In a game that could have been easily characterized as “survival,” the Seattle Kraken did all they could to maneuver back-and-forth flow that, at times, had the speed of a snail through a mud pit.
Sometimes, these games dazzle you with a Van Gogh work of art. Other times, it’s stray kids chalk on the living room wall.
Tonight was that latter, in the Kraken 2-1 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, their only visit this season to Nationwide Arena. Philipp Grubauer, for the first 50 minutes of regulation, was untouchable and a big reason the Kraken were able to force overtime and salvage a point in the standings – statistically more of a consolation versus a loss in regulation, where you get zero. He wasn’t flopping with an assignment of 45 shots on net by then, but passed every test thrown his way (a breakaway save on Patrik Laine comes to mind).
Come overtime where three-on-three opens ice the size Elliott Bay, leaving Laine open for his trademark shot is a dicey proposition. The game winner was his first goal of the season, totaling three points in his first two games (off and running with trying to rebound from career lows in scoring last season).
Notes for tonight:
- The Kraken kept the lineup nearly set-in-stone same, exception with the subtraction of Vince Dunn to injury – Haydn Fleury took his spot on a pairing with Jeremy Lauzon, who were on ice each for 23 shifts for the entire game and combined for three hits and three shots.
- Grubauer stopped 23 of 25 shots in his third straight appearance in net – counting the last five periods he’s played, including tonight’s overtime: he has a .921 save percentage.
- Jared McCann was the most successful of the Kraken at the face-off circle: winning 6-of-11 draws (55 percent).
- Brandon Tanev’s second period goal, an absolute work of art, was the epitome of a timely play and patience, waiting out goaltender Elvis Merzlikins before slipping an upper-corner backhander from at the bottom of the right circle. That’s not easy.
- Ryan Donato’s assist on Tanev’s goal gave him six points in four career games against the Blue Jackets.
- That’s all for Kraken visits this regular season to Columbus (next meeting: second of two this season, Dec. 11 at Climate Pledge Arena)
FROM THE PODIUM:
Head Coach Dave Hakstol and his thoughts on the game:
“Well we had a one goal lead going in, and we lost that lead. So it's a good road point; you're always disappointed when you have the opportunity going into the third period with the lead. We give up too many off the rush, tonight, we didn't track and hold our gaps well enough against some of their pace. So, those are the chances that were most dangerous, especially in the second half of the game.”
Hakstol on if the third period tonight compared to the third period in Nashville on Thursday:
“Yeah, the Nashville game we had trouble breaking out. We just weren't calm and in control with the puck. This is different. We didn't spend all that much time in our ‘D zone,’ we probably had as much time on possession. But we gave up too much off the rush; that's where the most dangerous opportunities were. I thought most of those were in the second half of the game. I think back to the breakaway that we gave up in the second period with the rebound. I thought from that point on we gave up too much off the rush.”
Hakstol on the numerical value associated with playing a complete game:
“I can't put a number on it. We’re playing in some tough buildings here. We had a great win the other night, wasn't perfect in the third period. We came out of this building tonight and it's disappointing (with the result) to have a lead going into the third period. You want to push and extend that lead and close out the game - we didn't do that tonight. And there's you know there's reasons for that.”
Hakstol on comparing tonight’s game versus Thursday – holding a lead, and Tuesday, trying to rally:
“Well that’s what stands out is winnable hockey games. Every night is close, every night is competitive and, three games through – one goal hockey games – and one into overtime, right? So that's what stands out – those are the kind of games where you're going to be comfortable playing in, and we're going to be involved in a lot of them.”
Brandon Tanev on the result of tonight’s game:
“Yeah obviously it’s not the result we wanted. You're coming into a tough building to play a good team and these are important points early on the season. You can take some good away from that game – there's some stuff we didn't like, but then, end of the day we want to come out here and get as many points as we can. Ultimatley this is a learning experience for our group and we'll be moving on to the next one.”
Tanev on lessons learned in the third period of the last two games:
“I think we’ve just got to continue to play our game and stay confident – trust in one another, communicate with one another. It's early in the season and these are big learning points for our group. We look forward to the next one in Philadelphia here.”
Ryan Donato on the similarities of this game compared to the past:
“I mean it's hard to say. It’s so early in the season and we're just starting right, so I don't know. We’ve just got to find an identity for the third period. I think that comes with time. We have a lot of guys with experience, so we just know we can't sit on our heels and keep up the pressure because teams are too good in this league. If you wait, they're going to score.”
Donato on the difference in level of forechecking in the first two periods versus the third period:
“I think we're a team that really wants to win. So when you get up in the lead and it comes to those times in the game where we're up one or two and they just kind of grip sticks hold you tight and we're just sitting back, like I said so. I mean, I think we got a great group of guys in the locker room and coaches that watch the game obviously learn from it, but obviously it stings a little bit tonight.”
Donato on missed scoring chances around the net and the play of Elvis Merzlikins:
“A little bit of both. I mean, I'm not going to take anything away from (Merzlikins), I think he played a good game but sometimes those little bounces that you get land right on your stick and sometimes they sit there, looking like they're going to be a Christmas present for you and it jumps right over your stick. So yeah, it's tough and hopefully the bounces start going our way.”