Everyone loves lists right? Especially around this time of year. It’s with that in mind that we present you with the Seattle Kraken’s top three wins of the 2021-22 National Hockey League season, which also happens to be their inaugural one, for any who haven’t been keeping track. I’m going to stick with actual wins here, not “wins” like Brandon Tanev’s team picture and all its associated meme-ery or the fact that we aren’t the Vancouver Canucks.
First Win is Best Win
Let’s not forget that things didn’t start so smoothly. A long road trip to start the year, a season-opening loss to the other recent expansion team, namely the Vegas Golden Knights, who set a ridiculous standard for a new team’s first year. Kraken fans were hyped, and ready to celebrate a victory and that’s just what they got to do when the team visited Smashville for their second game ever.
The game was a back-and-forth affair, with the Kraken down early after the Nashville Predators scored on their first shot. The visiting club stormed back, scoring the first and second power play markers in team history, and earning their first ever lead in the process. Nashville tied it up in the second, but the Kraken were back out in front by the end of the period.
Tanev scored an empty net goal (again, the team’s first) which turned out to be the game winner (first), as Nashville found the back of the net to get within a goal while their goalie was pulled. The 4-3 lead held, and Kraken fans and players alike went wild.
Home Sweet Home
Much like the first win back in Nashville, it took two tries for the Kraken to get their first home victory. Losing to the Canucks three nights earlier was painful, as that match-up is expected to be the team’s principle rivalry in the years to come, but against the Montreal Canadiens any sad feelings evaporated the moment Jordan Eberle scored his first as a Kraken.
NHL Video Highlight - The Kraken break into the zone, carve up the Canadiens, defense, and Jordan Eberle does the rest. pic.twitter.com/rgJGUNDBBo— Seattle Kraken Gamebot (@KrakenGameBot) October 27, 2021
The Canadiens came into town as the runners up in last year’s Stanley Cup Final — and while luck and incredible goaltending had a lot to do with that playoff run, they were still the favorites at puck drop. Through one period things were tight, Seattle holding a 2-1 lead thanks to Tanev (who else) once again. On that note, we wish him a speedy recovery from a season-ending ACL injury.
After the first intermission it was all Seattle, all night. The Kraken potted three more goals, handily defeating the Canadiens, to the delight of the home crowd. True, the Canadiens lost a number of key pieces over the offseason. And it’s also true that instead of Carey Price, the Habs’ MVP goaltender, a lesser netminder in Jake Allen, got the start. It’s all true, and none of it matters. It goes down as the club’s first home win, and it announced, in the clearest of terms, that teams cannot sleep on the Seattle Kraken.
Divisional Rivals and Superstars Galore
There will be plenty of debate on my third choice here, namely December 3rd’s victory over the Edmonton Oilers. There are certainly other candidates, but this win somehow felt more important. Connor McDavid’s Oiler club had already handed Seattle a loss in their first matchup back in Edmonton a month prior, and despite a dip of their own, were expected to dominate. But the Kraken had other ideas.
Yanni Gourde got the ball rolling, scoring just 49 seconds in. Following a Leon Draisaitl power play marker, former Oiler Adam Larsson the lead back with a nice play, potting the 2-1 goal after a slick move as he entered the slot. Entering the intermission, Seattle held the lead, but Edmonton wasn’t going away that easily.
Young Oiler d-man Evan Bouchard put one past Philip Grubauer, bringing the score even once again, but only for five minutes. Colin Blackwell scored, for only the second time this season, but that has been the story when the Kraken win. For a team without a superstar, it takes every oar rowing in the same direction. Alex Wennberg’s insurance marker provided further evidence on that front.
As could only be expected, McDavid made it a close one, scoring half-way through the 3rd, and threatening to tie the game more than once, but some stellar play by Vince Dunn and the rest of the Kraken defensive corps kept Seattle ahead, and the team saluted the home crowd at center ice after the final whistle. The victory was one of only two to date in the month of December, prior to the interruption caused by multiple Covid outbreaks. But like the November wins over Washington, Carolina and Florida, it reinforced the lesson from the win over Montreal. The Kraken are for real, and nobody gets an easy two points when they come to town.
The team isn’t going to win the Stanley Cup. Even a playoff berth is a long shot, as the Kraken sit well back of the eighth place position they’d require to make the postseason. But these victories, true victories rather than the moral kind, make the losing skids bearable, and give hope for the future. Seattle has a National Hockey League franchise, and things are looking up.