The low point so far of the Seattle Kraken’s expansion season undeniably came last Friday night.
Mired in what was about to become a six-game losing streak, the Kraken found themselves down 7-0 to visiting Colorado.
When Seattle finally got on the scoreboard, one might have expected a few Bronx cheers. Instead, the Kraken were heartily embraced by the home fans. The good vibes likely will flow again when the club faces the red-hot Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night.
“We lost six in a row, (and we were) at home,” Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer said. “We scored the first goal, it’s 7-0 (on Friday), the fans cheer us on. And it’s incredible. I’ve been in places where they throw beer cans at you.”
The Kraken went on to score two more goals that night to make the final tally a halfway respectable 7-3.
They went on to snap their skid with a 5-2 victory against Washington on Sunday, with Jaden Schwartz getting a goal and three assists and Grubauer making 37 saves.
What proved the difference?
“Maybe because we’re sick and tired of losing,” said forward Calle Jarnkrok, who scored his first goal of the season. “We got together as a group and talked about how we need to play. We went out there (Sunday) and we did it. But it’s got to be like this every game.”
The Kraken will try to duplicate that effort when they face the Hurricanes, who are tied with Florida for most points in the NHL.
Grubauer, while playing for Colorado last season, was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy that goes to the league’s top goaltender. But he entered Sunday’s game against his original NHL team, with which he won a Stanley Cup in 2018, with the lowest save percentage in the league among goalies who had played 10 or more games.
But he was stellar in the third period against the Capitals, stopping 22 of 23 shots. The lone puck that got past him was on a shot by Alex Ovechkin, the fourth-leading goal scorer in league history.
“It was good, obviously it’s not just for me, it’s for the whole group,” Grubauer said. “We build on that, that’s the standard we set, and we have to do the same against a really good hockey team here coming up in Carolina. Everybody is doing the right things. Doesn’t matter if it’s good reads, blocks, PK (penalty kill), power plays, we’ll build on that.”
The Hurricanes had a four-game winning streak snapped with a 2-1 overtime loss Monday at San Jose.
“It was a good game. We played well,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We couldn’t get pucks through but we were trying to do the right thing. I thought we had a solid game.”
Hurricanes defenseman Ethan Bear, who during his junior career helped lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to the Western Hockey League championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup in 2017, won’t be able to play after testing positive for COVID-19 on Monday.
Brind’Amour was concerned other positive tests could crop up.
“You look around the league, it’s very rare one guy gets it,” the coach said. “It’s just kind of an unfortunate thing that everybody’s dealing with. We’ll take it as it comes.”
–Field Level Media