The Seattle Kraken haven’t played many games the last month, and when they have played it hasn’t been great.
Seattle, in its first year of existence, has played nine games since Dec. 3 and had another seven postponed due to COVID-19 issues. The Kraken are 1-6-2 in those nine games and will get on the ice for the first time in nine days when they visit the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.
Seattle’s last three games were postponed, so it should be well rested heading into Monday night. It might not help against a Colorado team that is surging. The Avalanche have won four straight overall and 11 in a row at home, which is a franchise record.
It looked like the home winning streak would end at 10 when they fell behind Toronto 4-1 on Saturday night, but they rallied to tie it midway through the third period and won it in overtime.
Colorado was 4-5-1 in early November but has gone 18-3-1 since to climb within four points of first place in the Central Division while having played five fewer games than Nashville.
This is the second meeting between the teams, with the Avalanche winning the first one, 7-3, on the road on Nov. 19. The game was the first time Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer faced his former team since leaving the franchise, and he allowed three goals on 17 shots in relief of Chris Driedger.
Grubauer was Colorado’s top goalie for three seasons before signing a free-agent contract with expansion Seattle. He has a 3.31 goals-against average, which is almost twice as high as his 1.95 average with the Avalanche last season.
When Colorado didn’t re-sign Grubauer last summer it traded for Darcy Kuemper, who assumed the No. 1 goaltender duties. Kuemper had been playing well until Saturday, when he was pulled after allowing three goals on eight shots.
The Avalanche offense showed up late, as it has been this season. Colorado is averaging five goals a game during its four-game winning streak and leads the NHL at 4.32 per game, nearly half a goal more than Florida’s 3.89.
“We have enough skill and offensive depth to score a lot of goals,” said Gabriel Landeskog, who has three goals in the last two games. “We can win games like this, but it’s important to keep in mind, coming down to the playoffs, it’s not going to be 7-1. It’s going to be 2-1 or 2-0 type hockey games. Those are the games that we look forward to playing.”
The challenge for the Kraken is to slow down Colorado’s speed and create offense. Seattle has seen improvement in its transition offense.
“I think that’s one of the areas that we need to improve on,” said Joonas Donskoi, who, like Grubauer, is returning to Denver for the first time with the Kraken. “Just getting out of the neutral zone faster, and I think being more consistent, not turning the puck over and kind of making sure we get the puck and create more offense that way.”
–Field Level Media