The Kraken dropped their second straight game on Thursday night, falling to the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 5-3. It was a game that started unusually well for Seattle, as they jumped out to an early 2-goal lead (with help from the power play too!) but couldn’t quite hang on for the full 60 minutes. More importantly though, it was also a historic night for the NHL, thanks to the Kraken’s own Everett Fitzhugh and JT Brown.
This marked the first time there has ever been an all-Black broadcast duo in the league’s history. It’s pretty amazing to see these two guys, who have been nothing but stellar since arriving in Seattle, get a chance to break down this boundary. I only wish we didn’t have to wait until 2022 for this to have happened.
Fitz absolutely crushed his first NHL TV broadcast too, in case you were wondering.
Seattle got a chance early on to establish some momentum in this one with a power play inside the first two minutes of the game. Logan Stanley sent Jared McCann into the boards from an awkward distance, drawing a boarding penalty and becoming my mortal enemy in the process for endangering our perfect goal scorer. It took nearly the full two minutes, but the power play managed to come through for technically the second straight time, going back to Monday’s game against the Leafs. It was the “second” unit that scored, though at this point I’d argue that a line of Jared McCann, Yanni Gourde, Ryan Donato, and Mason Appleton with Vince Dunn at the point should be the top unit but I digress.
The Kraken clamped things down after the goal too, refusing to allow a response goal from the Jets after taking an early lead this time. Jordan Eberle took a holding penalty but the Kraken penalty kill did its job and kept this a 1-0 game, until Marcus Johansson showed off his skating ability and extended the lead to 2-0.
This was just an incredibly confident play from the veteran forward, taking advantage of a very good player in Mark Scheifele who is, as you might guess from this clip, not exactly renowned for his defense.
All was going swimmingly through 19 and a half minutes in this one. Then Seattle got a second power play opportunity after Joonas Donskoi took a stick up high, and had a chance to take total control over this game if they could extend the lead to three goals.
It did not happen.
The power play giveth and the power play taketh away, I suppose. Once again, I am asking head coach Dave Hakstol to reconsider which is his top power play unit and which is his secondary unit.
Winnipeg rode the high of a shorthanded goal through the intermission and came out strong to start the second period. Jordan Eberle got a little too fancy with a drop pass in his own zone, and a few seconds later Pierre-Luc Dubois fired one through the glove arm of Philipp Grubauer for his 21st goal of the year.
That wasn’t the only tough defensive zone turnover of the period for Seattle, unfortunately. 10 minutes after this one, Jamie Oleksiak gave the puck away circling his own net, and the team somehow forgot to keep a man on Blake Wheeler in the slot. A quick pass from Paul Stastny and a nice finish from Wheeler and just like that the Jets took their first lead of the game.
Things got a little testy towards the end of this period, when Yanni Gourde (who else, am I right) gave Scheifele a shove in the back at a dangerous distance from the boards. There was a bit of a ruckus, but in the end only offsetting roughing calls for Gourde and Scheifele with an extra two for boarding for Gourde were called. Seattle did manage to kill off this penalty, and in fact ended the night a perfect 3-for-3 on the PK.
Jordan Eberle, after a frankly brutal December and January which saw him score exactly one goal, seems to be finding his scoring ability once again. He tied this one up seven minutes into the third period after a pretty feed from Johnasson. That’s Eberle’s second goal in the last three games — let’s hope that means he’s at the start of another hot streak.
Johansson had himself a really great game, finishing with a goal and an assist. He continues to establish himself as the man that can fill in for Jaden Schwartz while Schwartz rehabs from injury, and if he can keep up his solid play when Schwartz gets back he could make the middle-six forward group all that more dangerous later this season.
It seemed as though this one was destined for overtime, but the Jets — on the second half of a back-to-back — decided they were tired and needed to end it in regulation. The Jets generated an opportunity on the rush, and both Kraken defensemen got caught covering Kristian Reichel, which allowed Josh Morrissey to get wide open across the slot. Some quick passing and a one-timer later and Winnipeg took a 4-3 lead and the win on home ice. Kyle Connor added the empty net tally with half a second to play (rude) to make the final score 5-3.
The Kraken are back in action on Saturday night against the Flames, as Mark Giordano makes his first return trip to the team he called his own for 15 years. Let’s hope the Kraken can grab a couple points on this little 3-game road trip before coming back to Seattle next week.