Seattle, WA – The Seattle Kraken took on the Las Vegas Golden Knights for the first time at Climate Pledge Arena this season, losing zero to three. The loss meant that the Kraken were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Seattle failed to play spoiler, as the Golden Knights are holding on for their playoff lives. Las Vegas sits just one point ahead of the Dallas Stars for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Seattle came out of the gates hot, putting four quality scoring chances on Las Vegas’ rookie goaltender Logan Thompson. Thompson stayed grounded, denying Seattle not only in the first period, but all game. Logan Thompson recorded his first shutout of the year, and of his career. The Kraken were stymied offensively, fresh off of a six-goal performance in their win against the Los Angeles Kings on March 28th. Seattle’s leading scorer and point leader, Jared McCann, failed to even record a shot on goal. Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol spoke on his team’s offensive performance in the post-game press conference.
“We didn’t generate very much, especially in the second half of the game. The second period is the difference in this hockey game… we didn’t take care of the puck. Turnovers lead to transition; they spent a lot of time in our offensive zone… we gotta be stronger and better with the puck. That’s where it starts and finishes,” Hakstol reflected.
The goal that opened this game up was scored by Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore, who spent 5 WHL seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Theodore, right after Seattle’s lone power play of the night had ended, leapt out of the penalty box and was left wide open. Las Vegas forward Jonas Rondbjerg would lead him with a pass, and Shea Theodore shot top shelf to beat Kraken goaltender Chris Driedger. Driedger reflected on not only this game, but the last few weeks.
“I’ve been feeling pretty good lately, added a couple things to my pregame routine, took a couple things out. Switched things around a little bit, and felt good the last two… That’s a good team over there, I think we just need to regroup and come back at them on Friday. I’ve been talking to a mental coach/sports psychologist for the last few weeks. Going back to basics, talking about some strategies on how I’m thinking… I feel calm, and like myself,” Driedger stated.
As stated by Driedger, this season has not gone the way that most players and fans had envisioned it would. It has been talked about previously, how Seattle’s defensive issues and expansion draft have overall set this team up for inaugural season failure. With that said, the fact that head coach Dave Hakstol has kept this team competitive all season is something to note. Acquiring the draft capital at the trade deadline, having cap space in the upcoming free agency, and pairing second overall pick Matty Beniers with another top pick this summer gives Seattle the tools to fight for a playoff spot next season. The mindset for the rest of this season should be to enjoy the ride, because this Kraken team seems to always make things interesting.
Seattle’s next contest is Friday, April 1st against the Las Vegas Golden Knights at Climate Pledge Arena. Puck drop for the rematch of tonight’s game is at 7PM PST. Jonathan Marchessault and the Golden
Knights will look to keep their playoff spot in hand as Seattle, with nothing to lose, aims to play spoiler.