3 Takeaways From Kraken’s 3-2 Overtime Win Over Avalanche

The Seattle Kraken knocked off the Colorado Avalanche Sunday night as they extended their winning streak to four games. After trailing 2-1 for most of the game, the Kraken found a way to pull even and eventually win in overtime to sweep their four-game road trip.

They struggled in February, but are showing their resilience by opening March with a winning streak. Here are three takeaways from their 3-2 victory over the Avalanche.

3. Effort and Forechecking the Theme

While the first period may have been a textbook low-event period, everything opened up as soon as the second period started. The remainder of the game was highlighted by high-paced, track meet-style hockey and featured some terrific physical effort from both teams.

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Perhaps the most obvious showing of physical effort was the incredible forechecking by Jaden Schwartz on the Kraken’s first goal. This is a prime example of what happens when you follow a play and beat the defender to the corner in order to force a turnover. Schwartz chased Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram around the net, but instead of following, he cut the corner to get on the puck first.

The outstanding effort resulted in a puck retrieval, a pass to the point, and a shot that was deflected into the Avalanche net by Alexander Wennberg. That goal marked his 12th of the season and 10th on the road and is just the latest in the hot streak that has seen him record four points in his past three games.

Schwartz also used his forechecking to intercept a Nathan MacKinnon pass and feed it to Brandon Tanev for the game-tying goal late in the third period. It’s a situation where playing smart leads to an immediate scoring chance, and in both situations, it led to a goal.

2. Overcoming Special Teams Struggles

As fun as an overtime win can be, the special teams play needs to be talked about. Starting with the positive, the Kraken penalty kill (PK) did well to weather the storm from the league’s eighth-best power play, holding them off the board in two attempts.

Philipp Grubauer Seattle Kraken
Philipp Grubauer, Seattle Kraken (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

One of the biggest contributors to the penalty-killing success in this game was in goal, with Philip Grubauer shutting the door after the Avalanche added their second goal. His 21 saves helped backstop the Kraken to the win. Despite last night’s success, they’ve had their fair share of struggles on the kill this season and currently sit 26th in the league with a 74.2 penalty-killing percentage.

The negatives, however, can be found on the power play. Despite the close win, the Kraken squandered five opportunities that could have changed the entire complexion of the game. Perhaps most notably, they began the third period with a full two minutes of 5-on-3 action and failed to capitalize.

The recent struggles have dropped the power play below a 20 percent success rate, placing them 22nd in the league in that category. They’ll need to figure out a more consistent effort with the man advantage as it could wind up costing them games in the future.

1. Road Warriors Sweep Trip (Again)

The Kraken will return home after having yet another successful road trip. With Yanni Gourde’s overtime winner, they swept an important four-game road trip. With the win, they now have 21 road wins on the season and only trail the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils who both have 23.

Yanni Gourde Seattle Kraken
Yanni Gourde, Seattle Kraken (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Gourde’s winner also represented another significant team achievement, as he became the 13th member of the Kraken to hit double-digit goals on the season. Another member of that group, Tanev, scored his 13th of the season and his third goal in his past four games.

The full-team effort was key to another successful trip, taking care of business against the teams below them in the standings before knocking off one of the best teams in the West. Depth, effort, and timely goals allowed the Kraken to surge to victory and end the trip on a high note.

The Kraken will now head home to face off against the Anaheim Ducks on March 7 to open up a four-game homestand. During that stretch, they’ll also see the surging Ottawa Senators and play two consecutive games against the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars.

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