The Kraken went down to Dallas to take on the Stars on Wednesday evening and it did not go well. A bad opening period was enough to sink them this time, despite a good effort in the latter two thirds of the game.
Philipp Grubauer got the nod again after starting earlier in the week against the Avalanche. He made some decent saves in this one, but the first period was quite on par with what we’ve seen this season. The Stars took the lead less than a minute in, something Kraken fans are all too familiar with. This time it took an unfortunate bounce off of Mark Giordano’s skate, which seems as unlucky as anything else, if that makes you feel any better. (Personally it might make me feel worse?)
Seattle has had a real problem allowing this early goal all year. It feels like it hasn’t been as bad recently, but perhaps that’s just the fact that they’ve only played in 5 games in the last 25 days. I talked about how allowing an early goal really is a Kraken-specific problem earlier this season by comparing team survival curves — a curve depicting the likelihood of a team carrying a shutout through any given timeframe in a game — and the Kraken’s survival curve is still far below league average.
Fortunately Seattle erased this early goal pretty quickly with their first power play attempt. Much like last game, some crisp passing set up a pretty goal with the man advantage, this time with Calle Järnkrok potting the goal.
NHL Video Highlight - Calle Jarnkrok scores a power-play goal against the Dallas Stars to make it 1-1. pic.twitter.com/tamq5uB54R— Seattle Kraken Gamebot (@KrakenGameBot) January 13, 2022
The Kraken power play has been working well recently. If you’re looking for positives over this losing streak, that’s where I’d start. They’ve now scored a power play goal in 6 of their last 9 games. It’s not the best power play in the league by any means, but the puck movement ahead of these goals has been much improved over the frequent missed passes we saw at the start of the year.
The tie didn’t last long however. Dallas took the lead back with a rebound goal by Joe Pavelski halfway through the period, and in the two minutes immediately following the goal the Kraken took two penalties — Adam Larsson for delay of game and Carson Soucy for hooking — leaving the team to defend a 5-on-3 power play for over a minute without two of their defensemen. Needless to say, it didn’t go great. Jason Robertson gave the Stars a 3-1 lead with 7 minutes to go in the period. Luckily the bleeding stopped there and the Kraken escaped the first without any more damage.
The final two frames went far better for the Kraken. They woke up early, starting with another goal for Jared McCann — he’s now got 15 on the year.
McCann is a restricted free agent at the end of this season, and it’s becoming more and more apparent that the Kraken cannot afford to let him leave. Per Dom Luszczyszyn’s model, McCann’s play has him projected to make about $7.6 million next season.
Other teams may come calling, but for a team like Seattle that’s had as much trouble scoring as they have, you really can’t let a guy who can shoot like McCann out of your grasp.
The Kraken put a lot of pressure on goaltender Jake Oettinger for the remainder of this game, but nothing fell through after the McCann goal early in the 2nd period. Despite controlling 60% of the expected goals in the final two periods, they couldn’t outscore the Stars. The Stars put the final nail in the coffin with an empty net goal with 90 seconds to go, and the losing streak has now ticked up to a season-high 7 games.
Seattle gets their next chance to break the streak with a quick turnaround to another road game on Thursday night, this time against the St. Louis Blues. I have already convinced myself they’re going to win it — how about you?