Kraken give lowly Canucks first win of season in frustrating 5-4 loss

Seattle, WA – In their supposed “rivalry,” the Seattle Kraken remain winless against the Vancouver Canucks. Despite being the better team and dominating the pace for the majority of the contest, Seattle still could not find a way to secure a victory against their rivals to the North. The Kraken specialty teams struggled, and the defensive lapses continue to hang over their head like a pesky cold that just won’t go away. Now nine games into the season, there are obvious positives for this Kraken team, as well as the same negatives that remain unchanged from last year.

While the competitive aspect of this Pacific division “rivalry” has yet to come to fruition, the physical aspect was on full display to begin the contest. A little over two minutes into the opening period, Canucks forward Tanner Pearson took exception to a hit by Kraken defensemen Adam Larsson, and the two dropped the gloves for an epic bout. Exactly a minute later, Seattle’s Carson Soucy and Vancouver’s JT Miller threw down as tensions seemed high. Unfortunately, the fights left Seattle without two defensemen for four minutes total, and resulted in a Canucks goal.

Seattle did find some offense to end the first period on a high note, scoring twice in the final minute. The second period saw Vancouver answer and take the lead again as the puck got stuck between Karson Kuhlman’s skates, eventually popping out to a wide-open Ilya Mikheyev who scored on a one-timer. Fast forward ten minutes later, and Vancouver’s JT Miller was left wide open, his shoot being redirected in by Andrei Kuzmenko for the third Canucks goal of the

night. An inability to clear the puck effectively and leaving men wide open in the faceoff circle, issues the Kraken defensemen continue to have. When asked whether this was a case of his team’s defensive lapses or Vancouver’s hunger to win, here is what Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol had to say.

“We were the better team most of the night, but they beat us on specialty teams by one, and that was ultimately the difference in the hockey game… You’re not going to be able to carry momentum all night, but we carried the momentum for most of the night,” Hakstol stated.

For the majority of the season, the Kraken power play has been much improved, similar to the entirety of the offensive scoring as compared to last season. The penalty kill has struggled all season long, a major early season issue for the team. Tonight, both sides of special teams struggled for Seattle, as the Kraken went 1-4 on the power play, and went 0-2 on the penalty kill. With tonight’s results, the Kraken penalty kill unit dropped to the 31st ranked in the league, and Vancouver ranks as the 32nd. The specialty teams are an earlier indicator of issues that hold Seattle back from being a legitimately good team. Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol spoke about his special team’s units postgame.

“We weren’t able to get the timely power play goal. Our penalty kill was a matter of finishing, we did everything right except for getting the clears. On those clears, a clear or a save makes all of the difference,” Hakstol remarked.

To close out their homestand, the Kraken will welcome the 4-2-1 Pittsburgh Penguins to Climate Pledge Arena. Seattle will be looking back to bounce back from another one of their characteristic frustrating losses, attempting to do so against a tough Penguins team.

The last time the two teams met in Seattle, Pittsburgh romped to a 6-1 victory. Puck drop for the Saturday, October 29th matchup will be at 7PM PST.