The shots were 33-18.
The scoring chances were 34-14.
The “high danger” scoring chances were 15-5*.
All of those were in favor of the Seattle Kraken.
Except the final score, 3-1 New York Rangers.
On a Halloween night before a sellout crowd at Climate Pledge Arena where sometimes, you have the upper hand, you do all you can, but you also run into hot goaltending. It leaves you walking out of the building saying, “that’s hockey.”
Jordan Eberle delivered the only Kraken goal on a backhander that was so delicious it should be on a dessert menu of your local four-star restaurant. Jaden Schwartz had a half open net in the second period. Brandon Tanev had the puck on his stick, on top of the crease. Yanni Gourde was hanging around for a late third period rebound.
But the New York Rangers, an NHL institution since Babe Ruth was playing baseball a few miles away, have been historically built from the goaltending position, out. John Davidson, Mike Richter, Henrik Lundqvist, and now a new rising star in Igor Shesterkin:
They make 60 minutes a tough nut to crack.
So with a 1-1 tie heading into the deep parts of the third period, Shesterkin turned away a point blank chance by Brandon Tanev, which would have about blown the roof of Climate Pledge Arena. Immediately, the Rangers turned the puck down ice, Artemi Panarin bought time waiting for reigning Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox (defenseman of the year) to enter the zone, and Panarin fed Fox, tape-to-tape for the eventual game winner – set up between the circles.
Then, moments after Yanni Gourde nearly buried a Mark Giordano rebound and Eberle lost the puck, Barclay Goodrow converted on a giveaway and scored on an empty netter to seal the game.
As growing pains subside, the Kraken (splitting the inaugural homestand at 2-2) will move onto play the Edmonton Oilers, a test even more stiff than the Rangers to the point where they employ the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner (leading scorer in the league) Connor McDavid, and have another gunslinger in Leon Draisaitl, combining with McDavid to win the NHL’s Hart Trophy (MVP) a whopping four times. Their determination to rebound from a first round sweep at the hands of Winnipeg has them out to a 6-1 start under (a guy you may remember) in head coach Dave Tippett.
-We were all expecting a similar lineup as practice indicated on Saturday. Then, COVID-19 protocol reared its ugly head, a whopping 55 minutes before opening face-off. Jared McCann, Kraken leading scorer entering tonight, was sidelined along with assistant coach Paul McFarland (in charge of the Kraken forwards and power play).
-Max McCormick was shifted into duty for his Kraken debut, 24 hours off a recall from the Charlotte Checkers (AHL), and delivered 7:20 of ice time along with three shots on net and a blocked shot.
-The Kraken had the upper hand in the face-off circle, winning 54 percent of their draws while Yanni Gourde (8-of-13) and Morgan Geekie (6-of-10) were 60 percent or better.
-Eberle keeps on ticking against the Rangers: 5 points now in his last 5 head-to-head meetings.
-The Rangers are tough to beat on the road. How tough? They set a new franchise record for most road wins (5) in their first nine games, and for most road wins in the month of October.
-A look at the Edmonton Oilers: they last beat the Canucks, 2-1 on Saturday night, with goal-scoring coming from Warren Foegele and Draisaitl. Though their goal differential (+10) and firepower are potent, taking penalties is the hockey akin to playing with matches and gasoline: they are a jaw dropping 47% on the man advantage, tops in the entire league.
-Penalty kill update: in what will be a Monday showdown of evolving strength (Kraken PK) versus strength (Edmonton power play), the Kraken are now third in the NHL (90%) and fifth best on the road.
-Tuesday will be the second of back-to-back sets the Kraken face this year, out of ten total. The hope and the dream is the Kraken have a better bounce back then last time, losing to New Jersey one day after playing in Philadelphia.
-Edmonton connections: Adam Larsson, the Oilers defensive zone “safety valve” for five seasons, was signed by the Kraken through free agency (although, on expansion draft day) and last season had 10 points in 56 games, while going through 19 career Stanley Cup Playoff games in Oilers colors.
FROM THE PODIUM:
Head coach Dave Hakstol on the end result of tonight:
“We deserved a better fate tonight. Our guys worked their tails off. We didn’t give much at our net. We gave up a little on transition, which this team is excellent, they got us on transition. On the other side, our group did a lot of great things with the puck, generating a lot of zone time and opportunities. They also did a great job defensively inside. We didn’t get to a lot of second (opportunities). But right down to wire, the six on five, that’s one we’d like a better fate on. But we didn’t get it.”
Hakstol on transition game and building on positives:
“I’ll be honest the only parts of our game I didn’t like were a couple of transition plays against in first period. Those were very limited. Other than that, we don’t like the outcome. We’re not settled with the outcome. But there weren’t many parts of this game I don’t like. Certainly I can look thorough this and be hard pressed to find more than enough I can count on one hand, instances, where I was disappointed with our effort. Our effort was excellent. Our togetherness was great. We stayed with it. We couldn’t make the paly to get game winning goal.”
Jordan Eberle on the result of Sunday’s game:
“We just couldn’t find a bounce. Look at their second goal, we had a great chance before that. They find a way then with empty net, we get a good point shot, good tip, one goes off the post then they go down the other way and score on an empty net. Those are always tough when you feel like you carry the play and find a way to lose. The positive is you play like that, most nights, bounces go in. You get a win, or you fight and get a point. Those are always tough.”
Philipp Grubauer on managing the developments of team play amidst the defeat:
“I think those are all the right things we needed to do. We’re going to win some games that we could lose and we’re going to lose some games we were going to win. This game was one of them. We stayed out of the box, great penalty kill, their power play is really dangerous. We didn’t capitalize on our chances but overall we did a really good job.”
- Broadcast notes:
6:30pm puck drop from Rogers Place with Everett Fitzhugh and Dave Tomlinson. I'll get with you at 6pm for Coors Light Pregame Show coverage.
- Intermission (Meet the Kraken) guest: Calle Jarnkrok
* Thanks, naturalstattrick.com.