The Seattle Kraken fell to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night 5-3. Although they could not capture the victory, it was a successful night as 2021 second-overall pick Matty Beniers made his NHL debut. Here are three takeaways from the game and his first foray into the league.
A Debut To Remember
When Beniers stepped onto the ice, he became the first-ever Kraken draft pick to play a game in the NHL. He started the game strong by winning his first-ever faceoff beating Elias Lindholm in the offensive zone. Later in the first, he registered his first career assist off a beautiful cross-ice pass to Ryan Donato. His final statistics were one assist, one shot, one hit, 42 percent in the faceoff dot and one takeaway in 17:10 of ice time.
For a first game in the NHL, Beniers played well. Of course, there will be parts of the game he needs to work on, like faceoffs where he went 0-3 in the defensive zone, but overall, the night was a success. He was strong on the puck all night and played with confidence. His line of Donato and Jordan Eberle was the Kraken’s best all night as they finished with a 57.89 percent Corsi and outshot the Flames 5-3 at 5-on-5. On the power play, he registered one of the Kraken’s two shots which almost tied the game late as he was able to draw a penalty with just under four minutes left. This was a good first game for him as he was able to demonstrate that not only can he play in the NHL, but he has the potential to be one of the top players in the league one day.
Kraken’s Third Period Collapse
Although the Kraken held a 3-1 lead going into the third period, the Flames were able to torch them for four unanswered goals. Two of those goals came on the power play as they could not stay disciplined in the final frame. Chris Driedger played well but ultimately Calgary’s relentless attack was too much and they were able to walk away with the victory.
The Kraken’s third periods have been an issue all year. They have given up 93 third-period goals this season which is the fourth-most in the NHL. They are also tied for the most regulation losses when leading after two periods with four. Going into next season, playing a full 60 minutes needs to be a point of emphasis. If they do not work on their third-period scoring, it could mean missing the playoffs in their first two seasons in the NHL.
Kraken Exhibit Strong 5-on-5 Play
The good news from a team perspective is that the Kraken outplayed Calgary at 5-on-5. They outscored the Flames 3-2 and outshot them 18-17. While the Corsi was balanced at 50 percent for each team, they created more scoring chances and high danger chances during the 49 minutes of 5-on-5 time. For comparison, the Flames have a 55.75 percent team Corsi this season while the Kraken are at 50.32 percent.
Being able to keep up and even outplay one of the best teams in the league at 5-on-5 is impressive. This game was actually the first time since Feb. 13 versus the Avalanche that the Flames didn’t lead in 5-on-5 Corsi during a game and was tied for the lowest amount of shots generated at even strength in a game all season. The Kraken did something few in the NHL have been able to do this season in outplaying the Flames at 5-on-5. Despite the loss, there are a lot of positive takeaways from this game and it shows they are capable of competing with one of the top teams in the NHL.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.