Where do we even begin? Neither team played any semblance of defense, and everybody scored goals in a 9-8 overtime victory for the Seattle Kraken over the Los Angeles Kings. Of course, we won’t complain about a Kraken win, but that was a bizarre and at times truly ugly game.
Matty Beniers, Jared McCann, and Andre Burakovsky each scored two goals for the Kraken (but wait, there’s more!), while Oliver Bjorkstrand, Daniel Sprong, and Alex Wennberg scored the other three. Martin Jones allowed eight goals on 35 shots, good for a .771 save percentage, yet hilariously got credit for another win.
22 unique players registered at least a point in Tuesday’s game, which saw 17 total goals scored by 13 different players.
“I haven’t been in a game like this since junior hockey,” said Jared McCann. “Other than [the San Jose game last Wednesday], I guess.”
McCann is onto something there. It was almost as if Tuesday’s Kraken game against the Kings saw that recent 8-5 Kraken game against the Sharks and said, “Hold my beer.”
We probably could have written about 20 Takeaways from this one, but we whittled it down to three. Here they are, our Three Takeaways from whatever that [motions wildly] was.
Takeaway #1: A game like no other
When we say that was the craziest game we’ve ever seen, we don’t just mean it was crazy in terms of Kraken hockey. We mean it was the most off-the-rails, bonkers hockey game we’ve ever seen. Full stop.
“It was kind of a messed up night,” said Burakovsky. “I think we were trading chances, a lot of sloppy plays. I don’t know. I think we played a really bad game, and so did they. I think we were lucky that they didn’t play good at home.”
“It was a crazy game,” added coach Dave Hakstol. “Obviously, not a well-played hockey game, and in a lot of respects. You look at the types of chances and the goals against and things like that. It was one of those games where last shot wins, and that’s exactly what happened.”
And it wasn’t just nuts because seemingly every shot went in the net. The number of goals scored alone was enough to make our heads spin, but there were some downright bizarre things happening during the course of play, too, especially in the third period.
A good example, Kevin Fiala blasted Oliver Bjorkstrand with a nasty hit from behind in front of the Kings bench. A big scrum ensued, and all the players on the ice stopped playing momentarily. But the referees never blew the whistle, and the puck just rattled around in the Kraken zone for a good 10 seconds before things got sorted out in the neutral zone. Then, the players just… began playing again, like nothing had happened.
While that was shaking out, the scorekeeper apparently stopped the clock thinking the whistle had gone. So, fast forward to the end of the third period, and the horn randomly sounded with about 10 seconds left on the clock. Apparently that was the result of the mix-up after the Fiala hit, but it was cause for one last round of confusion for everyone involved.
Then, the Kraken getting a power play and Burakovsky scoring the sudden-death game winner because the Kings had TOO MANY MEN ON THE ICE IN THREE-ON-THREE OVERTIME was the frosting on top of a downright hideous cake.
It was an unforgettable game. Let’s never do it again.
Takeaway #2: Bad habits creeping in?
The Kraken absolutely rolled through the month of November, with an almost shocking 10-1-1 record. They’re now 11-1-1 in their last 13 games, and this latest victory extends their current win streak to six games. It also keeps them within four points of the Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division with two games in hand. That’s all good stuff.
But one thing we’ve seen from teams that have gotten onto prolonged hot streaks over the years is that when things are going this well for this long, players start to feel like they can get away with taking shortcuts on the ice. They stop doing the things that made their team successful in the first place, like playing sound, structural hockey. When the dam breaks and losses start leaking in, it’s really hard to stop the leaks from turning to a massive flood.
The Kraken, who are typically so hard to play against, have now given up four or more goals in three of their last four games, including a whopping eight against the Kings. There were many times Tuesday when Martin Jones looked completely hung out to dry, and that is something you never want to see from a team that prides itself on its defensive structure.
The players and coach were notably critical of themselves after the game, despite coming away with an important victory.
“We didn’t particularly play well defensively,” McCann said. “We didn’t shut it down in front of Jonesy, and you know, that’s on us. We gotta figure it out here and get back to the way we know how to— it would be better if we win 3-2 than 9-5, 9-6, 9-7 in a game.”
The Kraken were too loose in the neutral and defensive zones, and their puck management was horrendous.
“We have a lot to clean up on the defensive side,” said Burakovsky. “On the offensive side, we’re still scoring nine goals, so I mean, that’s definitely a positive. But we need to help our D out better, and we need to help out our goalie better. We can’t have nights when we let in eight goals. That’s just reality.”
Kraken fans can take solace in the fact that this team is continuing to find different ways to win. And even when they have these bad defensive nights, they’re able to outscore opponents, something they never would have been able to do last season.
Still, they can’t play like they played Tuesday and expect to keep winning. Hakstol has done a good job this season of addressing issues, so let’s keep an eye on this over the next few games to see if he and the Kraken can nip these bad defensive games in the bud.
Takeaway #3: A tough night for the goaltenders
It was a great night for padding offensive stats but not a great night for the goaltenders, who collectively got torched. As things were going back and forth in the earlier stages of the game, Kings coach Todd McLellan opted to relieve Jonathan Quick and send out Cal Petersen. The hook came after Jared McCann scored his second goal of the game at 4:56 of the second period, making it 5-4 Kraken.
The Kings then answered right back to make it 5-5, but interestingly, Hakstol left Jones in the game. That’s a tough call to make, because the score is close, and the goals to that point really hadn’t been Jones’s fault. But it’s also not good for his psyche to stay in there for eight goals against.
Hakstol said as McLellan was making his change, he never considered sending out Philipp Grubauer. “Jonesy was good to that point,” Hakstol said. “I think he probably showed a little bit of fatigue as we got into the third, with some of the opportunities that we had given up.”
We thought Jones had stopped the bleeding toward the end of the second period and into the third period, but a stinker from Mikey Anderson was what allowed the Kings to tie the game late and send it to overtime. But by then, do you send in a cold Grubauer with six minutes left? Probably not.
“The seventh goal is off of our stick, it’s a deflection, no chance there,” Hakstol said. “Probably the eighth one is the one that— if I were to sit with Jonesy and look at it, we’d probably look at it and say that’s one that he probably could have had.”
In the end, it’s yet another ‘W’ in the win column for Jones, but the Kraken have been riding him hard. It may be time to give him a couple nights in a row off to recuperate, both mentally and physically.