Pivot of special teams for the Kraken
Led 4-1 early in the third period against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night, the Seattle Kraken needed a spark. When did they get it Alex wennberg was held by Gabriel Carlsson of Columbus, putting Seattle on its first and only power play of the night.
The Kraken wasted no time and Joonas Donskoy took a shot that deflected Jaden schwartzof the leg as he leapt into the air through the goalie area. That reduced the deficit to two goals and Seattle would eventually come back to force overtime and earn a point in the standings.
“[That was a] the spark when we come back in the third period, âsaid head coach Dave Hakstol. âIt won’t happen without this power play.
Video: CBJ @ SEA: Schwartz deviates in PPG
Success in special teams is the key to winning an individual match as well as winning throughout the season.
The Kraken were 1-to-1 on the power play on Saturday and their power play was 2-for-2. At the start of the season, the power play struggled and went on a 10-game streak as it was. 1 on 33. Seattle began to find its place with the men’s advantage at the start of a Nov. 9 game in Las Vegas.
Marcus johansson returned to the lineup and helped score a power play goal in the first period. Since then, the Kraken’s power play has been 10 to 37. That 27 percent success rate would be good for the NHL’s fourth-best if they had played at this pace all season.
“The squad talked about that earlier today when they met on the power play,” Hakstol said on Saturday night. âWe’ve been on a good run for almost a month where we’ve been on top and really efficient. The last two games we haven’t been at our level, you know, a level that we expect out of. ourselves. “
It was a good rebound for the Kraken’s power play after a 0-5 draw in a 3-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday – although some chances in this game were reduced by overlapping penalties. . Special teams can be meteoric and the fact that the Kraken scored on Saturday was an encouraging sign to move forward.
The Kraken have tried different combinations on the power play due to injuries and looking for the best combinations. Thirteen players have scored at least one point with the extra man this season, led by Jared mccann who scored five power play goals and Jordan eberle who has a pair of goals and three assists.
Killing penalties is the other half of having good special team units.
Just as Schwartz’s power-play goal was important on Saturday, Columbus’ two power-play Seattle kills in the second period as the game went scoreless. Failure on those shots on goal can put the game out of reach.
During the season, Kraken’s penalty kill is in the middle of the pack, ranked 16th in the NHL at 81.7 percent. Defender Adam larsson played the most shorthanded for the Kraken, registering over 52 minutes of shorthanded ice time. Among forwards, Donskoi has been the most supported with more than 40 minutes this year.
The Kraken scored twice shorthanded on goals by Carson Soucy and Branden Tanev – who both scored shorthanded in the same game. Leaders aside, it takes multiple players to kill shots on goal effectively and the Kraken have already used 19 different players on the kill this season.
Not only is the penalty important because it prevents the other team from scoring, it can help generate huge swing changes. If you kill power plays, your opponents may collapse, having lost a chance to capitalize and score.
The Kraken penalty will be tested this week. On Wednesday, they’ll be in Anaheim to face a Ducks team with the league’s fifth-best power play at 25.6 percent. On Saturday, they will host the Edmonton Oilers and their top 31 percent in the league. The following night, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be at Climate Pledge Arena, and they hold the league’s second power play at 30 percent.
Winning on special teams will be key in all of this week’s games – including Tuesday night in San Jose – and the Kraken has a chance to eliminate more top teams, as they did at the end of November.
It will take effort from the whole team, but Seattle has shown that they can play both ways. The key will be to find consistency as they go through a difficult part of their schedule.