There’s no such thing as a normal team when it comes to Seattle sports — or even a normal game.
The Florida Panthers are the top team in the NHL and have been scoring a doozy of goals on their opponents. The Seattle Kraken are one of the league’s bottom feeders and have been going through a major scoring drought.
Logic dictates one outcome. Reality decided to say otherwise, because Seattle sports defy logic.
It’s probably safe to say the Kraken aren’t making the playoffs, but with half a season still left to go, the team isn’t going to just roll over and give up. There are still reasons for the Kraken to come out with the energy and drive that this game had. There’s a fanbase that still wants to watch the team win games. The players themselves don’t want to continuously lose. Players who want to stay with the Kraken into next season want to prove that they deserve to be re-signed or not traded away.
Taking on a goliath of a team such as the Panthers and beating them helps towards all those goals. It gives the players and the fans more to look forward to. Even if the Kraken don’t make the playoffs this year, it can build confidence to what next season can become.
I honestly blame the first goal against on myself. Yes, the Kraken have a very nasty habit of letting in a goal against within the first five minutes of play. It’s a predictable outcome. But I joked to my dad earlier when I told him I was writing the recap that I would be writing “Within the first five minutes, the Kraken were scored on,” and, well, here I am writing exactly that. Sorry, everyone, I’ll be more careful with my jokes next time.
It felt more like I had gone and jinxed it because the Kraken were actually playing well. The team had lots of energy right out of the gates. They were generating lots of pressure in the offensive zone in those first five minutes. The goal against felt more like a fluke than anything else.
It’s the kind of fluke that could have easily caused the team to fold in on itself. Yet, they didn’t. Even though the first period ended 1-0 (advantage Panthers), the Kraken continued to play strong hockey throughout. They were outshooting the Panthers consistently. It just felt like this could have been one of those games where a team just gets “goalie’d,” and with playing against Bobrovsky, they very well could have. Mostly, the process on ice felt sound, and I went into the first intermission feeling hopeful that the Kraken would figure the scoring out.
Oh, and the Kraken were playing this soundly after losing Soucy to injury. He would go down the tunnel this period and never come back to the game. Yikes.
This was when things really began to get fun. Marcus Johansson scored at 5:02, which made me breathe a sigh of relief considering it wasn’t that long before his goal that Jordan Eberle had gone and hit the post.
AYO IT'S JOJO! pic.twitter.com/7C22I2VCfI— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) January 24, 2022
If Jojo’s goal wasn’t enough to tell the Panthers they needed to get out, leave, right now, Yanni Gourde and Colin Blackwell wracked up the score to 3-1 within 17 seconds of each other. That’s the new franchise record for fastest consecutive goals scored, by the way.
Yanni’s goal was a beauty of a rocket from the right faceoff dot, one that managed to beat Bobrovsky because of the screen the Panthers players on the ice created.
we love us some yanni gourde! pic.twitter.com/Km3DYM7t9W— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) January 24, 2022
Blackwell’s goal was probably a bit inspired by his cousin, NWSL player Kristen McNabb (who was an OL Reign player, but then she got nabbed in an expansion draft of her own and will be playing for the San Diego Wave next season). It was a classic soccer goal as the puck bounced off his helmet and into the net. When Piper Shaw asked him what he was thinking as it bounced off him, he could only say “thank god” because of how bad the team’s scoring drought had been. Which, considering his over-excited celly, there’s no reason to doubt how much he knew the team needed that.
we're giving colin's celly a 10 out of 10 stars! ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/G0n7zovRSr— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) January 24, 2022
Of course, because this is a Kraken game, nothing is ever normal. It only took about 4 minutes for the game to tie back up to 3-3. Go figure. Way to kill all our excitement, Panthers.
Also, because Yanni Gourde is Yanni Gourde, the man decided it would be a fun time to get into a fight — with Radko Gudas of all people. Look, if you think Brandon Tanev throws a lot of hits? Gudas is at least a level above that. He’s a player that’s absolutely not afraid of getting physical. Gourde just loves getting into it with people above his weight class, though, so off he went. Love this little pot-stirrer.
Fighting Radko Gudas is not high on the list of things we would like to do to finish off the weekend.— Bally Sports Florida: Panthers (@BallyPanthers) January 24, 2022
But that could just be us. #TimeToHunt pic.twitter.com/9x1E3LQJ5R
If there was any fear that maybe the Kraken wouldn’t have anything left in the tank, Mason Appleton put those fears to rest as he scored 26 seconds in to open the third. Such a lovely change for the Kraken to score early into a period. Much more enjoyable than what they did in the first.
how do you like them apples! pic.twitter.com/1Gg12uvVKG— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) January 24, 2022
From there, it became a matter of Grubauer standing on his head, and that he did. The last two and a half minutes or so of play were especially crucial. The Panthers pulled Bobrovsky (and, again, nice to not be the team to pull the goalie) and were generating chance after chance after chance. Even with how good the Kraken had been playing throughout this game, it was hard not to feel your heart race with anxiety. The Panthers are still the best scoring team in the league. That’s a fact that wasn’t going to disappear even with having a lead. But shouts of “GRUUUUUUU” filled Climate Pledge Arena as he stopped every shot that came his way.
The final nail in the coffin came as Calle Järnkrok broke away down the ice and guided the puck all the way to the empty net.
Number one team in the league? Not a problem for the Seattle Kraken.
Next game: Seattle Kraken vs Nashville Predators at Climate Pledge Arena. Puck drop 7:00 pm PT / 10:00 pm ET.