Welp… Wednesday’s 4-3 Kraken overtime loss to the Oilers had Nov. 6, 2021 vibes to it. If you’re not sure what happened on Nov. 6, 2021, that was the night when the Seattle Kraken—in their inaugural campaign—limped into Gila River Arena with their season veering in a miserable direction. They desperately needed a victory against a still winless Arizona team. The Kraken tied that game 4-4 with 1:18 left on a Mark Giordano shot from the point, but then they handed the game winner to Lawson Crouse just 13 seconds later.
That was arguably the lowest low point of 2021-22, a season filled with low points.
Wednesday’s game played out in a very different manner, and the Kraken did take a standings point. But with Seattle again badly needing a win, blowing a 3-1 lead late in the third is going to sting players, coaches, and fans alike.
“Giving up that second [goal] obviously gives them a little bit of juice and a little bit of momentum,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “It comes down to the tying goal. Our centerman gets bulldogged on that, so we’re not able to pressure that on the half wall, and that puts us a little bit in the soup down low. So it’s disappointing, no question, because of how hard our players worked.”
Here are our Three Takeaways from a painful 4-3 Kraken OT loss to the Oilers.
Takeaway #1: They had it
The Kraken played about 53 very good minutes of hockey on Wednesday. They didn’t score in the first period, but they had the better of the play and the looks, with 63 percent of the shot quality in the frame. Brandon Tanev even slid one behind Stuart Skinner, through the crease, and out the other side. The chances were there.
They conceded the first goal of the game when Adam Larsson tried to force a Leon Draisaitl turnover at the blue line, but Draisaitl made an elite play to get the puck to Connor McDavid. Forgetting about McDavid is generally not recommended and unsurprisingly resulted in a goal, but Seattle bounced back from the gaffe.
Jared McCann, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and Alex Wennberg each scored in that middle frame, and Seattle went to the dressing room in complete control after the second.
Things were still going fine for most of the third period, and the Oilers were even showing signs of frustration. But Evander Kane redirected an Evan Bouchard pass by Joey Daccord at 13:28, and suddenly Edmonton had life.
That thud you heard with 46 seconds left was the sound of every Kraken fan on the planet slumping to the ground when Kane scored again to tie it and send it to overtime. The whimpering you heard at 2:57 of the extra frame was Kraken fans gently weeping after Kane completed the hat trick to give Edmonton the win.
“We played a great road game for 56 minutes, and even in the last five, six minutes, I didn’t think we played poorly,” Daccord said. “They just found a way to score. It’s frustrating, but it is what it is. You know, at the end of the day, I think we probably deserved to win tonight, but it just didn’t go our way.”
It was a miserable, miserable night.
Takeaway #2: Another two-goal lead wasted
During Seattle’s road trip to Detroit, Carolina, Florida, and Tampa Bay earlier this season, the team blew two-goal leads in all four games but managed to come home with a 2-1-1 record. We talked to several players after that trip about why two-goal leads are so hard to keep, so give that a read if you’re perplexed.
We hoped it was just a phase this team was going through, but the two-goal struggle keeps rearing its ugly head, and it did so in the ugliest fashion Wednesday.
There is just something about that two-goal lead where the opponent finds one and then starts getting momentum. As the team that’s leading, you can’t help but sit back and try to play defense, and then all of a sudden, you’ve blown the lead.
Still, what’s been happening with this Kraken team this season isn’t normal. They have to start closing out games when they have the opportunity.
Takeaway #3: Where do they go from here?
When a team is struggling, we look for little positives that indicate it’s getting close to re-entering the win column. If this game hadn’t played out in the manner that it did, with the late tying goal and subsequent overtime loss, we would have been able to take a whole bunch of positives from it.
Here are a few positives we could have taken: Tanev has been awesome since his return from injury, and his line with Jaden Schwartz and Wennberg is clicking. Joey Daccord had another solid night in net. Wennberg scored his first goal of the season. McCann scored for the first time since Nov. 2, and we know he tends to score in bunches once he gets going.
Those could have been some positives to take away, but instead, we’re left feeling like this team will never win again. Of course, that’s an overreaction, but for as well as Seattle played for most of this game, there’s still a sense that it was yet another step in the wrong direction.
“Obviously, it’s a tough way to end it,” Wennberg said. “And there’s a lot of good things out there, but I mean we just can’t lose this game. This is one of those games you’ve just got to fight through and just find a way to win. But, unfortunately, we didn’t today.”
What the team needs to do is look at how it played for the first 53 minutes and—somehow, someway, for the love of Joey—figure out how to extend that effort for a full 60 minutes.
Sometimes, it’s good to not have much time to dwell on a painful loss, and the Kraken will need to quickly shake this off to get ready for a home tilt against the Islanders on Thursday.
The Kraken have lost three in a row and five of their last six. They need a win.