troublesome territory for the kraken to navigate, but with Seattle taking care of business tonight and Nashville (the team they need to lose to help their magic number go down) facing a brutal schedule, the postseason is within reach.  

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