A night of the bizarre, takeaways in a 4-1 loss to the Rangers

Colorado Avalanche v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 17: Andre Burakovsky #95 of the Seattle Kraken skates against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period at Climate Pledge Arena on October 17, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Artemi Panarin scored twice to bookend four unanswered goals by the New York Rangers, who defeated the Seattle Kraken 4-1 before a sellout crowd on Saturday night at Climate Pledge Arena. 

The Kraken, who dropped two of three losses on their homestand and fell to 1-4-1, waded through the bizarre (a power outage with a bank of arena lights) to the unfortunate (losing Andre Burakovsky to injury), and now must find solutions for a start that’s yielded 11 goals in the first six games, two losses to their group of forwards in Andre Burakovsky and Brandon Tanev, and a challenging four game trip ahead at Detroit, Carolina, Florida, and Tampa Bay. 

Justin Schultz scored the only Kraken goal, a one-timer that beat the Rangers Jonathan Quick from the left circle in the first period, while Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko supplied the additional offense for New York.

Philipp Grubauer took the loss on 23 stops. 


1.     Andre Burakovsky’s absence is a significant loss. There’s just no sugarcoating it. Burakovsky, even though he’s off to a sluggish offensive start, needed a break. But not in the literal sense. On Saturday, he was run into the boards by Jacob Trouba in the second period and seemed to be favoring his shoulder as he exited the ice. 

“(Trouba) finished a check,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “I haven’t looked close at it. You might be able to make an argument it was bit late, or not. I’m not going to go there. I didn’t see anything egregious on it. Do I like it? No, we lost a player out of it. That’s where we’re at.” 

The initial hint on Burakovsky’s prognosis, where Hakstol said Sunday morning might offer an update, was not ideal. 

“I don’t think it’s going to be something that’s really short term,” said Hakstol. 

The subtraction puts the Kraken back in the same position they were in February: no Burakovsky, no top six scorer, no 20-goal man. They will have to figure it out internally shuffling the lineup, by call-up from Coachella Valley, or by other measures such as a trade. His start of the season has lacked results, but the foundation of his game still packs a lethal punch. They will be without his deadly shot from the flank on the power play, or useful from the off-wing at five-on-five situations. Until he returns, they will have to measure offensive chances by the way they give the puck to the hands of deadly shooters such as Jared McCann or Eeli Tolvanen or find ways to funnel them into high danger scoring areas for anybody willing to go there. 

Side note: there was no scrap after losing Burakovsky on the hit. But Brian Dumoulin was later hit by Vincent Trocheck, and Jared McCann, a 40-goal scorer, took a risk and matters into his own hands. He challenged Trocheck to fight as a response in the third period. 

“I thought (Trocheck) left his feet a little bit,” said McCann on the Dumoulin hit. “I asked him off the face-off, I wasn’t going to jump him or anything. He said ‘yes’, end of story.” 

2.     Lights out. Saturday was easily one of the most bizarre, if not the most aesthetically bizarre game, in Kraken history. A bank of lights failed to illuminate at the opening face-off, just above the right corner of the south end zone, where the Rangers were set to defend twice. Amazingly, the Kraken nearly scored on the first shift of the game before the first whistle halted play for approximately ten minutes while reportedly, discussions took place to even suspending the game. Ultimately both teams agreed to power through the situation and settled on both goaltenders switching sides every ten minutes. 

“It wasn’t ideal switching every ten minutes - it’s kind of crappy especially when you get momentum,” said McCann. 

“We’re not going to use that as an excuse. Both teams had to play in it. It’s on us. We’ve got to be better.” 

It was just after that switch in the second period where the game turned. The Kraken earned terrific looks on an earlier power play, including a half-open net for Matty Beniers, but failed to finish. The Rangers took over with the door open, and Jacob Trouba’s seeing-eye shot snuck through Grubauer’s pads and onto the stick of Kaapo Kakko, who tucked a loose puck for a 2-1 lead. The Rangers, holding the Kraken to one high danger scoring chance through two periods, gradually tilted the ice afterward and finished a run of four unanswered goals, using both Artemi Panarin goals within the darkened end zone of the ice. 

3.     Offensive struggles return. Whether or not you want to believe last season’s Kraken shooting percentage was abnormally high or a sign of progress, few could have predicted a start this slow, hardly resembling of the talent they have assembled, and for the most part, unchanged from last year. Burakovsky, Matty Beniers, Jordan Eberle, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Tolvanen are each without a goal in the first six games of the season. Jared McCann is the leader with two. Each player approached, or topped, the 20-goal mark last season and were principal linchpins in an offense that rolled four lines deep and were top five in the NHL for goals per game. 

“We didn’t execute very well,” said Hakstol. “We weren’t moving. We didn’t have a lot of paces to our game. You saw that five on five, you saw that on our power play opportunities. The sharpness, the crispness – not there.” 

You don’t have to look further past an offense that is relying on those components to see the length of the Kraken struggles. Conventional wisdom suggests games like Thursday, with seven different goal scorers, will be more common. Definitely not on par with seven goals a game, but definitely more than just one goal. Conventional wisdom also suggests that will happen once the Kraken dial up their workload that currently sits 25th each in the league in high-danger scoring chances and shot quality – both at five-on-five. They’re in search of a much needed remedy. We’ll see if the road bears the tonic. 

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