Seattle, WA – Things appeared to be backwards in Friday’s divisional game matchup between the visiting Calgary Flames and the hosting Seattle Kraken. Instead of Seattle coming out and taking advantage of a Calgary team playing in the second game of a back-to-back, the Flames took the fight to the Kraken. After Seattle’s John Hayden scored the first goal of the game, Calgary went on to score three unanswered while stymying the Kraken offensive attack in the process. With the loss and Los Angeles Kings win, Seattle falls to second place in the Pacific Division.
Kraken forward John Hayden had two near miss chances against the Colorado Avalanche last Saturday and seemed like he had brought good energy to Seattle. After a few games as a healthy scratch, Hayden came back into the lineup and instantly impacted the game for the Kraken, tipping in a Will Borgen shot to beat Calgary goaltender Dan Vladar. A heads up play by someone that is very well just filling in while forwards Jaden Schwartz and Matty Beniers are injured, Hayden made the most out of his second start this year for Seattle and did so early on. Rather than talk about his personal achievement, Hayden discussed the team’s struggles, postgame with the media.
“I just think that it was an incomplete effort. Lost too much of the game, missing out on the fundamentals. This team’s had a ton of success in January, and this just seems like an anomaly,” said Hayden.
Seattle’s top defenseman pairing of Vince Dunn and Adam Larsson has been excellent nearly all year long, so it makes sense for them to
have a few “off nights” mixed into the 82-game season. Tonight’s matchup happened to be one of those off nights, as the top pairing had an uncharacteristically bad night. The first mistake occurred on the first Flames goal of the night, as Adam Larsson pinched high as Calgary entered the zone, allowing Elias Lindholm to walk by him and beat Martin Jones. The second incident occurred on Calgary’s fourth goal, the nail in Seattle’s coffin, as both Dunn and Larsson pinched on the Flames skater that entered the zone, leaving Noah Hanifin wide open to slam a shot past Jones. Instead of singling anyone out, Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol stated that the whole team needed to be better.
“We weren’t very good tonight, that’s all. Our group wasn’t good. Especially the middle portion of the game, we had no energy. Top to bottom, it’s all of us… We didn’t make it real hard on them. I’m not taking anything away from them, believe me. We didn’t have any pace to our game, our puck play was sloppy. Anything that we put into the zone on the forecheck we had very little speed onto. Like I said, we weren’t very good tonight, bottom line,” Hakstol stated.
Seattle won’t have any time to get their breath after this one, as they play the second game of a back-to-back tomorrow, Saturday January 28th, against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Puck drop is at 7PM PST as Seattle will face off against one of the teams in the “Connor Bedard race,” aka the hunt to get the number one overall selection in the upcoming NHL draft. It will be Matty Beniers bobblehead night at Climate Pledge Arena, but unfortunately Beniers will be unable to play due to a head injury.