Kraken and depleted lineup drop 3-0 loss at Pittsburgh

Seattle Kraken v Pittsburgh Penguins

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 15: Lars Eller #20 of the Pittsburgh Penguinsa and Jaden Schwartz #17 of the Seattle Kraken fight for the puck during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena on January 15, 2024 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Harrison Barden/Getty Images)Photo: Harrison Barden / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

It wasn't going to last forever. But the first loss in regulation for the Seattle Kraken in a month, 3-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, offered a sobering approach at the conclusion of a rare Monday matinee at PPG Paints Arena.

The Kraken are in much better shape than a month ago. They have goaltending, they have four line depth, they have a defensive corps helping generate offense. Yet after the defeat in the fourth game of a season-long six-game road trip, they were challenged for stamina.

"Obviously when you're missing key pieces for your team, it's tough for you," said forward Jaden Schwartz. "We've done a good job all year with guys stepping in and I think tonight, like I said, we just we just didn't have that same jump. We looked a little tired and guys were not feeling 100 percent."

Schwartz has a point. The Kraken missed Matty Beniers, last year's Calder Trophy winner though enduring a sophomore slump, for the first time this season after leaving a Saturday win in Columbus following a hit taken from Cole Sillinger. Andre Burakovsky left the same game, termed by Dave Hakstol, with a lower body injury. Vince Dunn was shelved for the first time all season with an undisclosed ailment, and all three players were ruled day-to-day by the end of the game.

Add to the crunch: defenseman Adam Larsson exited late in the first period due to illness and did not return.

The chaos left the Kraken without their top defensive pairing and two top six forwards, left to remaining devices to stop Sidney Crosby and crew.

No dice. Crosby scored twice, tacking on Drew O'Connor's game opening goal in the second period to give Tristan Jarry his fifth shutout of the season on only 21 shots, compared to the busier Joey Daccord who took the loss but faced a higher degree of difficulty on 30 saves.

"This is a (Penguins) team that pressures pretty well they pressure hard, they have good sticks," said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. "We didn't come out of our zone as well as we needed to, and we definitely didn't enter into their zone. We didn't manage the puck well enough in the first period."

"A couple of mistakes early in the second period and we're chasing the game from there."

They will enter Tuesday's matchup with the New York Rangers remaining tied for the final wild card spot with Edmonton sitting idle on Monday. Nashville remains two points ahead in the first spot, losing to Vegas.


Monday wasn't the easiest game to maneuver for head coach Dave Hakstol. Tomas Tatar slid into a line to replace Beniers, alongside Jared McCann and Jordan Eberle. Devin Shore and Kailer Yamamoto were summoned to replace the remaining holes, while Ryker Evans took Dunn's spot alongside Larsson (before his exit).

Before we knew it, Hakstol was continuously juggling his lineup amidst the front end of back-to-back games. Not an easy task. It demanded high performance in net, which Daccord provided. But the remaining sum would require a near flawless game, and breakdowns led to two quick Penguins goals early in the second period which put momentum on their side for good.

Crosby has done this a thousand times in his career, and future Hall-of-Famers know how to lock down a game in their favor. The Kraken were at a disadvantage all day, which is a perhaps a more encouraging picture in their first loss since Dec. 10 when their lineup had question marks all over the place, and carried a win streak no longer than two games.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content