Kraken offense short circuits after strong start, 5-1 loss to Colorado

Colorado Avalanche v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 13: Joey Daccord #35 of the Seattle Kraken makes a save against the Colorado Avalanche during the third period at Climate Pledge Arena on November 13, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche scored five unanswered goals and Alexandar Georgiev made 18 stops to send the Seattle Kraken to a 5-1 defeat before 17,151 fans at Climate Pledge Arena on Monday.

The Kraken, who dropped both games on their brief two game homestand and have lost three in a row on home ice, have found offense – and shots – hard to come by. They were outshot 31-19 – coming off a season-low 18 shots on Saturday’s loss to Edmonton – and have finagled only five goals in the last three home games. 

Brandon Tanev scored the only Kraken goal, 6:13 into the game, in his return to the lineup for a 1-0 lead. Joey Daccord made 26 saves to take the loss in net. 

The Kraken, who play four games in six days this week, will visit Edmonton for their next stop on Wednesday, 5:30pm PT at Rogers Place. 

Takeaways from the game: 

1.     The continued low trend in shots: another flushed opportunity:
It’s one thing to discover the Kraken fired just 19 shots on net. It’s another level to unfortunately discover they only had 10 for the rest of the game, just one in the third period, and just seven shot attempts at full strength in the third period. 

Then, there’s the collective result – one day after the team pledged a sharp U-turn in a shooter’s mentality. That’s where the sting visibly hurts the most, and the remedy is needed the most, where the Kraken have managed just two goals, and 37 shots on net in their last 120 minutes – all on home ice, where they also had their goaltender, Joey Daccord, face a difficult assignment of a second period barrage that threatened their lead, before Mikko Rantanen and Ross Colton scored a pair of goals by outmuscling the defense at the net. 

“We left our goaltender out to dry,” said Brandon Tanev. 

“They scored a couple of net front goals, and that’s something we’ll have to fix and deal with.” 

2.     First period burst: 

This is where you could hang the hat on a Kraken turnaround. Can they string more of the opening 20 minutes on a consistent basis? The start of the Edmonton loss last Saturday was cluttered with miscues, leading up to four goals in 20 minutes while goaltender Philipp Grubauer was replaced by Daccord. The Kraken responded by outshooting Colorado, 6-1 in the return of Brandon Tanev, whose energy was a visible boost. He misfired a potential game opening goal off the post during an odd-man rush, then made good on his slam-dunk rebound just 6:13 into the game, a by-product of the Kraken pledge for energy and effort. Perhaps he was on his way to a hat trick, ultimately helping out on a two-on-one shorthanded goal with Alex Wennberg that was wiped away for goaltender interference. 

“Our effort out of the gates was very good,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “Our pace was very good through the first 40 minutes.”  

It’s not too hard to read what was missing in that statement, the final 20 minutes, where the Kraken were limited to just one shot on net which handcuffed any attempt of a rally. It didn’t help the Avalanche played the Nathan MacKinnon line a ton, who can buckle any opposing defense. Yanni Gourde’s line, frequently matched up against his, kept them off the board for 31 minutes. But when the levee broke and the Kraken were forced into different matchups or penalty issues, he walked away with three assists in a staggering 24:50 of ice time. His linemates, Mikko Rantanen and Valeri Nichuskin, each scored and the line totaled six points.

One goal in the first period was a promising starting point. But as the game turned, the Kraken were again left needing more, failing to build with a slim lead that had little margin for error. They have scored first in a whopping 11 of 16 games this season. They are now in a challenge to consistently build on a lead, now 4-4-1 when leading after one period. 

3.     The turning point: no goal for Alex Wennberg. 

Ask the Kraken about a supposed shorthanded goal by Alex Wennberg, aided on a two-on-one with Tanev, that supposedly built a 2-0 lead and had the Avalanche reduced the mercy position. Head coach Jared Bednar then challenged the play, left to video review. 

Goaltender interference was the call and scuttled such plans, visibly showing Tanev’s skate in the crease while moving the pad of Alexandar Georgiev. 

Hakstol agreed the play was a turning point in the game, but it didn’t faze the Kraken. 

“It wasn’t a good goal; that’s it, it’s back to 1-0,” said Hakstol. “I didn’t think that stunted us a whole lot, but it would have been nice to have the two goal lead at that point, off a really good, hard effort.” 

While the Kraken still completed a respectable first period where they outshot Colorado 9-6, the suggested tone of the game was still a work in progress, not advantage-Kraken. The Avalanche then took advantage of their open window, starting in the second period. 

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