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Kraken @ Islanders RECAP: Back to form on Long Island

Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Roll the Highlight Reel!

Game Notes

  • Tonight was the kind of performance the Kraken so badly needed. As I discussed in my preview piece, the Islanders are playing below expectation, but it also isn’t like they’re a bottom-feeding team either. Being able to jump right out of the gate in this game and give the Islanders some fits (especially before going into Boston on Thursday) is enormous to righting the ship and getting the Kraken back on track.
  • I’m going to be talking about Matty Beniers’ goal for a long time. When Beniers first went down against the boards, I honestly wasn’t sure if he was going to be okay. It looked bad through the broadcast, and the camera panning away from the offensive zone as the play moved across ice didn’t help in determining the extent of how injured he could’ve been. Seeing him bounce back up and snipe McCann’s long up-ice pass was the kind of moment that makes hockey so good. When the game gets physical, how do you respond? Beniers responded by saying (quite literally these words post-game) “I saw the opportunity and said ‘Ahhh, I’m not that hurt!'” A goal on the scoresheet will always be the best revenge.
  • Though, maybe a little antagonism helps in revenge. As highlighted on the ROOT Sports post-game show, a major key to Beniers being able to score that goal is that Jordan Eberle got Ryan Pulock out of position. How did he do that? It wasn’t a fight—or even enough of an altercation to be considered roughing—but Eberle did take him on 1-on-1 immediately after the goal. In doing so, this left the lane wide open for Beniers. Can Eberle get an assist on this goal, too?
  • The most impressive stretch of the game came when the Kraken hemmed the Islanders into their zone for over three minutes without allowing the Islanders’ defenders to come off the ice. In that span, the Kraken were able to complete three line changes, keeping the attack constantly fresh. It was a sight for sore eyes to see Seattle on the attack so heavily when this kind of pressure has been lacking all road trip. Though, it was hard not to feel as well that it was a missed opportunity to not capitalize and score there. Thankfully the Kraken won the game and the lack of scoring didn’t come back to bite them in the butt.
  • The Kraken did start to run out of steam in the third period, but the major saving grace for the Kraken was that the Islanders weren’t really capitalizing much on that opportunity. While their Expected Goals For Percentage (xGF%) went from a high of 73.21% at 5-on-5 during the second period down to 60.53% at 5-on-5, they still had the upper hand against the Islanders (numbers from Natural Stat Trick). This helped allow them to prevent a last-minute comeback that the Islanders of old were definitely known to do.

Let’s Give a Hand To…

  • Philipp Grubauer: If I had watched this game with no context, I don’t think I would’ve correctly guessed that this performance came from a goaltender who hadn’t played since December 9. Giving up his only goal of the night on a power play and blanking all three attempts in the shootout is impressive work. It’s only one game, but if Grubauer can keep up this form, then the Kraken won’t need to over rely on Joey Daccord to provide them wins down this stretch.
  • Matty Beniers: Read my thoughts on his goal again. That’s all you need here.
  • Tomáš Tatar: When the Kraken have only had one other shootout win all season (coincidentally, also against the Islanders), it’s time to praise the scorer that helped get you that second shootout win. Ron Francis truly struck gold with this trade.

Three Stars of the Game

⭐ Philipp Grubauer (.963 SV%)
⭐⭐ Matty Beniers (1G)
⭐⭐⭐ Ilya Sorokin (.967 SV%)

Here’s tonight’s Natural Stat Trick heat map (5-on-5 data). Look at all that net-front blue. What a sight to behold…

Next up is for the Kraken to build upon what they did on Long Island as they face the top team in the Eastern Conference. No pressure at all!

Keep Calm, and Post Zoidberg When We Win.

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