Welp, that was one of those losses that stung a bit for Kraken fans. Seattle had the lead for most of the game against the Hurricanes, but then bent, bent… bent some more, and finally broke in the last few minutes of the game, before losing 3-2 in overtime.
If you just look at it statistically, getting a point out of that one should be a nice consolation. Seattle was outshot 45-25, and Carolina had 63 percent of the shot quality in the game. Still, the game script playing out in that manner left a bitter taste.
“[Carolina] played exactly the way we thought they would,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “They generate zone time, they generate shots on goal, but we didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes other than some of the pressure plays that stayed in our zone… Obviously, we made the big mistake on the tying goal.”
Here are our Three Takeaways from a smarting 3-2 Kraken overtime loss to the Hurricanes.
Takeaway #1 (Darren): One big, costly mistake
The mistake Hakstol was referencing came from Seattle’s top forward line of Matty Beniers, Jordan Eberle, and Tye Kartye, deep in the third period. The Kraken were nursing an ever-so-tenuous 2-1 lead with under five minutes to play, and they had been bunkered in their zone for most of the period at that point.
There seemed to be an offensive opportunity brewing, so Adam Larsson jumped into a four-on-four rush with the three aforementioned forwards. Hurricanes defenseman Brady Skjei made a diving play to break up an Eberle pass, and Carolina transitioned quickly.
“Our eyes got a little bit too big there, trying to do a little too much offensively,” Hakstol said. “We ended up with four guys probably below the tops of the circles.”
Beniers and Larsson sprinted to get back in the play defensively, and for a fleeting moment, it seemed Seattle had plenty of numbers back, as the Hurricanes broke in two against three. But the players that were following up the rush—Michael Bunting and Jesperi Kotkaniemi—were left completely unmarked by Eberle and Kartye, who both uncharacteristically stopped skating. Martin Necas spun and passed to Kotkaniemi, and Joey Daccord was hung out to dry.
To Seattle’s credit, the team didn’t let Kotkaniemi’s goal at 15:36 of the third period sink the ship completely. The Kraken got the game to overtime, where they again showed patience and control and earned several good looks. But the ’Canes got the last laugh when Necas fired a shot around a screen to beat Daccord.
Sometimes, all it takes is one little screwup.
Takeaway #2 (Darren): Joey’s big night spoiled
We aren’t giving him a full takeaway, but we need to call out Devin Shore for his stunning demonstration of hand-eye coordination to corral a waist-high stretch pass from Oliver Bjorkstrand and an impressive finish on the breakaway for his first goal as a Kraken.
We are, however, giving a full takeaway to netminder Joey Daccord, who was fantastic and frankly deserved a win on this night. Daccord made 42 saves on 45 shots, setting a franchise record for most saves in a game. And while—as John will point out—most of his saves came on shots from the outside, Daccord looked very much in control throughout, gloving down seemingly every shot from distance with no rebound.
“It’s a frustrating loss, being up late in the game and ending up losing in overtime,” Daccord said. “But I think we’re still early on in the year, and I think we can keep building on this.”
The only regulation goals allowed by Daccord came after big booboos by his mates in front of him, including Brian Dumoulin catching an edge and coughing up the puck in a dangerous spot in the first period, and two players being left completely alone in the third.
Daccord is now 2-0-2 and has been in net for every standings point the Kraken have earned so far this season.
Takeaway #3 (John): Limiting shot quality
For as well as Daccord played in this game, the skaters did a great job at keeping most of the shots to the perimeter throughout the game. Only 29.6 percent of the Hurricanes’ shots were considered “high” or “medium” danger.
The Hurricanes managed to muster 45 shots on net, which was good enough for a season high, but their 29.6 percent medium- and high-danger percentage was a season low.
Hakstol called out in his post-game presser that the team really only made the one glaring mistake late in the third, and we would agree with that sentiment. Many of the shots Daccord faced came from the point without traffic in front. The Kraken will take those shots against all day, and that’s exactly what happened Thursday.
Stifling shot quality has been a steady theme for the Kraken in his young 2023-24 NHL season. If they can get some more consistency in the scoring category, and it looks like that is starting to come, they could be heading toward a solid run.