The Kraken welcomed two new owners into Climate Pledge Arena on Monday night and delivered a victory. Seahawks legend Marshawn Lynch and rapper Macklemore were in attendance for the 4-2 victory over the visiting Ottawa Senators. Aside from a shaky second period start, Seattle looked like the better team for the entire game.
Matty B continues to shine
Look, I know we talk about him a lot, but there’s really good reason for that. The front office (and the fans, for that matter) hope that Matty Beniers is the future star of the Seattle Kraken. And through three games, he’s looked every bit as good as we could’ve hoped for. Beniers scored the second goal of his career on Monday and registered a point in all three of his career games thus far. He’s averaging over 18 minutes of ice time per night and getting minutes on the top power play unit. His goal on Monday benefitted from a fortunate bounce, but sometimes they say you make your own luck and that’s what I’m choosing to believe about this one.
Beniers’ offensive ability has been the breath of fresh air this Kraken offense sorely needed to see this season, but his defensive ability has been as advertised as well. He’s constantly moving in his own zone, and when he gets the puck away from an opponent — a not uncommon occurrence — he looks calm, cool, and collected with it on his stick. At this point, I don’t think one can actually be too excited about what he’s going to do next year.
Right as Rask
Victor Rask was one of the few additions the Kraken made at the trade deadline. The Minnesota Wild sent him to Seattle for nothing more than “future considerations.” The 29-year old veteran just didn’t have a place in the Wild’s NHL lineup, so it appeared to be a simple good gesture to get him to a team where he could still play NHL minutes. Ron Francis, of course, has to have a soft spot for the forward whom he drafted in the 2nd round back in 2011.
On Monday, Rask had his best game yet as a member of the Seattle Kraken. He notched a goal and an assist, and nearly had himself a second goal late in the third that would’ve sealed the Kraken’s win well before Ottawa emptied their net. The goal he did actually score came on the rush, with a beautiful and decisive finish that the Kraken haven’t always had this season.
ready to rask it all for this goal pic.twitter.com/Kjo7pG3drk— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) April 19, 2022
Rask’s assist came in the first period, when he found Daniel Sprong across the slot on the power play. Sprong didn’t get a ton behind his shot (a new sight to see) but the pass got there so quickly that goaltender Anton Forsberg never had a chance to get there in time.
Rask is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, and probably won’t have a huge market for his services. He cleared waivers when the Wild sent him down to the AHL in January, meaning every team had a chance to add him to their roster and declined to do so. But he’s still got enough talent to be in the big leagues. If he continues to see success in Seattle, I wouldn’t rule out a return to the club next season. He could be next year’s Marcus Johansson — a capable depth piece that can fill in on the top-6 as needed over the course of the long season.
Adam Larsson is good
Not exactly a hot take, I know, but Adam Larsson had himself a great game against the Senators. This one got more and more physical throughout, and the 6’3” defender was the at the center of that physicality on more than one occasion. He led the team with 4 hits credited to his name.
Seattle held the Senators to just 14 shots on goal, the lowest total allowed all season, and Larsson was a big part of that defense. He played more than 22 minutes and blocked a team-high 4 shots to go along with his 4 hits. It wasn’t just his defense that stood out in this one either, as he also tallied two primary assists on the night. The first came on the Matty Beniers deflection seen above, and the second was a perfect high-arching pass to a wide-open Jared McCann that led to the empty net dagger in the final minute. He showed impressive awareness in holding onto that puck in the corner behind his own net, recognizing that he had time to find a teammate rather than simply firing the puck up the boards to clear the zone. He didn’t get to yeet any fish, but he was rewarded by his teammates with something even more precious at the end of the night.
The Big Cat in the Davy Jones Hat! pic.twitter.com/cO4vIjUUBJ— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) April 19, 2022
- Karson Kuhlman had a goal stolen from him by a challenge. It turns out Yanni Gourde played the puck with a high stick seconds before, and the play should’ve been blown dead. The NHL needs to step in and make a rule change that states referees cannot overturn a goal if it was rad as hell, like this one was.
- Chris Driedger picked a great night to be a little off his game. He let in two goals on 14 shots, the first of which he kind of tucked in himself. But honestly, it’s about time the defense bailed out the goaltending.
- Will Borgen was noticeable in this one more than once too — in a good way. He jumped up looking to help the offense without leaving his defense partner hung out to dry. He led the team in expected goals for percentage with a 66.2% mark in 14 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time.
- The Kraken have never lost in the Marshawn Lynch ownership era