Evenly distribute the highlight part of Kraken’s recent success
Nobody can accuse the Seattle Kraken of being very heavy.
It doesn’t matter who scores as long as someone does. Who isn’t, however, is a bit surprising. Oliver Bjorkstrand, a three-time defensive goal leader for the Columbus Blue Jackets, was traded in the offseason to add a punch to a team that badly needed it.
He took a place on the front row of the Kraken centered by Alex Wennberg. Bjorkstrand had a first-period assist Tuesday against the Nashville Predators, giving him eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 14 games. He hasn’t scored since the season opener at Anaheim despite shooting a team-high 48.
He found himself with the puck in front of a nearly open net early in the second period, but the Predators cleaned up and ran away with it.
“I feel like we were a bit unlucky putting the pucks in the net,” Bjorkstrand winger Andre Burakovsky said Tuesday morning before the game. “We create a lot. We just have to keep it going.
Wennberg also had a first-half assist on Tuesday. Burakovsky enjoyed a productive first 20 minutes against Nashville – he added two assists and scored the Kraken’s third goal, a painfully patient lob from the side of the net.
Coach Dave Hakstol called the trio “three smart, smart guys” this week and noted their work together away from the ice. He didn’t tinker with his first two lines often in the first 14 games, which gave the groups time to get used to each other.
“It allows some of the chemistry to develop, not just among (a) threesome, but also in terms of roles in a hockey game,” Hakstol said.
Production of the top line was no problem. Going into Tuesday’s tilt, the Kraken were scoring at a clip 3.46 goals per game, good for 11th in the league. It was evenly split, with 19 different players scoring at least once, a mark that still led the NHL on Monday.
Seattle is coming off a three-game road streak for the first time in its short history. The 5-1 win over the Predators kicked off a season-high six-game homestand.
“We have proven that we can go out and win on the road. We did a good job in that regard,” Hakstol said. “We’ve won some big games here at home recently, now we have to be excited for this opportunity.”
The Kraken were feeling pretty early, scoring their first four-goal opener against the Predators and only the second four-goal period.
Burakovsky and Will Borgen contributed one each. Jordan Eberle scored to open and close the period. His first was on a stare with Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros, and the second was a smooth change of direction and an even smoother shot that came in and ended Saros’ night.
“It was a bit of a problem earlier in the year, where we came out a bit sleepy,” Burakovsky said. “We talked about it a lot. No, we’re going out hot. Set the tone of the game.
Winger Brandon Tanev has extended his points-per-game pace lately, scoring and setting up the empty net on Tuesday for two goals and five assists in his last seven outings. His first two goals of the season were scored as winners.
“He’s an ‘ordinary’, and that’s probably the biggest compliment I can give anyone,” Hakstol said. “He does what he does (and) he does every day. Plays hard, brings energy. And not just energy.
Morgan Geekie’s assist on Borgen’s first-half goal, which made it 2-0, extended his career-best scoring streak to five games (three goals, three assists).