Here’s how we would sum up Thursday’s disappointing 5-4 Kraken loss to the Ottawa Senators: You can’t win ’em all. Or can you? Hold on, maybe you can win ’em all. You definitely can win ’em all! Oh, wait, you may not win ’em all. Ok, you can’t win ’em all.
On a night when Seattle had a terrible start and dropped quickly into a 3-0 hole, there was a sense in Climate Pledge Arena early that the game would end up being a miserable experience. The Kraken battled back, though, erasing the three-goal deficit and actually grabbing the lead in the third period, only to give a tying goal right back and a winning goal in the waning moments.
“We didn’t start on time tonight,” said coach Dave Hakstol. “And then, a disappointing end. We didn’t get out of our end well enough in the third period, and it ended up costing us.”
Here are our Three Takeaways from a “disappointing” 5-4 Kraken loss to the Senators.
Takeaway #1: You can’t start like that
We need to give credit to the Senators, because they are a talented, young team playing desperate hockey and battling for one of the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Kraken knew that coming in, though, yet somehow it took 10 minutes and a timeout for them to wake up and start skating with Ottawa.
The late arrival for the Kraken was enough to give Shane Pinto an easy tap-in, Jakob Cychrun a prime look from Main Street, and Patrick Brown a stinker that leaked through Philipp Grubauer.
Hakstol called a needed timeout following the third goal against, and whatever his exact words were worked wonders. Seattle turned the game around from there, scoring four unanswered goals, including two more from McCann who now has 33 on the season.
“That remains on the bench,” Hakstol said of his message at the timeout. “It was just 30 seconds to settle things down and get pushing in the right direction.”
“The start wasn’t good enough; we didn’t come ready,” added Jared McCann. “Pretty simple message [during the timeout] that if you want to get back in the game, you got to figure it out. We did that, but at the same time, we gotta have a full 60-minute effort. We didn’t.”
After Vince Dunn gave the Kraken a lead at 3:23 of the third, Claude Giroux got the dreaded and torturous response goal 38 seconds later. Then, after Seattle appeared to be breaking out of its own zone before turning the puck over at the blue line, Alex DeBrincat got a lucky bounce off Will Borgen’s stick with just 2:23 left. That was all she wrote.
“We scored enough tonight, that wasn’t the issue,” said Hakstol. “We gave up too much. And that’s— it doesn’t have to be a huge volume, it’s what we gave up and how we gave it up tonight, especially in the last 10 minutes of the hockey game.”
Had the Kraken been ready to play this game from the start, they should have extended their win streak to six games. Instead, they were left seething in the dressing room after letting a game slip away that they briefly had in their grasp.
Takeaway #2: The comeback was impressive, but…
For a stretch, it felt like the story was writing itself Thursday and that it would have a happy ending for the Kraken. After Jaden Schwartz tipped home a Dunn shot at 2:11 of the second period to make it 3-2 Senators, you could sense that a tying goal was coming for Seattle.
Lo and behold, Daniel Sprong erupted out of the penalty box after Seattle killed another of its four penalties on the night. He immediately ripped a shot toward the net that hit McCann and caromed in for McCann’s second goal of the game.
Then, you knew Seattle would take the lead in the third period, and sure enough, Dunn made an outstanding play to score his 12th of the season. He knocked Austin Watson off the puck and got it to Yanni Gourde, then made himself open for a return pass and sniped a shot over the shoulder of Mads Sogaard.
But the Kraken couldn’t close on this particular evening. The quick strike from Giroux and the late own goal ruined what otherwise could have been a memorable game in which the home team would have surmounted a three-goal deficit. That story would have been way more fun.
“We just won five in a row, right?” said Hakstol. “So we closed out a lot of games. We’re disappointed with the result tonight, we’re disappointed with giving up a goal with 2:22 to go when we have clear possession.”
Takeaway #3: Scoreboard watching
The top of the Pacific Division is a gauntlet right now. All four of Vegas, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Edmonton are winning seemingly everything, so any loss is magnified. All four teams were in action Thursday, and the Golden Knights, Kings, and Oilers all took two points from the Lightning, Avalanche, and Bruins respectively. Yes, the Oilers beat the Bruins 3-2.
The Kraken loss doesn’t change much in the playoff race for now, but it still stings that Seattle didn’t keep pace on a night when everyone else won. As it stands, the Kraken are back to four points behind the Kings and Golden Knights, and they are level at 80 points with Edmonton. The Oilers have played one more game than the Kraken, though.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Western Conference, Seattle’s opponent for its next two games—the Dallas Stars—hung 10 goals on Buffalo, embarrassing the Sabres 10-4 in their own building.
So, if Seattle has cleanup to do, it will need to figure that out in a hurry. The Stars lead the Central Division, and they have scored 21 goals in their last three games.
“I’m not sure what happened [Thursday], but we got to get back to what makes us successful,” said McCann. “That’s getting on the forecheck, laying the body, and we had some guys doing it and some guys not.”