The way this season has gone, it’s fitting that records are being set, that bring more than just one league into the picture.
The Seattle Kraken made NHL history, becoming the first team ever to sweep a seven-game road trip and set a new franchise record with six goals in the first period, crushing the Chicago Blackhawks in an 8-5 victory before 20,075 fans at United Center on Saturday.
“It’s a great accomplishment for the players,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “It shows a consistency and work they’ve put in since the start of this road trip.”
The Kraken have won eight straight games, breaking their franchise benchmark set just over a month ago, while accomplishing their road trip feat that hasn’t even been seen in National Basketball Association history, let alone the NHL.
By any means necessary to discover a level of comfort on the road swing, it worked. That includes Morgan Geekie, who confirmed he packed a PlayStation 5 video game console for the entire trip.
“I don’t know what I would have done without it,” Geekie told 93.3 KJR-FM after the game. “There’s a lot of downtime. My most played game was Call of Duty. Madden 23 was a close second.”
It’s funny to consider how the Kraken have brought video games into reality, where their season has produced offense in “video game numbers.” In every game, except the win in Boston, they scored four goals or more.
This one featured more offense by historic proportions. In the first period, the Kraken hammered Chicago with five goals in a span of 3:41, and six in 10:21 – the second fastest sprint in the NHL over the last ten seasons.
Jared McCann had a hat trick, while Daniel Sprong, Matty Beniers, Andre Burakovsky, Eeli Tolvanen (fifth goal in eight games), and Oliver Bjorkstrand also scored.
Seth Jones and Taylor Raddysh each led the Blackhawks with three points, who never led in the game. Martin Jones is now 7-0 since New Year’s Day with a 22-save effort. Chicago starter Petr Mrazek was yanked after allowing four goals in the first five shots, replaced by Alex Stalock (21 saves).
1. This was a road trip that was turned in two weeks from dangerous into legendary. Who had a wager on the Kraken not just dominating, but sweeping their way through a seven-game swing? They didn’t just survive testy games against juggernauts like Toronto, Boston, and even a lethal Edmonton team who can score at will with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl at the helm. They thrived. Their goal differential was plus-22 for the entire trip. They scored the first goal in five of the seven games. Martin Jones earned two shutouts. And it vaulted the Kraken from outside of the playoff picture, two weeks ago, to division title contention, where they are two points back of the Vegas Golden Knights.
2. Fear The Deep, indeed. Where do we start on this explosive offense? Let’s first recognize the game is enjoying an offensive renaissance unseen since the 1990’s. The Kraken are now become a face of that movement, tied for second with the Bruins with 3.7 goals per game. Last year, it would have finished second in the league. The previous two years, it would have led the league. Each line had a goal, and spread the point production across in near symmetrical fashion:
Line 1: 2 goals, 4 points
Line 2: 3 goals, 7 points
Line 3: 2 goals, 5 points
Line 4: 1 goal, 3 points
This was all remarkably done at even strength. Yes, the Kraken gave up five goals – two though came when the game was academic. The Kraken scored eight goals in a game for the fourth time this season. Nobody else has done that in the NHL. “Fear The Deep” is a rallying cry that carries very real meaning.
3. There’s just not enough space to give props to every player. Daniel Sprong might hit 20 goals by Valentine’s Day. Rookie sensation Matty Beniers might hit 30 goals, outright. Jared McCann might hit 40 goals, outright. Vince Dunn and Adam Larsson each were +6 before the seats were even warm. Larsson finished at +7. Jordan Eberle hit the scoresheet with an assist in his 900th career game. Eeli Tolvanen continued to write a new chapter in his career as a revelation, scoring his fifth goal in eight games since coming to Seattle via waivers. Some may call a night like this, an “embarrassment of riches.” If you want to call it a night where the Kraken offense “said it with their chest,” fine too. The identity of the Kraken has been cemented: strength in numbers, and an offense that’s as relentless as a hungry wolf. It wrapped up a road trip of historical proportions, and a step closer to making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a real thing.
The Kraken come home for a pit stop: next up, a 1pm matinee (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network) on Monday, against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Climate Pledge Arena.
KRAKEN LINEUP vs. CHICAGO, 1/14: