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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Kraken’s short win streak comes to an emphatic end as Blues have little trouble

Seattle Kraken's Joonas Donskoi (72) falls to the ice next to St. Louis Blues' Niko Mikkola (77) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in Seattle.  (Associated Press)
By Marisa Ingemi Seattle Times

SEATTLE – After defeating the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night, even in one of the more inspired performances of the season, coach Dave Hakstol said he felt like the Kraken were still a ways away from where they want to be.

Friday night was a good example of that.

The Kraken allowed a goal before the first media timeout and never recovered, dropping a 5-0 game to the St. Louis Blues at Climate Pledge Arena to end their two-game winning streak. It was the third time they were shut out this season, and their 13th loss in 16 games.

It was Seattle’s league-high 17th loss when trailing at the end of one period. Slow starts have plagued them over the past week, including their loss in St. Louis eight days ago. Hakstol admitted Thursday’s win against San Jose didn’t start well, and the Kraken also trailed against Chicago in their win on Monday.

As purposeful and determined as Thursday’s win over the Sharks appeared – even with a few mistakes along the way – Friday felt anything but. Seattle fell to 1-5 in the second game of back-to-backs, and though that’s been a problem all season, the feeling of turning a corner Thursday all but evaporated.

That was a game in which captain Mark Giordano fought, where Philipp Grubauer – who did not start the second game, Joey Daccord did – played his second strong game in a row, where they responded well to losing a goal to an offsides call and the secondary scoring emerged.

Instead, the Kraken came out flat and never recovered, losing the chance to seize the very momentum they were on the verge of creating.

Goaltending has been the biggest net positive for the Kraken over the past week, a stark difference from previous stretches.

Since Jan. 12, Seattle has allowed more than three goals just twice; the 5-2 loss to Dallas and Friday against the Blues. The scoring hasn’t come around, but more than that, they’ve been chasing games.

By the time the Blues scored three times in the third on Friday, the game was already out of reach. Though it was only 2-0, the Kraken had generated just three high-danger chances at five-on-five going into the third and they didn’t ever feel truly engaged.

First, a struggling power play ceded its best chance to the Blues, giving Tyler Bozek an easy goal from an odd-man rush with Brandon Saad while short-handed. Then, Adam Larsson took a delay-of-game penalty that led to the Blues second tally, a power play strike from Brayden Schenn, from the top-ranked man advantage unit in the league.

St. Louis blocked 10 Kraken shots in the first period alone and Seattle took 15 shots in the second. They generated looks on Blues goalie Villie Husso, but none that challenged him excessively.

In the second, Riley Sheahan couldn’t convert a breakaway chance. Larsson had a rough turnover in the same frame that nearly gave the Blues a prime chance.

Little things like that have become the norm in Kraken losses. Not one colossal mistake, but an accumulation of misfortune they can’t recover from.

By the third, the Blues took complete control. Pavel Buchnevich scored 24 seconds into the final frame for the first even-strength goal of the night, then Colton Parayko’s penalty shot got past Daccord following a hook from Jordan Eberle.

The hits kept on coming and Jordan Kyrou tallied the fifth Blues goal long after it felt over.