Seattle, WA – The Seattle Kraken got off to a sizzling hot start to beat the best team in the Western Conference, the Colorado Avalanche. Seattle scored three first period goals and were able to hold their lead until the final buzzer to secure their first three game win streak in franchise history. Although Seattle net all of their goals in the first period, they were able to hold strong defensively against a Colorado team that have tallied the third most goals scored this season. All three of the Kraken rookies tallied a point in the victory.
Seattle’s first period was a near perfect example of what they needed to do to beat Colorado. Kraken forward Kole Line scored just over a minute into the game, followed by Jordan Eberle’s goal four minutes later. A third goal scored by Yanni Gourde, as Jared McCann’s pass hit Gourde’s skate and found the net, gave Seattle a three-goal lead with five minutes to play in the opening frame. Getting out of the gate in good fashion has been an issue for the Kraken earlier in the season, but they have improved on this over the course of their inaugural campaign. Alternate captain Jordan Eberle reflected on the teams start in the post-game press conference.
“Any team that you go up against three nothing, it’s a bonus. At the same time, against these guys you know that they have the firepower to easily come back from that. I thought that we did a good job for the most part eliminating their chances and trying to help grubi out as much as we could. When things broke down, he was there to make saves,” Eberle stated.
Blowing leads was another issue that the Kraken had in the first half of their season, and the odds for that to happen again were higher in tonight’s game as the Avalanche lead the NHL in third period goals. While Colorado was able to score with three minutes left to play, cutting the Seattle lead to one, the Kraken held strong late and slammed the door on the Avalanche. Seattle was able to play solid defensively nearly all game, including two successful penalty kills against one of the best power plays in the NHL. This Avalanche team will score goals, minimizing their scoring is a major key to defeating them. Holding Colorado to two is a victory in its own right, and Seattle was able to hold on long enough to earn their 26th victory on the season. Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer reflected on the final defensive stop.
“Colorado has the skill, in shooting lanes, the skills to make the play that’s not there, or the play that doesn’t seem obvious. So, we did a really good job. Everybody being in their lanes, getting sticks up, it’s important to get the stick in the right lane. Winning the faceoff with nine seconds left was huge too because if they win it, they can go up to the blue line and have Cale (Makar) back there sifting it in. Guys, Nichushkin, right in front of me. We did a great job,” Grubauer remarked in regards to his skaters in the final minute.
Several players, including Eberle, have stated that this team needs to improve steadily following the NHL trade deadline in order to have positive momentum heading into next season. The Kraken have done just that, seeing growth in the way that they respond, the way that they start games, and even getting contributions from the new faces. While Seattle only has one more win than loss since March 21st (NHL Trade deadline), the club looks substantially better than their early season form.
Seattle’s next matchup comes on the road, against the Minnesota Wild. Minnesota currently sits at second in the Central division, battling for playoff seeding with the third place St. Louis Blues. The Wild are led by young sensation Kirill Kaprizov, and tout a goaltender tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Cam Talbot. Puck drop for this contest is at 5PM PST inside Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota.