The Kraken have now lost 9 games in a row. They haven’t won since before Christmas. They’re averaging a dismal 2.1 goals per game and allowing over 4 goals per game, though those have been peppered with empty netters allowed. It’s been the worst stretch of the year by far for Seattle. It sucks! I want it to not suck, but it does. Having a hockey team is neat and fun and also painful and miserable. That’s sports for you.
On the bright side, the Kraken have an all-new pregame presentation headlined by a giant Kraken tentacle bursting through the ice surface as the players head out from the locker room. It’s legitimately awesome to see.
Do not fear the strong winds or angry seas nor the stormy skies you see above.— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) January 16, 2022
Fear the creature that dwells in the deep - the ice shackled Kraken. pic.twitter.com/EDMG0tEPa6
That was easily the best thing to see from this game, and if you want to stop reading the recap right here I’ll understand.
This game had about an eventful a start as you’d expect from teams ranked 3rd and 8th in shots allowed per game. That is, not a lot happened. Seattle and Los Angeles each managed just 5 shots on goal through 20 minutes of play.
There weren’t too many dangerous chances, but the few that did happen went in favor of the Kings. And sure enough, it was the Kings that would score the only goal of the period. Driedger made the initial save on a shot from Anze Kopitar, but he left quite the juicy rebound for Adrian Kempe, who was able to corral the puck with his skate before tapping it in the wide open cage.
This one was much more eventful, as second periods tend to be. Seattle began the period with about a minute of a Colin Blackwell tripping penalty to kill off, which they did successfully. But again, 4 minutes into this frame, it was the Kings finding the back of the net on another rebound. This time Driedger made the initial save and got a pad on the rebound attempt, but Phillip Danault managed to tap in the second rebound to give the Kings a 2-0 lead. You’d like to see the defense do a better job of clearing the puck here, letting the Kings bang away at the puck as many times as they’d like is a recipe for disaster.
Late on the Kraken got their own power play opportunity, and they made it count. Matt Roy got a good piece of Yanni Gourde with a high stick and got dinged with a double minor — well deserved for anyone who dare touch our Yanni. Seattle didn’t get much going through the first half of the power play, but did finally get set up on the back half and finally snuck one past Cal Peterson.
NHL Video Highlight - After a missed shot from Mark Giordano, Marcus Johansson alone in front of the net tips one in over Cal Peterson's glove on the power-play. pic.twitter.com/1Ip0aQyz3S— Seattle Kraken Gamebot (@KrakenGameBot) January 16, 2022
By the end of this period, the Kings actually outshot the Kraken 13-7 — but the Kraken had a large edge in expected goals, 1.6-1.0 per Natural Stat Trick. The big difference here came from the fact that the Kings got 13 of their 15 unblocked shots on net, while Seattle missed the net (or hit the post) on half of their 14 unblocked shots. “Shoot to score” is one thing, but eventually you gotta get something inside the 4 by 6 in order to score.
The third period was much more similar to the first — not a ton of action. Seattle got a few chances late but Cal Peterson played a heck of a game. Seattle was gifted a power play in the final minutes when Drew Doughty got his stick up high on Mason Appleton, but it didn’t make a shred of difference. Seattle didn’t manage a single shot attempt on the power play, trailing by one, with under 4 minutes left in the game. It was a dismal end to a bummer of a game. Let’s never play the Kings again.
Oh, and Los Angeles also put away an empty netter for good measure to make the final score 3-1. And if you’re frustrated at allowing all these empty net goals, know that the key to avoiding them isn’t to simply stop pulling the goalie — it’s to actually have a lead (or just be tied! I would take tied!) in the final minutes of a game rather than be trailing all the time.
Seattle will again attempt to break the slump against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, back in Climate Pledge Arena. This time they’re going to do it, I tell you.