The Kraken took down the New York Islanders in their home arena on Wednesday night and made history in the process: Philipp Grubauer finished the first shutout in franchise history! There was a slow start to this one, but by the end there was nothing to do but smile for Kraken fans, as they put a bow on the first half of the season with a nice 3-0 victory in New York.
Honestly, there wasn’t much that happened in the first period. This was The Game That Was Promised between two of the most defensive-minded teams in the NHL, both of whom were playing in the second half of a back-to-back. Seattle led in the shot department 11-5, but most of their chances were limited to shots from the perimeter. As such, the expected goals for the two teams were nearly even, per Natural Stat Trick.
The teams also combined for 6 icing calls, which prompted JT Brown and John Forslund to ponder what the record for icing calls in an NHL game is. Anyway, that was the kind of period we started with. We did at least get a good shot of Jordan Eberle getting emotional during the Islanders’ tribute video during one stoppage.
The Kraken got an early power play in the second period when Mathew Barzal got called for hooking. The Kraken power play has...not been great recently. Special teams in general, really. They moved the puck well this time and held it in the offensive zone for quite a while, but never really had a good look at the net. They managed 4 shots — two were blocked, one went wide, and one made it on net.
Speaking of special teams, Vince Dunn took a penalty of his own at the end of this power play, but Seattle held tight and only allowed one shot on net themselves while killing the penalty. And more importantly, that was the only penalty they took all night! That’s the kind of improvement we can all get behind.
We were about five minutes into this period when my spouse turned to me and said, “This game is going to go into overtime 0-0 isn’t it.” A minute later, Jared McCann proved that to be incorrect when he tallied his 19th goal of the season, tying his career high.
Another look at the goal.— Alison (@AlisonL) February 3, 2022
Not in video, but key work from Johansson leads to possession and my oh my does Eberle love that below the goal line connection to McCann #SeaKraken pic.twitter.com/yjYXv05vte
That’s just a great forecheck by the top line, and of course Eberle gets in on the first goal scored against his former team. McCann McCan’t be stopped this season either, and should reach 30 goals by the end of this year now.
Less than three minutes later, the Kraken extended their lead to 2-0 with an absolute beauty of a goal from Vince Dunn.
Dunn’s offensive skill has been a highlight for Seattle this season. While I understood the allure of Vladimir Tarasenko during the expansion draft, I am absolutely not mad about the pick being Dunn instead.
The Islanders responded with some urgency after the second goal, but Philipp Grubauer was on his A-game and refused to let in a quick response goal. He wasn’t tested a ton in this contest, only facing 19 shots and 1.5 expected goals, but he made every single save and earned the first shutout in Seattle Kraken history.
Tonight was one for the history books! pic.twitter.com/mD1HqQGjih— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) February 3, 2022
Mason Appleton added the third goal with an empty netter with a second left on the clock, and that’s all she wrote for this one. Seattle now enters the All-Star break with 5 wins in their last 10 games. That’s a much more comfortable start to a break than we might’ve expected earlier in the season. The team is only getting better as time goes on, and they’ve also managed to get some monkeys off their back before the break. Grubauer got the first shutout knocked out just a day after Joonas Donskoi finally broke the seal and got his first goal of the year. There’s nothing to do for this week except sit back, relax, and watch our boy Jordan Eberle go crush it at the All-Star game.
The Kraken next hit the ice on February 9th against the Arizona Coyotes. The All-Star skills competition will be this Friday, and the game will be on Saturday the 5th.