Kraken beat Panthers in game of the year candidate

Photo by Megan Connelly / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – The Seattle Kraken and Florida Panthers played a truly electrifying game on January 23rd, with the Kraken pulling out the win in arguably their best game all season. After an unlucky bounce off a Seattle defender gave the Panthers the early lead, the Kraken were able to lock in and apply serious pressure to Florida. In the waning moments, the Panthers would look to tie things up with six skaters, but the Kraken were able to shut the door with a Calle Jarnkrok open net goal.

To put it simply, this may have been Seattle’s most complete game on the season. The offense applied tons of pressure on Florida and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, the defense was able to disrupt most of Florida’s attack, and the puck possession in the final frame positioned Seattle perfectly to close the game out. The Kraken were able to make the right passes and complete their possessions, resulting in five goals. Seattle displayed tons of energy early on in the first period and a half, but seemingly couldn’t get anything to go in. It would all pay off with their three goal second period. Head coach Dave Hakstol would speak on the win and what he saw from the offensive attack.

Photo by Megan Connelly / fi360 News

“One of the areas that we scored on tonight, the winning goal, was attacking with possession. Getting in the zone and being able to make a play off of the rush. Our poise there and our presence to read that situation and to know that there was an opportunity and enter the zone with possession to make a play was the difference maker tonight,” Hakstol remarked.

The defensive unit came to play as well in this game. When you play a team like Florida, sitting atop the league tied for most points, they will find a way to score eventually. With that being said, two of the Panthers three goals came off of dumb luck as the first would glance off of Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy and into the net. The second would be a slapshot that would clip Seattle centerman Yanni Gourde’s stick, and float over the head of goaltender Philipp Grubauer into the net. The defense was able to register 25 blocks and force six giveaways during a stellar performance. Yanni Gourde would speak about the effort the team displayed in the win, and how it helped to limit the Panthers offensive unit.

“They are a very very skilled team. They are gonna get their chances, and probably score goals. We knew that going in, just had to stick to the game plan, stick to what we were doing. Chipping pucks and winning races, all sorts of things. It just kept us in the game… Everybody was committed to playing that way. When a team is fully committed to playing that way, we’re tough to beat… Grubi was excellent, lights out. Huge blocks from a lot of guys… that’s what we need to bring every single night,” Gourde would say after the win.

An area to work on coming off of this win would be the continued penalties. In the second period of the matchup, coming off of their two goals within 17 seconds of each other, Seattle put Florida on the power play. It would come back to bite them as Jonathan Huberdeau would score for the Panthers, and just a few minutes later Aleksander Barkov would tie the game up. The penalties have allowed teams to get back into games against the Kraken, and it is an aspect that should be cleaned up.

Overall, this is a great win for Seattle. To have won both games that they have played against the best team in the league (points wise), is no easy feat, especially for an expansion team still trying to find an identity. That identity is slowly taking shape, as a team that needs to play good defensive to open their game up. Yanni Gourde said the same thing post game, and it has been evident in Seattle’s biggest wins all season. Alternate captain Jordan Eberle mentioned that the team needs to focus on finding an identity and improve gradually after the embarrassing loss to the Blues. This sort of game is a great launching point for that to happen going forward.

Seattle will close out their six game homestand with a matchup against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, January 25th starting at 7PM PST.