The first period was promising… until it wasn’t. The second period had glimpses of a cohesive hockey team… until it didn’t. And the third period, an expansion hockey team was on full display. The Seattle Kraken are two teams trapped in one. An identity crisis at the ripe old age of one. How can this team become who they can be?
The First Period
From the get go, Seattle took the game to the Nashville Predators. Offensively they had high quality chances from dangerous areas on the ice. Defensively they forced the Preds to the outside which led to low percentage shots Grubauer had no trouble stopping.
Were it not for a lucky 5 on 3 powerplay chance, the Kraken would not have scored in the first. It turns out this PP chance was their best of the game. There was a clear setup and execution during this man advantage and the Kraken put it to good use with a gorgeous goal by McCann with a ripper from the right circle off a wonderful read by Mark Giordano.
The elation wouldn’t last. The Preds off a one timer from Luke Kunin put a biscuit in the basket with 21 seconds left in the period. Some good perimeter puck movement caught Grubauer moving post to post, five hole left open, that Kunin used to his advantage and snuck one through. 1-1 after one.
The Second Period
Sloppy play through the first five minutes or so set the tone for the 2nd period. Back and forth play with little to show for it offensively. Then around seven minutes in, Adam Larsson made a bee-line for the net and potted his third goal of the season, one shy of his career best. Larsson’s goal came right after his second consectutive two-plus minute shift. He leads the team in ice time and is second in hits.
The lead was short lived as Filip Forsberg and his moustache tore down the right wing, made a nifty adjustment to his stick mid-shot, and ripped one over Grubauer’s right shoulder… game tied again.
No more than a minute later, Calder Trophy candidate Tanner Jeannot drops the puck off on the far boards to a streaking Mattias Ekholm who circled the net, dumped it in front and watched as it ricocheted off Vince Dunn’s skate and into the Kraken goal for a lead Nashville would not relinquish.
The Third Period
Going into the period down one, you would think the Kraken would have a sense of urgency. They reluctantly attacked Juuse Saros with outside shots. Even with the man advantage due to a lucky Too Many Men call on Nashville, the Kraken couldn’t gain entry into the Preds zone. When they did it, was disjointed and unorganized.
After the Predators scored to make it 4-2 with a lucky goal by Matt Duchene on the power play the Kraken seemed to shut down. With three minutes remaining, the Kraken pulled Grubauer and proceeded to play Pat-A-Cake in the offensive zone instead of attacking with reckless abandon which they should have been doing. The Captain, Mark Giordano was the only one that seemed to be playing as if the team was down by two.
So, with that the game ends, 4-2 Predators. The Kraken, while winning some games, splits their homestand down the middle with a record of 3-3.
The Seattle Kraken have some issues. Their lack of scoring is the right at the top of the list. Playing Gourde on the third line with guys like Jarnkrok and Appleton is a waste of his talent. It is high time to put him on the wing with McCann and Eberle. See if they can spark an offensive revolution. Eberle needs a spark and the playmaking ability of Gourde could ignite it.
I would trot out these lines to try and get the offense this team so desperately needs:
Gourde – McCann – Eberle
Johansson – Wennberg – Donskoi
Jarnkrok – Geekie – Donato
Blackwell – Sheahan – Appleton/Kuhlman
What these lines do is play to eash players strengths. Gourde can open up the defense to allow Eberle to sit in front and McCann to rock the circles. The talent these three possess will spread the defense and allow those seam passes they love so much.
The scandanavian crew on the second line can all skate like the wind. Dump that puck in, be first man in, and cycle until an opening presents itself. Use the D as says to reset or to get shots on net that Donskoi can collect rebounds from and slam home like he did in Colorado. When Donskoi went on his tear last year in Colorado, he was playing on the right side with Val Nichuskin and Tyson Jost down the middle. These players have similar styles to Wennberg and Johansson.
Morgan Geekie needs a spark. Maybe playing with two guys that are playing REALLy well at the moment can help him light it. Jarnkrok is on pace for a career year if he keeps it up and Ryan Donato the same.
What you want out of your fourth line, this fourth line gives. They trap the puck in the offensive zone, work extremely hard on the forecheck, and occasionally put one in. If it ain’t broke, don’t fiddle with it.
As for the Defense:
Gio – Oleksiak
H. Fleury – Larsson
Dunn – Borgen/Lauzon/C. Fleury
Gio is a rock. That much is true. But he hasn’t found his scoring touch. Giving him a rock solid partner in Jamie Oleksiak would allow him to explore his offensive game again since he knows the Big Rig will have his back if he pinches and gets caught.
Haydn Fleury needs to play. He’s got loads of untapped talent but his confidence is waning. Playing with a solid partner like Larsson may just give him the kick in the ass he needs.
While Vince Dunn has been… fine, he hasn’t been stellar. And surely not to the tune of 20 minutes per game. Playing with defensive minded and physical defensemen might allow him the space he needs to make his strong first pass out of the defensive zone. Cale Fleury, strong at both ends, might be a good experiment. Why bring him up to sit in the press box??
This is all conjecture and just KTI spitballing ideas. What are some of your ideas to get the offense going and hopefully play a full 60 minutes. Let us know in the comments or on our TWITTER.
Have a wonderful rest of the week!!