Good morning from Vancouver, where the Seattle Kraken defeated the Canucks 4-3 for a massive two points on Saturday.
We’ve heard Seattle’s players and head coach talking about the need to find a full 60-minute effort, and they got that from everybody in the lineup, resulting in a signature win for this team.
Author’s note: This edition of Three Takeaways will be quicker than usual because I have limited time this morning and woke up too late to do a more in-depth version. Forgive me.
Let’s get to it!
Takeaway #1: Exactly the type of goal we were talking about
On the last full Sound Of Hockey Podcast episode (Episode 261), we discussed the many things we thought had been plaguing the Kraken through the early stages of the season.
One of the things I identified is that we haven’t seen many of those plays off the rush where a Kraken forward either pulls up and finds a trailer or goes cross-ice to the player on the opposite wing and that guy finds the trailer for a prime opportunity from the slot.
With Vancouver leading 1-0 after a squeaky J.T. Miller goal that barely crossed the line, Jamie Oleksiak got the Kraken on the board with the type of play I was talking about on that episode.
In this case, Jordan Eberle passed to Oleksiak at Seattle’s blue line, and the Kraken transitioned to offense quickly. The Big Rig sent a quick-up pass to Matty Beniers who rushed up the boards. Seattle did not have a numerical advantage on this play, as Beniers, Eberle, and Jared McCann faced three retreating Canucks defenders.
But Matty slammed on the breaks and found Oleksiak coming over the line. Oleksiak took a big rip at it and launched it over Thatcher Demko’s shoulder.
This play works, and it is a huge way Seattle generated offense at five-on-five last season. More of this, please!
Takeaway #2: Eberle and Beniers came alive
This was an important night for Eberle and Beniers, who have both been snakebitten for most of the season. They showed real chemistry and got rewarded for their creativity and hard work.
Beniers set up the goal we talked about in Takeaway #1, and Eberle had the second assist. Then Eberle got a fortunate bounce one second after a power play had ended after a high Oliver Bjorkstrand shot bounced off the shaft of his stick, got lost in Demko’s equipment, and eventually trickled over the line.
“Sometimes it’s nice to get some bounces,” Eberle said.
Eberle’s best play proved to be the eventual game winner at 6:48 of the third period. After a puck got tipped deep into Vancouver’s zone, he sprinted in on the forecheck and stripped Tyler Myers. Then in one fell swoop, he swung around and found Beniers streaking down the slot.
Beniers was in a prime scoring position, but he still needed to perfectly place the shot, and he did that, beating Demko to the stick side.
Getting these two players going offensively could be massive for the Kraken.
Takeaway #3: Are the Kraken starting to cook?
If you still had a bad taste in your mouth from Seattle’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Oilers on Wednesday, this game provided the cap of Listerine you needed.
The reality of that loss in Edmonton is that the Kraken played really well for 53 minutes that night, before completely blowing it and only getting one point. But mix that with a hard-fought shootout win the following night over the Islanders and now this very complete effort in Vancouver, and it seems this team could be finding itself.
The Kraken have earned five points out of a possible six in their past three games and have gone 5-3-2 in their past 10. We aren’t ready to say the Kraken are back to last season’s level and are firing on all cylinders, but we’re seeing some very positive signs.
This next week of home games is critical. Seattle will face a mediocre Flames team Monday, a terrible Sharks team on Wednesday, and this same good Vancouver team on Black Friday.
Take care of business.