Hello Seattle Kraken fans! I’m Scott Fairchild, and I am proud to be bringing you weekly coverage of your exciting new expansion team as they navigate their inaugural season and beyond right here at The Xperience Hockey Talk. Let’s get down to business here. There was a lot of good things going on during the first two weeks of the season and Kraken fans should feel excited about them. We had the first game in franchise history against the Vegas Golden Knights as well as two other exciting games and eventually the first home game in franchise history at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle (which looks absolutely beautiful by the way!). To begin the season, the Seattle Kraken have been playing on the road as the final fishing touches were being made at Climate Pledge Arena before the home opener against the rival Vancouver Canucks on October 23rd. Let’s take a look back at the first two weeks in the history of the Seattle Kraken:
1st game in franchise history (@ Vegas Golden Knights, 10/12/21)
It was an exciting night as the Seattle Kraken played their very first game in franchise history as they took on the Vegas Golden Knights on the road at T-Mobile arena. Despite outshooting Vegas in the first period, the Golden Knights struck twice with goals from Max Pacioretty and Jonathan Marchessault to give them a 2-0 lead.
Pacioretty would score his second goal of the game at the 6:36 mark of the second period to make it 3-0 Vegas. However, the moment Kraken fans were waiting for happened at the 11:32 mark as Ryan Donato scored the first goal in franchise history as he put in the rebound on his backhand in front of the net. That wouldn’t be all as Jared McCann would score his first goal of the season to get Seattle within one goal heading into their third period.
Morgan Geekie evened the score up with a laser of a shot from the right face-off circle at the 7:36 mark of period three to make this game very interesting. However, the Vegas Golden Knights would get the game winner a minute later as Chandler Stephenson would deflect in a Mark Stone pass off of his skate which went to video review to determine if it was a kicking motion. Upon video review, it was determined to be a good goal and the Vegas Golden Knights would defeat the Seattle Kraken by a final score of 4-3.
1st win in franchise history (10/14/21 @ Nashville Predators
Thursday night was a joyous night to be a Seattle Kraken fan as the team got its first win in franchise history against the Nashville Predators. Eeli Tolvanen got the Predators on the board first as he gathered the puck off the face-off, and sent a quick shot that would beat goalie Philipp Grubauer on the short side for a 1-0 lead. Later on in the first period, the Kraken were able to take the lead on back to back power play goals from Jared McCann and Brandon Tanev as both would wrist shots that would beat goalie Jusse Saros to give the Kraken a 2-1 lead heading into period two.
Roman Jossi got the score evened again at the 4:36 mark on the power play with a beautiful one-timer shot from the point. Moments later, Alexander Wennberg helped the Kraken retake the lead as he tapped in a pass from Alex Barre-Boulet at the doorstep for his first goal of the season. Seattle would take a 3-2 lead heading into the third and final period.
The final period was a tight checking type of play from both teams as the Kraken fought really hard to lock down things down to get their first win. Brandon Tanev added his second goal of the night and season with an empty netter. However, Michael Grandlund got Nashville back within one with about forty seconds left but it was too late as the Seattle Kraken held on for their first win in franchise history!
1st overtime game in franchise history (@ Columbus Blue Jackets 10/16/21)
This game between the Seattle Kraken and Columbus Blue Jackets was a very tight checking and defensive type of hockey game between the two teams. Period one saw no scoring on either side and saw a close shot on goal count (Columbus lead 6-5). However, the Kraken got on the scoreboard first as Brandon Tanev added his third goal of the season. Tanev showed patience while skating towards the net, and then went to his backhand and lifted the puck upstairs for the 1-0 lead. That would be the only goal so far heading into period three.
About midway through period three, Eric Robinson evened things up for the Blue Jackets for his first goal of the season. Robinson picked up the loose puck and fired it top shelf to beat Philipp Grubauer to tie the game up at 1-1. This game was a very tight one that would need overtime to settle the outcome. It would be Patrik Laine who would be the hero for the Blue Jackets as he skated towards the right face-off circle and fire a laser of a wrist shot for the game winning goal and give his team a 2-1 victory over the Kraken.
