Seattle, WA – In a key divisional matchup for the Seattle Kraken as they are aiming to secure their first playoff berth in franchise history, in just their second season, Seattle battled hard and kept the game within reach until the third period when everything fell apart. The Kraken would fall to the visiting Edmonton Oilers by a score of 6-4, as the Oilers were able to pull away on Seattle mistakes. As every game and point matters in these critical last two months of the season, the Kraken showed flashes of good play that could have pushed them over the edge but ultimately poor showings from both goaltenders on Seattle’s active roster and defensive miscues doomed this game for the home team.
Unlike the last two times that these teams have met where the Kraken simply can’t keep up with the Oilers firepower, let alone stop it defensively, Seattle was able to generate consistent pressure through the game and force Edmonton goaltender Stuart Skinner into some difficult situations. A key characteristic that the Kraken had in this battle was that they continued to push back whenever the Oilers played their fast paced, high-octane game. Seattle showed that they in-fact could keep up with Edmonton, with a decent power play and offensive pressure of their own throughout the course of the 60 minutes. Ultimately, it wasn’t necessarily the Kraken offensive zone production that spelled doom for then.
“I thought that we played well, but against a team like that that’s going to score goals, we have to be better about the little details and you gotta bear down and find a way to make it closer through goal scoring,” Kraken forward Oliver Bjorkstrand stated.
Seattle’s issue in this game, like what’s taken place in most of the games that the Kraken have played against Edmonton in their time as a franchise, was their defensive play. Had the Kraken come fully prepared to play in this contest, Seattle would have secured two critical points in their own building against a divisional opponent that’s been flying high. Instead, Seattle was out of position a few times, Philipp Grubauer allowed a soft goal to begin the game before having to leave due to a “non-covid illness,” and Martin Jones continues to look poor in net.
“Our team played a good hockey game today, that was an even hockey game. We worked extremely hard, especially on the offensive side of the puck, we worked hard and grinded for our offensive opportunities and generated really good ones for the majority of the 60 minutes. It’s a disappointing outcome, our team played hard, and our team played well, we had to play a little too much from behind, but we did that for 60 minutes,” Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol reflected.
Seattle will get a few days off, hopefully enough to get Philipp Grubauer and John Hayden healthy, before they continue this critically important month of March. The Kraken will not see a potential “road to the playoffs” get any easier for them, as their next matchup is against the same Dallas Stars team that Seattle only took one point from over the course of back-to-back contests. When the Kraken and Stars do battle this time, it’ll be in Dallas on Tuesday, March 21st with a puck drop at 5:30PM PST. At their current state, Seattle sits only two points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets for the Western Conference’s first Wild Card spot.