While most of the nation was anxiously watching and awaiting the results of the US mid-term elections Tuesday, the Seattle Kraken were busy knocking off the Nashville Predators, extending their franchise record win streak to five games.
Seattle got off to a hot start in the first period and chased Nashville’s starting goalie, before sagging in the second. To their credit, though, the Kraken minimized the damage in the frame and regrouped before the third to seal another convincing win.
“Good teams find a way to win, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Morgan Geekie.
Seems simple enough, but we’re still going to dig into Tuesday’s victory and try to understand what’s happening with the streaking Kraken. Here are our Three Takeaways from a 5-1 Kraken win over the Predators.
Takeaway #1: The boys came out BUZZING
Seattle picked up right where it left off from its perfect road trip and wasted no time getting on the board against Nashville. After Andre Burakovsky caught an Oliver Bjorkstrand pass in the neutral zone, he looped back toward the Kraken end and found a streaking Jordan Eberle at the red line. Eberle dangled around Ryan McDonagh to gain the zone, then shot over the stick of former Kraken Jeremy Lauzon and past Juuse Saros.
The goal came just 38 seconds into the first period, and just like that, the boys were once again off and rolling.
“We started the game well,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “We were opportunistic on some turnovers that we created. In reality, we picked up where we left off at home.”
Added Geekie, “We haven’t really used our crowd to our advantage [this season], and I think tonight, we made it a point to do that, obviously with the start we had.” Seattle hadn’t been as dominant at home as it had been on the road—the team is now 3-3-1 at home versus 5-1-1 away—but the Climate Pledge Arena crowd was raucous Tuesday and had plenty to cheer about throughout the night.
By the 16:25 mark of the first period, Eberle had already scored two goals and hit a post, and he was only part of the offensive picture in the opening 20 minutes. His second goal was Seattle’s fourth of the night and sent 2021-22 Vezina Trophy finalist Saros to the bench, replaced by Kevin Lankinen.
Also scoring in the early going was Will Borgen, who sniped a shot over Saros’s shoulder to make it 2-0 at 7:29, and Burakovsky, who took an Alex Wennberg pass and toyed with Saros to extend the lead to three at 15:16.
By the time the first horn sounded, Burakovksy had a goal and two assists, Eberle had two goals, and Geekie, Bjorkstrand, Wennberg, and Borgen each had a point. It was the first time the Kraken have ever scored four goals in a period.
Takeaway #2: Martin Jones is locked in
Seattle sagged pretty dramatically in the second period, but Martin Jones stayed hot and bailed his mates out on several occasions. He stopped 10 of the 11 Predators shots he faced in the period and 24 of 25 on the night, improving to 6-3-1 on the season with a 2.61 goals against average and .901 save percentage.
“Solid. He’s been a rock for us,” Morgan Geekie said of Jones. “Obviously, he’s a new dad and stuff, so he’s playing for a little extra out there. But, he’s been awesome for us, and I can’t say enough good things.”
Geekie may be onto something there. Since Jones’s first child was born, he has won four consecutive starts with a .966 save percentage and a 1.00 goals against average. Those are eye-popping numbers and a welcome sight for a team that struggled so mightily in the crease last season.
There are simply no wasted movements for Jones these days, and that comes from him reading the play exceptionally well. He’s in position to make saves in advance of shots, and once he’s set in the right spot, it’s just a matter of dropping to the butterfly and closing down as much of the net as he can. Plus, he’s tracking the puck. When opposing teams avoid shooting into his pads or chest, Jones is easily steering pucks into the corner with his blocker or catching them for a whistle.
“He’s a calm goaltender in there,” Hakstol said. “Tonight he made a couple saves where his movements were pretty quiet, but there were a lot of good saves. Pucks that are coming form the outside through traffic, he was in good spots on, and because of that he also was able to be in good spots for some of the in-tight battles.”
Takeaway #3: That’s five!
Not to toot our own horn, but we accurately predicted on Episode 211 of the Sound Of Hockey Podcast that the Kraken were on the verge of getting on a run. Fast forward a week and a half, and they look like world beaters.
The reason we thought Seattle was going in the right direction was because even when it was losing games—like against Vancouver and Chicago—it was the better team. But turnovers, bad bounces, and five-minute lapses were costing the Kraken. We thought if they could stop letting mistakes compound on each other, they would start getting the results consistently, and that is exactly what has happened.
Tuesday was an odd game in that the Kraken jumped to a 4-0 lead before the end of the first, and Nashville predictably came out looking pissed in the second, while Seattle had predictably eased off.
“When you get up that early, it’s tough to stay on the gas like that, and I think we faded in the second period,” Geekie said.
“You don’t want to be lackadaisical, but a lot of times that’s what happens,” said Eberle. “The second period obviously wasn’t great.”
But even when Seattle’s game dropped off in the second, it minimized the damage to just one goal against and still cruised into the third period with a comfortable three-goal lead. That’s the difference between this five-game streak and those Vancouver and Chicago games; even when the Kraken give up a rare goal, they don’t let that build into any kind of real momentum for the opposition.
So how do they keep this streak rolling?
“I think the biggest thing for us right now is to not get too high here,” said Eberle. “I know we’ve won five in a row, but we have a big homestand with some really good teams that we’re about to play.”
Jamie Oleksiak left the game early with an injury. Hakstol did not have an update on Oleksiak’s status after the game. The Kraken will have a team day off Wednesday before returning to practice Thursday. They will welcome the Minnesota Wild to Climate Pledge Arena on Friday.
great write-up! what is the font used for the article bodies? so pleasant
If I remember correctly, when I looked up at the twins it was four goals on eight shots! That Burakovski goal was impressive… so patient. Hard to believe the difference in net. Haven’t seen the Kraken netminder swimming around on his belly in eight games. Everything seems to be clicking right now.
4 goals in their first 6 shots on goal!