Seattle, WA – The Seattle Kraken fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Valentine’s Day, 2022 by a score of 6-2. The main story of the game would be special teams, as four of the game’s goals would come from power plays. Toronto currently has the best power play in the NHL, so Seattle making those mistakes and giving those penalties up is a discipline blunder. The Kraken would pull starting goaltender Philipp Grubauer after the Maple Leafs scored three goals in the opening period.
Special teams play dominated the storyline of this game. Three goals came on power plays and another coming by way of a shorthanded goal. Unfortunately, Seattle was on the wrong side of three of those goals. The power play goal that Seattle did get, scored by Jared McCann, would bring Seattle’s power play conversion rate to three for their last 40. Seattle’s penalty kill sits at 76.03% for the season, and 56% since the January 27th overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Once again, this season, a major issue for the Kraken is special teams play. Head coach Dave Hakstol would speak on the power play in the post-game press conference.
“We couldn’t get a whole lot going on our power play. It was nice that we got one finally, at the end. Hopefully that gives us a little bit of momentum, loosens us up a bit because, we looked tight on the power play… the positive out of the power play is that we got one at the end and hope we can turn that over to something that loosens us up and gets us going in the right direction,” Hakstol remarked.
I asked Hakstol if there was anything in particular that he wanted to see from the power play over these next few games, or if he wanted the team to just play a little looser. Here is what he said
“Up to tonight, we’ve generated real good opportunities. You can go back and look at the power plays and the opportunities that have been generated; the puck just hasn’t gone in the net. Tonight, that wasn’t the case, especially early on. We just gotta get back to it, we’ll touch on it in practice and get back to it. It’s an area at this time of year where teams can dictate games. Tonight, we lost that battle.”
One of the few bright spots for Seattle would be Calle Jarnkrok’s goal, which put the Kraken on the board in the opening period. Toronto was looking to dump the puck back into their red line, but the pass ended up in no man’s land. Mason Appleton would pick it up, finding Calle Jarnkrok for the one timer that would beat Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell. With that goal, Jarnkrok would extend his points streak to three games.
Another of the few positive notes would be Jared McCann’s power play goal, which would put his season total at 20. That number is McCann’s career high for a season, coming with 33 games left to play in the season. McCann leads the team in goals and points, and has been the new offensive leader since teammate Jordan Eberle has gone relatively quiet in the last few months. McCann would speak on the accomplishment post game.
“It’s obviously very special, this is something that I have worked very hard for, especially in the summer time. It’s always been a dream to
be in the NHL, so I’m just trying to take advantage of it,” McCann would state.
Seattle made some bad mistakes against a good team. When that happens, it’s a recipe for a frustrating loss like tonight. Giving up penalties to the league’s best power play, when your penalty kill is hovering around the 50% mark for the last few weeks, is unacceptable. Being able to count the number of successful power plays in your last 40, is unacceptable. These are mistakes and growing pains that will come with an expansion side. It would just be more encouraging to see these mistakes corrected as we head into the final months of this inaugural season.
The Kraken’s next opponent is the Winnipeg Jets, who they will play in Winnipeg on February 17th, with a 5PM PST puck drop.