Seattle, WA – In their final home game of the month of February, the Seattle Kraken were dominated in disheartening fashion by the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite scoring first on a Vince Dunn wrist shot from the slot, the Kraken continue to have their defensive miscues taken advantage of as Toronto skaters were left unmarked. Seattle couldn’t buy a goal today after Dunn’s, with several shots and opportunities just off the mark as if there was a force field protecting the Maple Leafs net. It’s another tough loss for Seattle, the blowout variety after the thrilling fall to Boston, as the Kraken continue to tumble down the standings.
The defensive issues for the Kraken have been around since the team’s inaugural season, and they do not seem to be improving as we head into the final few months of the 2022-23 regular season. The Kraken were able to survive these issues when their offense was pumping out high scoring games, but that isn’t the case anymore. Seattle continues to leave skaters open when they’re in their own zone, and they must be better with the puck. Their passing and puck management has been poor, creating more issues for themselves on top of the poor puck management.
Those issues were displayed today by the Kraken in four of the Maple Leafs goals. Toronto was able to get open back door on two of their goals (John Tavares and Auston Matthews), left Timothy Liljegren open backside in the faceoff circle unmarked, and failed to clear the puck as Auston Matthews played hack and whack. These issues have been present throughout the course of the season and must be corrected for this team to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“I think that we’re working hard but we could work a little smarter, compete a little harder. It’s the little things that are killing us right now, battles, puck management, blocking shots, not giving up second chances. It’s unfortunate giving up these goals because our goalies are actually playing pretty well for us, unacceptable for Grubi there, there’s not much he can do on many of those goals. We’ll have to look at it, take a step back here and breathe a little bit. A lot of us are maybe being a little too hard on ourselves, clenching our stick a little bit. When the plays are there, we have to make them,” Vince Dunn said when asked about the defensive issues.
Seattle’s offensive attack has been able to put up some big numbers virtually all season long, but in the months of January and February, they’ve seen a drop in production. Obviously considering that playoff races are heating up and the sort of production that the Kraken saw in the month of November was not sustainable, the drop off makes some sense. The Kraken have excellent shot finishers and have gotten some fortunate bounces, and that may have created some bad habits in the offensive zone. While this is true, it’s also true that Seattle got unlucky on a few of their attempts today that just barely missed the mark.
“I felt that we created chances, there were opportunities to score no question. We sustained O-Zone pressure but we couldn’t really find anything inside. The story of the night was that we started off well, obviously got off to a lead, and then we watched them play for 15 minutes. Obviously with the firepower that they have they’re gonna score eventually,” Jordan Eberle on Seattle’s offensive attack in the loss.
The Kraken will now head out on the road for a four-game slate, which begins on Tuesday, February 28th against the St. Louis Blues. The Kraken will now play nine of the next 15 games for the against teams not currently in a playoff spot. Out of the remaining 23 games, 14 of them are against non-playoff teams. The Kraken will faceoff with the Blues in St. Louis with a puck drop of 5PM PST, as one of the them will have to pick up a victory as they have both struggled in their past ten games.