1st home game ever @ Climate Pledge Arena vs rival Vancouver Canucks (10/23/21)
Obviously, this was the day all Seattle Kraken fans have been waiting for ever since it was announced an NHL franchise would be coming to Seattle back in December of 2018. The first ever home game at Climate Pledge Arena was hosted and boy is it a gorgeous looking arena and amazing atmosphere! What makes this night even more exciting is a matchup with close proximity rivals from the north in the Vancouver Canucks. Let’s take a look at the action from this special night. The first period featured a lot of tight checking with some scoring opportunities but it did take a bit to get things going offensively. Before time expired, the Seattle Kraken scored their first goal ever at Climate Pledge Arena as Vince Dunn fired a wrist shot that would go off the bar and in. That goal gave the Kraken a 1-0 lead heading into period two.
Midway through the second period, the Canucks tied the game 1-1 as captain Bo Horvat got the puck in the high slot and ripped a shot under the pads of Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer for his second goal of the season. That would be all the scoring for period two as we head into the third and final period. Slightly over five minutes into the third period, Kraken captain Mark Giordano scored his first of the season to give his team the lead back as he skated towards the left face off circle and fired a shot that would beat Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko making the score 2-1. Unfortunately for Seattle, the Vancouver would spoil their opening night fun as Bo Horvat tied the game, and then Conor Garland would score the game winner as well as an empty net goal from Justin Dowling to give the Canucks the win by a final score of 4-2. Despite the loss, it was a night to remember seeing the first goal scored at home and enjoying the game atmosphere while seeing how beautiful the arena is and how much energy the fans brought.
How’s it Kraken? My thoughts on the first two weeks
The very first week in Seattle Kraken history was a very good one with a lot to be proud of. Sure, they didn’t win the first game in franchise history but, so what? Despite getting down 2-0 & eventually losing 4-3 to a great team like the Vegas Golden Knights, they showed me a lot of how this team is going to play and can play. They certainly didn’t quit, wouldn’t back down or go away quietly. They were in that game and almost won. They built off of that in the next game and got the result they wanted as they beat the Nashville Predators.
Saturday night in Columbus showed what we already knew about the Kraken which was they were going to be strong on the back end with their defense and goaltending. What we didn’t know was how good would their offense be and where their goals would come from. I saw a team this week and especially in the first two games that they are very strong on the forecheck and have good speed. They can win the battles in the tough areas and get goals at the front of the net. I was really impressed in particular with Brandon Tanev’s offensive game scoring three goals this week. Jared McCann is off to a good start as well centering the top line with Jaden Schwartz and Jordan Eberle. The only concern I had during the first week was the bottom pairing of the defense with Vince Dunn and Jeremy Lauzon. I don’t like that pairing at all and they bring out the worst in each other defensively even though Dunn does bring a lot offensively on D. Dave Hakstoll might want to re-think that pair for the time being.
Week two was not as good as the first week as they lost all three games this week against a very good Philadelphia Flyers, a young New Jersey Devils, and rival Vancouver Canucks in their home opener. Against Philly, the Kraken were completely outmatched. The Flyers offense and improved defense were too much for Seattle. In New Jersey, it was a close game at the end but couldn’t capitalize on the chances they had offensively. In the home opener against Vancouver, it was an even game but the offense of the Canucks proved to be better and capitalized on more of their chances than the Kraken did. Obviously this week while exciting with the home opener happening, wasn’t the best week. Scoring was very limited and this week exposed the Kraken for not having an x-factor or a dynamic goal scorer on the team. In defense of the team, they’re still learning and adapting to coach Dave Hakstol’s system but they do need to start hitting the back of the net more often soon. Let’s see what happens this week as they continue their opening home stand at home against the Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild, and the New York Rangers. Have a great week in the Emerald City Kraken fans!