Call it a loss that stings but requires little time to dwell on it.
The Seattle Kraken did so many things right in a hard place to play. But a 3-1 lead needed more maintenance, and seven minutes left in regulation was enough time for Evander Kane to singlehandedly deliver a natural hat trick and help the Edmonton Oilers come back and beat the Kraken, 4-3 in overtime, Wednesday night at Rogers Place.
Let’s cut right to the chase:
1. Kraken get depth scoring and won battles at the net. After Connor McDavid put the Oilers up 1-0, you got the feeling that the Kraken were on their way to another slow burnout. With just one win in the last six games, reversing course takes a lot of work. But the Kraken weren’t fazed, and simply went to the net to find all three of their goals, eventually staking a 3-1 lead by the end of the second period.
Jared McCann, who can snipe, had a pass from Jordan Eberle bounce into the net off his leg. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare got a piece of Vince Dunn’s blast at 9:24. Then Alex Wennberg, using a deceptive move to the forehand, outmaneuvered Stuart Skinner from close range.
The Kraken, challenged to get shots on net for the last two games, used simple, smart, and effective play to create chaos and find three goals on 36 shots, the latter just one short of their total from the previous two games combined.
2. Faceoffs matter in close games. It was the turning point. The Kraken trailed for much of this game in face-offs, eventually catching up. But it was the most important draw of the game they yielded to Edmonton, who pulled Stuart Skinner for an extra attacker, and it cost them. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who was terrific in the game and for much of the entire season, lost his draw to Leon Draisaitl, who helped funnel the puck back to the blueline and eventually into the hands of Kane, who tied the game at 19:14.
It’s likely an alternate and rosier ending if the Kraken come up with the puck on that face-off, with an empty net to shoot at.
3. This is a loss that can’t permeate the Kraken mind, bleeding into Thursday. It hurts. Dave Hakstol said it was going to sting on the flight home, even with the work ethic at a level of “pretty fricking hard” according to Hakstol.
“We played exactly the way we wanted to play on the road,” said Hakstol.
The Kraken built a two-goal lead. They got offense from three of their four lines. They sniffed 40 shots on goal. Joey Daccord looked locked in. It went down the drain in the last 6:32 plus overtime.
Likely it’s a scenario that holds a silver lining for the Kraken: they have no choice but to forget about it, because a home game with the New York Islanders, and all the prep work that comes with it, is immediately on deck for Thursday night at 7pm. There is no disadvantage either: the Islanders come off a lead-blowing loss, 4-3 in overtime to the Canucks on Wednesday night.
“We’ve got to turn the page and get ready to go (Thursday) night,” said Hakstol.