No matter how hard they try, the Seattle Kraken can’t shake comparisons to the Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL’s previous expansion team.
The Golden Knights, of course, set the bar incredibly high by reaching the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season.
The Kraken fell well short of that, finishing 30th in the 32-team NHL last season, and faced a setback again Saturday night in their home opener, allowing the first five goals in a 5-2 loss to Vegas.
The Kraken, who opened the season by taking three of four points in a two-game Southern California swing, will try to get back on track when they play host to the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.
Seattle allowed a goal 12 seconds into Saturday’s game off a turnover in its own end and trailed 2-0 after just 3:07.
“We weren’t sharp with the puck, right from the start of the game,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “We were stuck in quicksand for the first 10 minutes of this game. Once we steadied our game a little bit, we just didn’t execute with the puck. There were a number of opportunities that we gave them in transition right off of our tape.”
The Kraken avoided the shutout on goals by Justin Schultz and Jaden Schwartz in the final 6:41. Andre Burakovsky assisted on both.
Forward Jordan Eberle was asked whether the Kraken could just forget about Saturday’s game.
“I think it’s important to go over things and address what needs to be addressed,” he said. “The first thing that comes to mind for me is, we have to have O-zone (puck) possession.
“We’re maybe getting a little too cute and fancy, then we turn the puck over and they have chances, breakaways, and two-on-one (rushes) or three-on-ones or whatever it may be.”
The Hurricanes opened a five-game trip with a 2-1 victory Friday at San Jose as Sebastian Aho scored the go-ahead goal with 1:58 remaining.
Martin Necas also scored for the Hurricanes, and goaltender Antti Raanta made 18 saves.
“I think we played pretty well (Friday) for the whole 60 minutes,” Raanta said. “Special teams, good PK, and then obviously we got the late goal and then defended really well at the end there. So, you take the two points and move forward.”
Necas has four points through the season’s first two games, both of which were Hurricanes victories.
“He’s been great. Now he’s just got to keep doing that,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We knew that he had this capability. Now it’s two games in and it’s been a pretty impressive two games.”
Hurricanes defenseman Brent Burns, acquired in the offseason, didn’t have to wait long for his return to San Jose.
“It’s tough. I knew it was going to be hard. It’s just a weird day,” Burns said. “Walking in and seeing all the security guys that I got to see so well and all that. You’re trying to read faceoffs and you’re smiling at guys. It’s great to be back, it’s great to see a lot of really great people that have meant a lot to me and my family for the last 11 years, but it is too weird to play hockey. It’s nice to get that over with, but it’s awesome.”
–Field Level Media