SEATTLE – Several punches, an early goal and plenty of hard skating into Monday night’s affair, the Kraken had served notice they didn’t intend this to be a business-as-usual home game.
The season rubber-match against the Colorado Avalanche, coming on the heels of some Kraken home stinkers, had earned them a verbal coach lashing in practice and plenty of motivation to go out and set an early tone. But the inability to build further off a first period Brandon Tanev goal eventually sealed their 5-1 defeat when a second Kraken marker that period was called back for goaltender interference.
Instead of being down by a pair, the Avalanche regained their composure, kept pressuring the Kraken and eventually went ahead to stay on goals by Mikko Rantanen and Ross Colton just two minutes apart late in the middle frame. Cale Makar added a third Colorado goal just more than four minutes into the final period and Jonathan Drouin tacked on a fourth and Valeri Nichushkin a fifth as the Kraken fell to 5-8-3 on the season.
The Kraken had 10 shots in the opening period, but just eight the rest of the way — and just one in the final period with 90 seconds to go — in being outshot by a 31-19 margin. They also fell to 2-5-0 at home compared to 3-3-3 on the road.
Tanev, returning from an injury in the season’s first game, was flying around the puck from the get-go and had opened the scoring just over six minutes in by pouncing on a Vince Dunn rebound. The goal came just 32 seconds after a lengthy fight between Avalanche heavyweight enforcer Kurtis MacDermid and Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, with the Colorado tough guy earning a tough decision with an eventual knockdown.
Still, the prolonged Oleksiak effort seemed to further energize an already revved-up Kraken squad that kept going at the visitors the remainder of that period and more.
But then a second apparent Kraken goal, by Alex Wennberg, was waved off due to goaltender interference by Tanev and that bought the Avalanche time to get back in it.
Kraken goaltender Joey Daccord had preserved his team’s 1-0 lead past the game’s midway point with some quick reflex stops, earning chants of “Jo-ey! Jo-ey!” from the announced Climate Pledge Arena crowd of 17,151. But there was little Daccord could do on either Colorado goal to come that middle frame, both the result of rebounds off net front scrambles.
As has been the case throughout the Kraken’s early season, their inability to build off their 1-0 lead came back to haunt them. Rantanen’s tying goal marked the 12th time in their last 13 games the Kraken have blown a lead and the waving off of Wennberg’s goal had plenty to do with it.
Wennberg had led a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush up the ice with Tanev and had three cracks at the same rebound before lifting the puck over prone goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. But Tanev, who’d gone to the net for a rebound on the initial Wennberg shot, failed to stop in time before bumping the netminder.
Tanev was still in the crease when Wennberg began attempting his triad of rebound shots and that was apparently enough to get his first goal of the season overturned.
It would also be the final time all night the Kraken put a puck in the net.