6 Keys of Kraken’s 6-Game Winning Streak

Since the calendar has flipped, the Seattle Kraken have been unstoppable, winning their first six games of 2023. Whether it is goaltending, the power play or contributions from the entire lineup, Seattle is looking like a well-oiled machine ready to go on a long playoff run. Here are six keys behind the Kraken’s six-game winning streak.

Martin Jones Takes Command of Starter’s Net

The biggest question surrounding the Kraken this season has been about their goaltenders’ problematic play. Both Martin Jones and Philipp Grubauer finished 2022 with save percentages (SV%) of below .900% and were the main cause as to why Seattle only won four of their 12 games in December. Over the past six games, however, there has been a resurgence in net for the Kraken, with the goaltenders finally playing up their potential. During the winning streak, Seattle has a .9233% team SV% while only allowing 11 goals on 157 shots.

Martin Jones Seattle Kraken
Martin Jones, Seattle Kraken (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Leading the charge has been Jones starting five of the six games. During the win streak, he has limited the opposition to two goals or less four times and recorded his second shutout as a Kraken against the Montreal Canadiens. As for his statistics, in those five games, he recorded a .934 SV% and a goals-against average of 1.60. He has emerged as Seattle’s starter for now and has a great opportunity to not only lead the Kraken to the playoffs, but to show the hockey world he can still be a reliable starter as he enters free agency at the end of the season.

Power Play Making A Difference

Through the first 34 games of the season, the Kraken’s power play was below league average. They were ranked 22nd in the league with a 20.4 percent efficiency rate and only had one player (André Burakovsky) in double-digit points on the power play. Leading into 2023, the power play even hit an all-time low as Seattle went seven games without scoring with the man advantage. They needed a spark and seem to have found one over the last six games.

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Since Jan. 1, the Kraken have scored five power-play goals and have a 33.3 percent efficiency rate. The team is scoring by committee, as eight members have at least one point, and only Eeli Tolvanen has multiple power-play goals during the win streak. The ability to generate offence on the power play is vital to any team’s success, and Seattle is showing just how dangerous they can be if given the opportunity.

Vince Dunn the Assist Machine

Over the six-game win streak, Vince Dunn has played some of, if not the best hockey of his career. He leads the team with 10 points since the start of 2023 and is the only player on the team with a plus/minus rating higher than plus-10 as he sits at plus-12. While his three goals are impressive, considering he is one off his total from the first 34 games, it is his assists that fans should be excited about.

While Dunn has put up decent point totals in his first two seasons with the Kraken, most have been secondary assists. This means he has passed the puck to another player, who in turn creates the play that gets the puck over to the eventual goal scorer. Over the past six games, this has not been the case, as five of his seven assists have been primary assists. For reference, that is one more than he had in his first 34 games. He is getting involved more in the play offensively, and that has resulted in a burst of offence from the Kraken when he is on the ice. If he can continue this strong play the rest of the season, a 60-point campaign may not be out of the question.

Matty Beniers Leads the Way Offensively

Matty Beniers continues to get better as the season progresses and should be firmly in first place when it comes to Calder Trophy voting. He leads all rookies in goals and points and is the only rookie across the league with over 20 even-strength points. While his entire season has been impressive, over his last six games he has found another gear, and has become the first-line center the Kraken hoped for when they drafted him second overall in 2021.

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During the six-game winning streak, Beniers sits first on the team in goals with five and second in points with nine. The Kraken have also outscored opponents nine to zero when he is on the ice. He has also shown off some of his physical play as he sits third on the team with 13 hits over his last six games. While many have stepped up during the win streak, it is clear that the All-Star has taken his game to another level.

Kraken’s Third Line Making a Massive Impact

Since being put together, the third line of Tolvanen, Yanni Gourde and Oliver Bjorkstrand have been dominant for the Kraken. The trio has played 57 minutes together and outscored the opposition seven to one during that time. They also have outshot the opposition 59 to 49 and are developing into one of the best third lines in the league.

Throughout the season, the Kraken’s third line has been ever-changing, so it is a positive that Seattle has found a trio that works well together and can make an impact on a nightly basis. The line is well-balanced and can be used whether the team is pushing for a goal late or trying to defend a lead. Down the stretch and in the playoffs, this trio will be leaned on a lot and could be the difference between a first-round victory or an exit.

Kraken Doing the Little Things Needed to Win

While the Kraken’s offence will get most of the credit, their defensive play deserves a shoutout. Whether it is limiting the opposition to 26.2 shots against or throwing 167 hits, Seattle is doing the little things needed to have success. They have become one of the hardest teams to play against in the league and are finding their form at the perfect time.

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The reason Seattle has been so good defensively is that the entire team is buying into the system. It is clear the players understand they need to play as a team to win and are willing to block shots or, as mentioned, throw hits so the team can be successful. This is a tight-knit group that has elevated its game since the start of 2023.

Kraken Must Keep Up Intesity

While the Kraken are in a comfortable position with 52 points in their first 40 games, they can not revert to the bad habits they exhibited in December. This is a well-balanced team that could make some noise in the playoffs, but they need to keep up the intensity and qualify first. The six-game winning streak is not a fluke and has shown the rest of the NHL that Seattle should be considered one of the top teams in the league.


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