While I will say that tonight’s game was… Gut-wrenching to say the least, as are most losses, the Kraken still held their own after falling 2-4 to the Dallas Stars after Game 2 of Round 2. While fans may be disappointed, it’s important to note that the Seattle Kraken have been on FIRE since their closing game in Denver, Colorado. More so, it’s important to note that since the elimination game against the Avs, the Kraken didn’t have time to catch a break, immediately flying to Dallas to play in the American Airlines Center, and WINNING game one. Going into game two, I wasn’t expecting a win– not by a long shot. Was I hopeful for one? Sure. Was my heart still broken upon seeing the 2-4 score after dissociating for the final five or so minutes of the game? Oh, you better believe it. As a team that’s practically running on fumes at this point, what do you expect? There wasn’t a lot of hope that they could keep the win streak up, and after playing for so long without a break, they were bound to make mistakes. That’s the unfortunate truth of fatigue; and boy did it show this game. I’m not at all worried though, as they boys will be back in Seattle with home ice this Sunday, along with two and a half days to rest, recuperate, and regroup.
The first period started off like any other game, with the Kraken coming out of the locker room with great defense. Although they were getting outshot, the Kraken were able to get on the rebounds and clear the puck out of the zone consistently like they have been all playoffs. As the period wore on, however, it became increasingly clear that the Seattle hockey team was tired, and the Dallas Stars saw that weakness like how a wild animal smells fear. The first was a scoreless back and forth spectacle, with Philipp Grubauer making some highlight reel saves, and the Seattle Kraken making some good opportunities for themselves, however, unable to get anything out of them.
Remember that whole, “saw that weakness like a wild animal smells fear” thing I said earlier? Yeah, well, the Stars decided that the second period was the time to strike. Dominating the faceoffs all game, winning over DOUBLE them (Dave Hakstol will be making the boys do faceoff drills until their dizzy), the Dallas Stars scored 3 minutes and 40-something seconds into the second period, but not before Mason Marchment decided to roleplay as a soccer player, and fall to the ice after Carson Soucy’s stick bumped his. The refs, thinking Soucy slashed him, were ready to give him a penalty. Soucy explained what happened, and Marchment was given a penalty for embellishment. After an exchange of words near one of the linesmen, Marchment caused Soucy to retaliate against him, earning him an actual slashing penalty that put the Dallas Stars on the power play. While not directly on the power play, shortly after it expired, however, this unfortunately led to the goal that began the Kraken’s quick descent into an L. After a shot from the blue line by Colin Miller, Wyatt Johnston was in front of Grubauer to pick up the rebound and score. The next goal is something that I wish I never would have witnessed with my own eyes– let alone on live, national television. A little over 7 minutes later, after a morale rush off of the previous goal, Evgenii Dadonav rushes the net on Grubauer’s right side, skates around, and slings the puck in on the opposite side for a wrap-around goal. At first, I was in shock, thinking to myself, “there’s no way that went in, absolutely not.” At the time, it looked like it didn’t get past Grubauer’s left pad. Immediately after, Jamie Benn bought insurance for that goal by burying it as it slid to the front of the crease. The cause for the goal? Grubauer. Got caught. On the goalpost. HE GOT CAUGHT ON THE GOALPOST. When Dadonav rushed the net, Philipp Grubauer overcommitted, and ended up straddling the right side goal post in an unnecessary desperation attempt to poke check the attacker. Dadonav took advantage of the sticky situation the Seattle goaltender found himself in, and capitalized with the goal. Watching every second of that goal hurt
It was clear at this point that the Kraken were low on gas, and their defense was unraveling. Grubauer wasn’t getting the support he had been getting in pervious games, and this wore him down like a piece of chalk to a sanding belt. Thankfully, the AHL rookie of the year, Tye Kartye, was able to keep the Kraken from being shutout, as he took a pass from Vince Dunn up center ice, and sniped Jake Otteinger blocker side.
The goal was gorgeous, one of many gorgeous goals scored by the Kraken this playoff run. That wouldn’t be enough motivation for the Kraken to rally before the second, however, as in the closing minutes in the period, after a shot ripped by Wyatt Johnson was saved by Grubauer, Joe Pavelski was there to clean up the rebound, making the score 3-1 going into the third.
Admittedly, my attention began to dwindle at the beginning of the third. The Kraken were low energy, they were making silly mistakes and taking very avoidable penalties, and even the Dallas Stars and their fanbase were beginning to get under my skin, as they began to chant Grubauer’s name tauntingly as he let another goal in. Tonight was not a great night for Kraken hockey and their fans. The scoring for the Kraken wasn’t finished, however, as Jordan Eberle, the hero in Game 4 overtime vs the Avalanche, as well as one of the goal scorers in the first period of Game 1, Round 2, would bury one top shelf, blocker side of Jake Otteinger to narrow the score to 2-4.
The Kraken are coming off of back-to-back road games in this Game 2. To expect the Kraken to continue to win after they’ve been playing on the road for the last three games is just an unfair expectation. There’s a common saying in sports: You can’t win ‘em all. While this statement rings true and resonates with many sports fans, it’s unfair to hold any heavy criticisms of the Seattle hockey club. When you’re tired, you make mistakes. One of the leading causes of road accidents is due to fatigue. So it’s no wonder that a leading cause of poor performance is also due to fatigue. The Kraken were being outplayed, outhit, outshot, and even out-disciplined, as they were given a total of 10 penalty minutes this game, valuable time wasted on the penalty kill. While the Kraken’s PK percentage is one of the best in the league, their 5-on-5 hockey is even better, and a key for the Kraken to continue playing well is to not take silly penalties that could easily be avoided. Their pressure in the offensive zone was also lackadaisical, as Tye Kartye and Dave Hakstol both said. “We didn’t spend enough time in the offensive zone tonight to be honest with you, in terms of generating opportunities,” Dave Hakston said in an interview postgame. Hopefully, with Friday and Saturday off, the Boys in Blue, the Teammates in Teal, the Puget Sound Papis, will be able to regroup, and come back as strong as can be, come this Sunday come Game 3 at Climate Pledge Arena on home ice.\
Kraken in 7