Exciting Game, Disappointing End
After a highly frustrating game to watch against the San Jose Sharks where the Kraken continuously turned the puck over and couldn't generate much themselves in a 4-0 defeat, fans were hopeful that they could show better against the dominant Bruins. What fans got was a high octane game and one of the most exciting games of the season but unfortunately ended without a single point to the Seattle Kraken. 6-5 Bruins Final.
Things started off promising as Matty Beniers got the team on the board in the first minute. Seattle caught the Bruins flat footed in transition and Beniers with two teammates beside him, elected to shoot himself putting the Kraken up 1-0. After a 10 game pointless streak, Beniers is lighting it up once again with 6 points in his last 4 games. It's no coincidence that the Kraken's recent struggles have coincided with his cold streak.
Late in the period the Kraken had outshot the Bruins 10-4 but Boston started to get their stuff figured out. There were a couple of opportunities to clear the puck but Seattle could not handled Boston's pressure and Krejci was left wide open to tie the game.
Early in the second Dunn would score his 10th marker of the year to put Seattle up once again. Dunn is only 2 goals shy of his career high he set way back in the 18/19 season and has already surpassed his previous career high in points. Dunn continues to be one of the best players on this team and a huge part of their blueline.
Less than a minute later, David Pastrnak would make Adam Larsson, the stalwart defender look silly by absolutely undressing him on a highlight reel goal. Sometimes elite players just do elite things and Pastrnak is truly one of the best players in the NHL this season.
The Bruins continued to pressure hard in the second and almost went up 3-2 after Marchand was left wide open (a trend that really needs to stop with this team) but Grubauer denied him with a brilliant glove save. Despite the 6 goals allowed and the 0.818SV% Grubauer really did give his team a chance to win in a game where defense was optional for both clubs.
The Bruins would take the lead on a Marchand goal ironically just a few minutes later. Again, the Kraken completely collapsed in their own end and even after Grubauer had managed to make a few key stops in the play right before, Marchand was again left wide open for an easy tap in.
Oleksiak wired the third goal for the Kraken to tie the game but all credit here should go to Morgan Geekie for his efforts. Geekie first took a big hit in the neutral zone to attempt to retrieve the puck which did get possession back for his squad. He was then the one to fire the nifty backhand pass back to Oleksiak. Geekie continues to be a highly underrated player and I don't think anyone outside of the Seattle area appreciates what this kid brings to the team.
Late in the second period Vince Dunn would lose some of his shine from his first goal by losing the puck at the blueline leaving the Bruins to score on the ensuing 2 on 1. Defensive lapses and key mistakes would be the reason for most of the goals the Bruins scored.
Luckily the Kraken would score on the powerplay in the final minute of the game as Gourde tried to wire a puck cross ice but McAvoy got his stick on it and unfortunately for the Bruins, bounced into their own net. The powerplay really didn't click for the Kraken this night (more on that later) but they were able to get rewarded at least once.
With 4 minutes remaining in the game, Jaden Schwartz tipped a puck fired by Borgen past Swayman to put the Kraken up 5-4. 4 minutes remaining. Seattle just needed to commit to defense in their own end and limit any chances against...
Instead, literally as the announcer was still calling the previous goal. The Borgen-Oleksiak pairing turns the puck over in their own end... the forwards do not pick up their own players... and suddenly the puck is in the back of their own net again. The same would happen just a couple minutes later as a Debrusk rebound ends up as the game winner. No OT, no points.
The Kraken lost for two key reasons. While their offensive game was back in full force with goals from multiple lines and multiple defenders, the mistakes in their own end cost them dearly. Teams like the Bruins will capitalize every chance they get if you give up the puck like they did. An unacceptable effort from everyone in front of Grubauer.
The second reason was their powerplay. They were lucky to get one goal but the Kraken had 4 PP opportunities and another goal there could have been the difference-maker.
For the first time, essentially all season the Seattle Kraken now find themselves in a Wild Card position as the Oilers win against the Penguins pushed them ahead in the standings. The Kraken do have one game in hand but this goes to show how close the entire West is right now. We are near the end of February and there is a legitimate chance for 6 or 7 different teams to finish first in the Western Conference... not the Division but the entire conference.
It has been good to see the offense returning in the lineup but the defensive play needs to step up in a big way. Things are not getting easier as the Kraken will face another potent offensive force in the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.
Thanks for reading.