3 Takeaways From Kraken 3-1 Loss to Rangers

The Seattle Kraken spent Halloween night losing 3-1 to the New York Rangers. They split their inaugural four-game homestand 2-2, bringing their record to 3-5-1 to rank seventh in the Pacific Division. The game was more lopsided than the score indicates, ironically tilted in the Kraken’s favor, but they received more tricks than treats. Here are three takeaways from the loss.

Kraken Dominate Rangers Despite Final Score

Kraken points leader Jared McCann was out of the lineup due to COVID protocol ahead of the game.

“This is the second time this season McCann has been placed in the protocol. He was one of five Kraken players to enter it just before the team’s regular season opener against the Vegas Golden Knights”

(From “Kraken notes: Leading point-getter Jared McCann goes back in COVID-19 protocol,” Geoff Baker, Seattle Times, 10/31/21).

Even without McCann, the Kraken dominated offensively, won the faceoff battle, and outshot the Rangers 32-18. They just couldn’t translate the shots into goals. There were plenty of chances for it, too. 

The Kraken out-chanced the Rangers 34-14. The “high water mark” was the second period, when they outshot the Blueshirts 13-2, out-chanced them 15-3, and scored a 75.68 Corsi for percentage (CF%). But Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin slammed the door in their face, allowing a lone goal to Jordan Eberle despite the onslaught.

This is one of those games when the Kraken must realize they played well, but they have to start capitalizing on their chances before we start to sound like a broken record.

Despite the six multi-goal scorers on the team, only two have more than two goals. Their 2.56 goals for per game ranks 22nd in the NHL, and they aren’t going to win many games if they keep giving up an average of 3.11 goals per game. The Kraken needs forward Jaden Schwartz to find the back of the net.

Kraken’s Schwartz Needs To Score

Schwartz signed a five-year deal with the Kraken and was expected to be one of the driving offensive forces on the team. It wasn’t a secret that scoring was going to be a problem this season, but Schwartz was supposed to be one of the few players who could put the puck in the net, given that he’s a four-time 20-goal scorer. Four assists through nine games won’t cut it.

It’s not the first time Schwartz has been snake-bitten to start the season. He was goalless in 11 games to start the 2012-13 season and eight games to start the 2015-16 and 2019-20 seasons. In the latter, he scored just once in his first 15 games. 

Jaden Schwartz, Seattle Kraken
Jaden Schwartz, Seattle Kraken forward (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He tallied an assist and a season-high five shots against the Rangers. That gives him 13 shots through nine games, which isn’t nearly enough to be a reliable goal scorer. His 58.86 CF% indicates that he should continue to get the opportunities and just needs to finish.

Schwartz has tallied 154 goals in his career and 26 in the playoffs. He should snap out of this slump; however, the Kraken need it to happen very soon. It took Eberle a bit to get going, but he’s heating up with a goal in two of his last three games. Now, it’s Schwartz’s turn.

Kraken Power Play Is Still Powerless

Some issues have been mentioned in previous “3 Takeaways” editions and are becoming thematic. This time, it’s the power play that went 0-for-4 against the Rangers. You have to give credit where it’s due: the Rangers’ penalty kill is hot. They’d given up just one power-play goal in their previous six games before they met the Kraken and carried their strong penalty-killing into the game.

Related: Kraken Daily Download – Recap, Stats, Injuries & News

It’s an extension of their lack of offensive firepower and that players like Schwartz need to start scoring. The power play is now at 10.3%, which ranks 29th in the NHL. In these close games, a failing power play is going to cost the Kraken. 

This early in the season, they shouldn’t be afraid to make some changes to their power-play personnel. While they want to give some players the reps to break out of their slump, nine games into the season are enough to make adjustments. Given that the team is still developing chemistry, it can’t hurt.

Seattle Shoutout

There’s only one shoutout after the loss to the Rangers, awarded to a player who played less than any other Kraken defender: Jeremy Lauzon deserves some appreciation. When THW’s Kraken team projected the opening night defensive pairs, he was omitted and designated the seventh defenseman. So far, he’s played in every game this season; he was a plus-1 against the Rangers, had three hits and a block, and led the Kraken defense in shorthanded ice time. 

Quick Turnaround for a Trip to Edmonton

The Kraken will have to turn the page quickly as they’re back in action against the Edmonton Oilers in the second half of a back-to-back on Monday, Nov. 1. They’ll go from worrying about Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox to Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid
Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

The Kraken need to play as they did against the Rangers if they want a chance against the Oilers. Staying out of the box will be imperative. The Oilers lead the NHL in power-play percentage, firing off goals at a 47.8% conversion rate. While the Kraken’s penalty kill is at a formidable 90%, you don’t want to give McDavid the chance to do what he does best, which is usually something special. 

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