Takeaways from a loss in Nashville, and the road trip finale ahead

Seattle Kraken v Nashville Predators

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 12: Jordan Eberle #7 of the Seattle Kraken controls the puck against Dante Fabbro #57 of the Nashville Predators during the second period at Bridgestone Arena on October 12, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)Photo: Brett Carlsen / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

An offense and special teams that short circuited overshadowed what was a solid effort by Philipp Grubauer in net, as the Seattle Kraken dropped to 0-2 for the first time in franchise history in a 3-0 defeat to the host Nashville Predators on Thursday. 

Juuse Saros was invincible, earning the 21st shutout of his career on 23 saves. Grubauer was tested with much heavier puck volume, turning in a 32 save performance. 

Colton Sissons and Gustav Nyquist scored for Nashville before Jusso Parssinen added an empty netter. 

1.     The second period mattered the most. 

Within the scope of 60 minutes, the Kraken were able to weather Nashville’s crowd in the opening 20 minutes of play. They tested Saros. Although Philipp Grubauer saw more pucks, there was no doubt by the end of 20 minutes that he was dialed in. The groundwork was laid to take control in the second period. 

Until it never happened. The Kraken got out of danger in a five-on-three situation but Steal sprung a leak in the power play to allow Colton Sissons to cash in on a breakaway. A flood of energy took over Bridgestone Arena, and the Kraken were left chasing Nashville for the rest of the game.

“I thought in the second period, they were quicker than us,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “I thought they got up ice, and they got behind us after they gained a little bit of momentum off the shorthanded goal.” 

2.     Where would the Kraken be without Philipp Grubauer? 

Any questions of whether Gruabuer would be ready to pick up where he left off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are beginning to transform into firm answers: Grubauer has taken the crease, so far, as “that guy” – and a myriad of 32 saves he made on Friday were of the tough variety – including a ten-bell grade, diving stop on Roman Jose, moments after the Sissons goal. The Nyquist goal, with 9:57 left in the third period, couldn’t be faulted on Grubauer due to an errant deflection off Adam Larsson’s skate. 

“Grubie’s been solid both nights,” said Hakstol. “He’s given us good opportunities. He’s played very well. He’s been sharp. He’s been seeing the puck well. I’ve really liked his competitive level.”

Game two doesn’t merit overreaction in either direction – with a .918 save percentage, Grubauer is also at about middle of the pack in the “goals saved above expected” category. But the Kraken are receiving extremely positive signs from a position they’ll need as a linchpin, to remain a Stanley Cup Playoff contender. 

3.     The Kraken offense needs the first one.  

Through two games, the Kraken have surrendered the first goal in a road environment and have yet to earn a lead through 120 minutes. It’s an exercise in mental fortitude that the Kraken want to avoid, a stress test in catching up that can be not just physically, but mentally exhausting. 

This is a returning cast that ranked top five in the league for offensive production last season and were one of the most prolific squads at five-on-five play. They could use the first goal of the game in St. Louis. 

From there, on the accordance of Thursday’s aftermath, head coach Dave Hakstol said execution is all that separates from the rhythm they need. 

“When you’re not scoring goals, you’ve got to get to the inside,” said Schwartz. 

“We had some pretty good looks; their goalie made some pretty saves. They had some untimely goals and we didn’t execute quite well enough.” 

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content