Special teams especially costly in 3-2 loss to Bruins

“The Seattle Kraken look like a much better team lately. The nine-game losing streak is well behind them, and the team looks competitive, especially at even strength. Unfortunately there’s still several minutes per game that’s spent not at even strength, and that’s been the bane of the Kraken for much of the year.” –Dan Morse, January 30, 2022

This was written after the Rangers game on Sunday. Usually game recaps aren’t known for being prophetic. Usually.

On a day when some Boston fans were feeling weird because Tom Brady seemed to have forgotten they existed, they were treated to their first-ever meeting against the Kraken and witnessed those beautiful away white jerseys up close and in-person in a 3-2 Bruins win.

The lineup changes

Will Borgen was designated out due to COVID, providing an opportunity for Cale Fleury, Haydn’s brother.

Calle Järnkrok was back, and in net returned Chris Driedger, playing his first game since January 15th, having missed time due to COVID and injuries.

First Period: The Goalie Show

The game started off with the feelgood moment of Cale Fleury making his Kraken debut tonight on the ice with his brother.

Chris Driedger was tested early, and unlike so many Kraken games in the first part of the season, the goaltending did not bury the Kraken in the first few minutes. Driedger was fully-engaged and was seeing the puck well, making three absolutely fantastic saves in the span of a minute.

The Kraken were awarded a power play for tripping. They did not score.

The Kraken were awarded another power play for tripping. They did not score.

And at the end of one, the game remained scoreless.

Second Period: Reflections of Passion

The second period got rough when Yanni Gourde was called for boarding Urho Vaakanainen, initially assessed a five-minute major penalty, but was reduced to a two-minute boarding penalty upon review when it was evidence Gourde did not hit Vaakanainen’s head.

After the penalty expired, the Bruins decided they weren’t done with Gourde. There was quite the kerfuffle on his next shift, resulting in five players penalized: 3 for Boston, 2 for Seattle.

The Kraken were awarded a power play for roughing. They did not score.

The Bruins went on the power play with Marcus Johansson ostensibly called for tripping [Editor’s note: Johansson is INNOCENT], and David Pastrnak’s shot deflected off Joonas Donskoi into the net and the power play was over just 17 seconds after it began. Since Donskoi plays for Seattle and not Boston, he was not credited with a goal.

The Kraken were awarded a power play for interference. They did not score.

The Kraken were awarded a power play for delay of game. They did not score.

Then Riley Sheahan turned the puck over, and disaster struck when Taylor Hall, once the league’s MVP, made it 2-0 with less than 4 minutes remaining in the second period.

Third period: Finally!!!

Then the most important thing of the night happened. Joonas Donskoi, who had created so many amazing scoring opportunities this season and had played so hard, could not get the puck to go in no matter what. It’s unclear which ritual was the one that did it, but 264 days after his last official regular-season goal, Joonas Donskoi finally — finally! put the puck home with a beauty of a shot through traffic.

But the game didn’t end with Donskoi Scoring Night, already a victory.

The Kraken were awarded a power play for interference. They did not score.

Say what you will about the Kraken and their record, but there haven’t been many games this season where they stopped trying, and with some dirty work down low, Mason Appleton deflected an Adam Larsson shot in past Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark. And just like that, Boston no longer had the security blanket of a two-goal lead to sit back on.

The Bruins were awarded a power play for tripping. The Bruins took 19 seconds to score.

For the second straight game, the Kraken scored late to tie it, only to see the lead given away. One last rush yielded what was almost yet again a crazy comeback at the end, but Jared McCann’s shot missed the net and that was all she wrote.

5-on-5 play belonged to the Kraken, but Seattle went 0 for 6 on their power plays, while Boston went 2 for 3 on theirs, and that was the entire game right there.

But you know what? We can retire the “will Joonas Donskoi score?” memes. We’ll always have the time Donskoi scored his first goal in a Kraken sweater, and nobody can ever take that away.

I’m calling it a resounding success.

Next up are the New York Islanders on Wednesday at 4pm Pacific, followed by the All-Star break.