Kraken still aiming for first win of the season, takeaways after 4-1 defeat

Colorado Avalanche v Seattle Kraken

Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

It was a home opener that grew shape to be legendary. But a 1-0 lead after an emotional first period mushroomed into four unanswered goals for the Colorado Avalanche, who defeated the Seattle Kraken, 4-1 before a sellout crowd on Tuesday at Climate Pledge Arena. 

The Kraken are winless in their first four games, 0-3-1, while Colorado improved to 3-0 to begin their season. Kailer Yamamoto scored the lone Kraken goal, while Artturi Lehkonen, Logan O’Connor (shorthanded), Mikko Rantanen, and a Valeri Nichushkin empty netter led the Colorado comeback. 

Alexandar Georgiev earned the first star of the game with 37 saves and the win. Philipp Grubauer stopped 24 shots in the loss. 

Next up: the Kraken will need to reset for another toughie, the Carolina Hurricanes (7pm) at home, who defeated San Jose 6-3 on Tuesday night.

Three takeaways from the game: 

1.     Missed opportunities. An extension of the road trip returned to haunt the Kraken on Tuesday night’s emotional home opener, in a playoff rematch, and left the Kraken with several high-grade looks that either resulted in missed-net opportunities or bail out saves by Georgiev to keep momentum in Colorado’s favor. 

Among the most glaring chances that stood out were a two-on-one between Andre Burakovsky and Eeli Tolvanen, two deadly shooters now together on one line. Burakovsky missed wide on the break, and Yanni Gourde was stopped from point blank range in the second period. 

Chances that turn into goals can easily dictate a game but left the Kraken with the fate of deserving more. Dave Hakstol said there’s a formula to open the levee.

“Bunch of guys sticking together, and a bunch of guys working extremely hard, and you’ve got to push for a win,” said Hakstol. “It’s amazing how momentum swings the other way.” 

2.     It felt like a playoff game, it could be a rivalry. Let’s stop right there. It could be. It’s there. But the ingredients are there. There was carry-over from last year’s intense seven game playoff series. That’s the first important ingredient: both teams met in the playoffs. 

The first period had two scores to settle: Logan O’Connor, who took just 1:20 into the game to challenge the top line Kraken forward to a fight after Cogliano suffered a fractured neck in game six in last year’s playoff series. Then there was Cale Makar, booed mercilessly by the home crowd and then verbally confronted by McCann just nine minutes into the game. The two never fought. But the physical first period, which ended with Yamamoto’s goal, was a sign that matters were turning around. 

The remainder of the evening played out like a slow burn: tempers flared, and the Kraken struggled the rest of the way to equalize the Avalanche, who put the game away with a pair of late third period goals, including an empty netter. 

The two teams will meet again within the next month, then they’re done for the regular season. 

3.     Kailer Yamamoto’s goal was an omen. The Kraken need as many looks inside as possible. They spoke on execution after Tuesday night’s game. But they were outraced in scoring chances, from the inside, 9-5 by Colorado. 

The only goal they scored: Kailer Yamamoto, but out of sheer chaos. Both Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Tye Kartye waged battles at the net, opening space for Yamamoto to tuck a seeing-eye shot from the left circle. It’s not an abandonment of the system, but more so of a reinforcement of the areas of the ice that need vacancy filled. 

All three goals they’ve scored in four games have been scored between the face-off dots. 

“That (goal) gave us a ton of life and ton of energy in the building, and we fed off of that,” said Hakstol. 

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