The Seattle Kraken are preparing for their home opener after starting their inaugural season with five road games. The team went 1-3-1 over the season’s first week, and currently sit at seventh in the Pacific Division in terms of point percentage. The Kraken head home on a two-game losing streak and having allowed eight more goals (19) than they have scored (11). Seattle was expected to struggle offensively, but allowing nearly four goals per game wasn’t something that was anticipated for the expansion franchise. Improved play in their own zone as well as more well-established offensive zone time will be among the adjustments needed as the team heads back to the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle’s season got off to a good start, as they dropped a close game in Vegas before collecting their first ever win in Nashville. The Golden Knights took the lead on a controversial goal late in the game to overcome a Kraken comeback. The Kraken outshot and outhit their opponents, but were unable to hold off the high-powered Golden Knights attack. Seattle’s offense had more success against the Predators despite only putting 26 shots on goal. They went 2-for-2 on the powerplay with goals from Jared McCann and Brandon Tanev in the first period. McCann, Tanev, and Alex Wennberg all finished with multiple points, and Philipp Grubauer stopped 27 of 30 Preds shots to secure the victory.
The Kraken played a very low-event game in their trip to Columbus, as the Blue Jackets outshot them despite only recording 25 shots on goal. Seattle only took 20 shots on net, and were held to just one goal against Elvis Merzlikins. Tanev recorded his team-leading third goal of the season to take the lead early, but all the scoring for the remainder of the game came from the Blue Jackets. The 1-1 tie went to overtime, where the top players for Columbus took over. Patrik Laine was able to seal the deal for the Blue Jackets, dropping the Kraken to 1-1-1.
The Kraken had a game to forget against the Philadelphia Flyers. Seattle found themselves down 3-0 after the first period and 5-1 after 40 minutes. Philipp Grubauer didn’t even last half the game, as he was pulled after stopping just 15 of 20 Flyers shots on goal. Chris Driedger finished out the game, stopping 5 of 6 shots, but was placed on Injured Reserve following the loss. Seattle’s offense generated just 24 shots on goal and went 0-for-4 on the powerplay. All six Flyers goals came at even strength, as the Kraken were able to kill off both penalties they took in the brutal loss. The Kraken had a quick back-to-back in New Jersey the following night, where they were hoping to get back in the win column.
The Kraken played a much better game against the Devils but still were unable to come out on top. New Jersey jumped out to a 2-0 lead, then the teams traded goals the rest of the way. Each team had a goal disallowed, but finished the contest with a 4-2 Devils final. This game saw Joey Daccord make his first start for the Kraken, as well as Yanni Gourde’s debut and Vince Dunn’s return from a brief injury absence. Gourde and Dunn each recorded an assist, and Daccord held up well against the young forwards from New Jersey, stopping 29 of 32 shots including 6-for-6 while shorthanded. The 25-year-old stepped in when Driedger hit injured reserve, and gives Seattle another viable option behind Grubauer in net.
Seattle’s record doesn’t look great, but there are a few positives to take from the first week of action. The Kraken have established their physical playing style, and are doing a pretty good job of wearing out their opponents. The team needs to focus on establishing offensive zone time and firing more pucks on net. They have put up meager shot totals in most of their games, and could get lucky with a few more chances offensively. The Kraken should now be focused on Saturday’s home opener against the Canucks, where the newest rivalry could very well be afoot.