SEATTLE – It was a second straight bummer Saturday night at Climate Pledge Arena. The previously troubled Edmonton Oilers chased Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer with four goals on 17 first-period shots and cruised to a 4-1 victory.
“We weren’t desperate enough,” Kraken winger Jaden Schwartz said. “We knew that they’re hungry for wins and we came out flat.
“We’ve done that a few times at home now. Unacceptable. We have to be way more aggressive, way more assertive and get to our game right away. Too much standing and watching.”
At least one Kraken player has been consistently consistent. Their lone goal came courtesy of Schwartz on an early third-period power play. Schwartz’s point streak reached a career-best nine games (six goals, six assists) and he’s scored in four straight.
The Kraken have tallied a power-play goal in six consecutive games, good for seventh in the league overall (26.2%) heading into the contest.
Seattle defenseman Brian Dumoulin was bloodied on the boarding incident leading to the power-play goal, but later returned to the game.
As the Kraken’s highest-paid player and top offensive defenseman, Vince Dunn might not be the first pick to settle scores, but he’s doing it regardless. Dunn dropped the gloves in a second straight third period, pummeling the midsection of a fallen Dylan Holloway, the Oiler who boarded Dumoulin. Dunn accepted a challenge from Colorado’s Bowen Byram on Thursday but only picked up a minor penalty for roughing. This time, he got the full fighting major.
“It’s an emotional game,” Dunn said. “He’s tough — we’ve gone at it before. I respect the guy, but obviously I didn’t like the hit on Dumoulin.”
By the time Edmonton’s Zach Hyman completed his “natural,” or uninterrupted, hat trick, hope effectively was lost for the Kraken. Holloway kicked sand in their faces with a fourth goal with 18 seconds left in the first period.
Climate Pledge Arena has become a place of respite for slumping Pacific Division teams. A week before this loss, Edmonton’s neighbor Calgary visited the Kraken eager to end a six-game skid. Seattle (5-7-3) put up an early fight that time, then relented.
The Oilers had dropped four straight and nine of 12 in regulation.
“That’s an elite team that we’re playing against, no matter what their struggles were,” Dunn said. “It’s tough to come back when you find yourself in a hole like that.”
On his first goal, Hyman and Evander Kane blew past the Kraken defense and went two-thirds of the length of the ice on a 2-on-1. Seattle couldn’t use that time to recover and Hyman shoveled the puck into the top corner, over Grubauer’s swinging elbow.
On the second, Schwartz swiped and tripped Holloway under the watchful eye of an official in order to prevent a clean breakaway but he only delayed the inevitable as the Oilers set up Hyman on the power play.
Hyman’s third was via a scramble in the crease.
“That probably would have been a good time for a timeout,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “With 1:20 to go, I expected we were going to get through that period. We didn’t.
“We made the goalie change, challenged our group to go and push in the second. We didn’t find a whole lot of energy in that second period.”
Boos followed the teams down their respective tunnels at the start of both intermissions. Each of the past two Saturdays, the Kraken whiffed on a chance to reach .500.
Grubauer turned in another strong performance against Colorado on Thursday and earned a second straight start. He was pulled early for the first time this season.
Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak stopped it from becoming 5-0 once Joey Daccord relieved Grubauer at the start of the second period. The puck bounced off Daccord’s leg and outstretched glove, bound for the goal line, but Oleksiak swept it away.
Daccord (nine saves) was able to help stop the bleeding, but the Kraken managed one fewer shot on goal in the second period for a 40-minute total of nine. That wasn’t going to cut it with such a deficit.
“We didn’t push back and have that shift, that couple of shifts, that you need to right the momentum to push back, and we didn’t have the juice in the second to get any type of momentum going,” Hakstol said.
They had the right idea in the third, at least, holding Edmonton without a single shot on goal. They put nine on Stuart Skinner (17 saves) but only Schwartz’s made it through.
“It took us too long to recover when we dug ourselves a hole,” Schwartz said.
“No excuses. Individually and collectively, we have to be ready to start and recover when we do make mistakes.”