The Kraken entered Thursday’s matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes winless through four games on the season. Call us crazy, but we still felt confident going in that Seattle was going to come out victorious, even though the team had only scored three total goals and had only beaten Carolina one time out of four previous tries in franchise history.
Sometimes, you just get a feeling on game days, and hearing coach Dave Hakstol challenge his players to look at themselves and “do a little bit more” at morning skate gave us a hunch the players would refuse to let themselves sink into a deeper hole.
Lo and behold, seven different players scored goals, including two power-play goals and a short-handed goal, and—despite some hairy moments in the third period when the lead shrunk to 4-3—the Kraken ended up with a lopsided W as their first win of the season.
“At some point in time, you just have to go out and get it done, and that’s what we did tonight,” said Hakstol. “So, a little wobble at the start of the third period, gave up a couple quick ones, but nobody got back on their heels.”
Here are our Three Takeaways from an important 7-4 Kraken win over the Hurricanes.
Takeaway #1 (Darren): Burakovsky and Dunn have entered the chat
I have to credit John Barr for this one, because he called out both Vince Dunn and Andre Burakovsky on this week’s Sound Of Hockey Podcast, saying he didn’t think either player had looked particularly sharp so far. The duo must have listened to the episode before Thursday’s game, because they came out firing and combined for five points on the night. Dunn had a power-play goal and two assists, and Burakovsky added two assists of his own, including his 200th career point.
“Everyone really chipping in tonight makes my game shape itself,” Dunn said. “I don’t really get any of [my] goals without everyone doing their part out there, so a lot of credit to the other guys for finding me and getting open for me to distribute to them.”
After several questionable plays in the first few games, Dunn was back to looking like the version of himself that earned consideration for the Norris Trophy last season. He was dynamic, he was physical, and he was getting himself involved offensively throughout his team-leading 22:55 of ice time.
“It’s nice to see Dunner get on the board the way he did,” Hakstol said. “It’s a challenge when you miss a good chunk of training camp like he did, and I think there were different parts of his game that had a little bit of rust … He was rock solid tonight.”
We’re singling out Dunn and (to a lesser extent) Burakovsky mostly because it makes a convenient podcast-related narrative, but the reality is there were solid efforts up and down the lineup Thursday. The group finally got rewarded with a big bundle of goals, just as we predicted on that same episode, and all at once the floodgates opened.
Now, let’s see if they remain open moving forward.
Takeaway #2 (Curtis): Joey Daccord immense early
To Darren’s point, this had the feeling of a “get-right” game. Three-goal margin of victory. Seven goals by seven different goal scorers. For five of those scorers, it was their first of the season. 12 Kraken players recorded a point. This is the type of performance that allows everyone to loosen the grips on their sticks a bit and get into the flow of the season.
The story might have been different, however, but for the play of Kraken goaltender Joey Daccord in the first period. The Hurricanes recorded an incredible 34 total shot attempts in the first 20 minutes, 21 of which made it through to Daccord. According to Natural Stat Trick, Carolina had the decisive edge in the shot quality battle early, generating 1.9 expected goals in the first period alone, mostly on the strength of seven high-danger opportunities.
Those chances started almost immediately after puck drop. Just 17 seconds into the game, Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook received a centering pass in the slot 10 feet from the goal and fired it on Daccord. But Daccord was ready to answer the bell, large and square at the top of the crease. (Shortly after, there was net-front traffic that led to a long-range wrister deflecting in on goal off Dunn’s body, but Dunn quickly swatted it away and saved a goal.) It’s easy to imagine the game going sideways if Seattle found itself in a 1-0 hole immediately—and to a team against which Seattle has struggled over the first two years.
The high-danger chances continued throughout the period. At 8:20 in the first, Martinook had another opportunity off a rebound directly in front of the net, but Daccord gave very little space for the Hurricanes to shoot.
Then, starting at 11:24, Daccord saw a flurry of chances from Seth Jarvis and Dimitri Orlov, but deftly navigated back and forth across the blue paint to turn each away.
And, finally, in the dying seconds of the period, Daccord had his biggest save of the night. It came just after Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored to give Seattle a 3-1 advantage. Had the Hurricanes gotten one back at that point, it would have sapped much of Seattle’s momentum going into the intermission. With respect to the save itself, frankly, we’re not sure how Daccord managed to extend on Martin Necas’s shot here. It was just a remarkably athletic play.
It wasn’t all perfect for Daccord. Hakstol said as much after the game, indicating Daccord would have some “learning opportunities” from the goals he allowed. The young netminder ended up conceding four in total, with three coming in the third period. Indeed, if you were just looking at the advanced statistics after the game, you might reach the conclusion Daccord had a mediocre outing, having conceded those four goals against on just 3.32 expected goals according to Natural Stat Trick. But, as is often said, the timing of a goaltender’s saves is critical. And on Thursday night Daccord kept a then-winless Kraken team in the game early. He allowed the skaters to find their scoring touch and build a lead they never relinquished. He was a star of the game in my book.
(PS: It’s much easier for me to write than it is for me to talk right now. I’m on the mend, though.)
Takeaway #3 (Darren): Tye Kartye is so back
After Tye Kartye made the Kraken roster out of training camp, he was scratched for opening night in Vegas, then seemed to be trying to find his footing for the next couple games, before really creating buzz with linemates Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Kailer Yamamoto Saturday against Colorado. Kartye took the next step Thursday, making himself noticeable every time he was on the ice in that fourth-line capacity.
But he became really noticeable in the third period, when Jaden Schwartz left the game (we believe it was the result of a shot block off his foot toward the end of the second period), elevating Kartye to the top line with Matty Beniers and Jordan Eberle.
“We went back to something that was familiar,” said Hakstol. “Karts has played a lot with Matty and with Ebs … He jumps in and stepped up into that role much like he did last year in the playoffs for us. He’s got a good presence about him. He plays the game the right way, and he went up there and did a good job when called upon.”
Kartye scored three goals in the playoffs last year, but he got his first official regular-season goal in the NHL just 21 seconds after Jared McCann had made it 5-3. Kartye’s goal came off a perfect pass into the crease by Beniers, and it gave the home faithful a huge sigh of relief.
“It feels really good, and obviously that we won too, and we got off the schneid a little bit there,” Kartye said. “It feels really good.”
Kartye didn’t stop there. The very dislikable Brendan Lemieux ran over a prone McCann, earning himself a penalty late in the game. We aren’t convinced the hit was intentional (though it was Lemieux, after all, in a game that had gotten away from Carolina), but Kartye—like a veteran—went right after Lemieux as soon as he got out of the box.
“It’s awesome,” said McCann. “He’s not known for that, right? But it’s a Soo boy sticking up for a Soo boy, so it’s nice.” (As a reminder, both players played their major junior hockey for the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL.)
And sure, Lemieux fed Kartye his lunch, but what a gutsy thing for a 22-year-old rookie to do. The legend of Tye Kartye continues to grow.
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