Seattle, WA – The Seattle Kraken got dominated by the New York Islanders in their February 22nd matchup. The Islanders commanded the shots department for the majority of the game, and the Kraken offense could not form a cohesive attack until it was too late. Seattle’s losing streak would extend to five games, with their characteristic self-inflicted mistakes to blame.
The Seattle defense has struggled mightily just about all season, and that is no secret. Could that be a from a lack of practice opportunities? Is it a coaching issue? Are the players to blame? In regards to what the Kraken are doing wrong defensively, it isn’t any singular issue. Seattle has had issues turning over the puck, an inability to clear the puck up the ice, and leaving skaters open. The overall play in the defensive zone has been putrid, and alternate captain Yanni Gourde would speak on the team’s defensive zone struggles in the post-game press conference.
“We weren’t really good in our D-zone. We didn’t kill plays quick enough, so that kind of extended their O-zone time. We weren’t able to respond from their offense… We weren’t really getting out of our zone. In the second and third, we played way more in the O-zone… In our D-zone, there’s definitely a lot that we need to clean up, “Gourde would state.
In a positive note, the Kraken turned on somewhat of an offensive attack from the latter half of the second period through the end of the game. Seattle looked like a completely different team after Yanni Gourde’s goal 11:18 into the second period, but the team couldn’t convert that momentum into a few more goals to tie it up. In the first period, the Islanders had three times as many shots and goals as the Kraken. The late energy proved to be too little, too late. Head coach Dave Hakstol discussed the offensive performance by his team.
“Obviously, we dug ourselves a pretty deep hole in the first half of the hockey game. We had a little bit of energy in the first period, but we did not generate anything out of it… We couldn’t generate any momentum off of that… To finally get one, it gave us a jolt of energy. It really was like the flip of the switch for the next 30 minutes. There’s not magic formula for the energy. We came in on the back end of a back-to-back, and we did not have a lot of energy early. We needed to somehow give ourselves that injection of life, and we couldn’t find that,” Hakstol remarked.
We could go on about the Seattle defensive issues, but that has been the primary story of this team since opening night. Seattle’s offense does this team no favors either, as there really have not been a consistent and cohesive attack from the Kraken all year. Sure, there have been flashes of it at times, but nothing that actually sticks around. It could be pinned on the lack of practice time, as the month of February would have been perfect to get some quality practice in had NHL players been allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics, but they were not. Seattle had one solid week of practice earlier in the season due to cancelled games, but nothing the Kraken had worked on in practice really stuck in the games that followed.
Seattle’s next contest comes on February 24th, against the Boston Bruins, with a 7PM PST puck drop.