An impressive start went by the wayside for the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday night at Climate Pledge Arena. A first period lead evaporated thanks to a tough middle frame (story of this past week, I know) and despite a strong push at the end, the Kraken just couldn’t quite generate enough to take down the Kings.
The Kraken came out extremely strong in the beginning of this game. The first period skewed heavily in the Kings’ zone, and the Kraken ended up with an impressive 12-2 lead in shots on goal after the first 20 minutes. Through the first 19 minutes, however, the score remained 0-0. It started to feel like one of those games where one team dominates the shot counter and the other somehow scores first. Thankfully Jared McCann — with the help of Yanni Gourde — saved us from that fate in the final minute of the period to give the Kraken a 1-0 lead that they would take into the locker room.
Seattle built on their lead early in the second period thanks to an incredible goal from Ryan Donato — which honestly seem to be the only kind of goals that Donato knows how to score.
That’s the definition of having the puck on a string there as he steps through the defenders across the slot. Then all he has to do is outwait goaltender Jonathan Quick and bang, the Kraken extend their lead to 2-0.
Then came the second period sads that have been plaguing the Kraken throughout this little losing streak they’re on right now. The Kings got on the board halfway through the period thanks to an admittedly great shot from Gabe Vilardi. Just three minutes later, Phillip Danault tied the game after Viktor Arvidsson fed him a pass that went right through Cale Fleury. Philipp Grubauer didn’t have much of a chance at this one once that pass got through.
Seattle’s shiny new line featuring Matty Beniers, Ryan Donato, and Jordan Eberle managed to stop the creeping cascade of second period goals less than a minute after the Kings tied it up. Beniers carried the puck into the zone despite a wall of defenders ahead of him and left a little drop pass for Eberle, who dangled his way to the front of the net and picked the top right corner to give Seattle their lead back.
Unfortunately the Kings didn’t stay behind for long. Trevor Moore tipped in a slap pass from Matt Roy to tie the game once again, this time at 3. This was the second instance that you’d really like to see the defense get in the passing lane. Both Carson Soucy and Dennis Cholowski let the puck get by them while also managing to avoid tying up Moore and preventing his tip-in. After holding the Kings to just 2 shots in the first period, the Kraken came apart and allowed 17 to get on net in the second — with three of them finding twine.
A reset in the locker room didn’t seem to help Seattle coming out in the third period. It was all LA right out of the gates, and it took less than three minutes for the Kings to get their first lead of the game thanks to Lias Andersson’s first goal of the year. Things seemed to snowball even worse from there, as Sean Durzi extended the lead to 5-3 only 16 seconds after Andersson’s goal. Head coach Dave Hakstol challenged that one, however, and with good reason. It was overturned upon review because Rasmus Kupari glided into the crease and prevented Philipp Grubauer from being able to make the save. In all honesty, that puck looked like it was going in regardless of Kupari, but he did legitimately have both skates in the crease without being pushed — so overturning the goal was the right call.
It took a few minutes but the Kraken did eventually turn the pressure on in the latter half of the third period. Jared McCann took a stick to the face at one point, giving the Kraken a 4-minute power play that eventually led to over a minute’s worth of 5-on-3 time for Seattle. Hakstol sent out five forwards for this one, but still couldn’t get one past Jonathan Quick. Daniel Sprong managed to ring one off the post, but that was as close as the Kraken would come for the rest of this game. Andreas Athanasiou added the empty netter in the last minute to make the final score 5-3 in favor of the Kings.
The Kraken next hit the ice on Friday for their last home game of the year against the San Jose Sharks.