Despite having a chance to make history and win their first-ever playoff series, the Seattle Kraken fell 4-1 in Game 6 to the Colorado Avalanche. Despite Seattle having home ice for this game, Colorado was the better team and kept their season alive with the victory. Here are four takeaways from the game.
Kraken’s Penalty Kill Keeps Them In The Game
Starting off positively, the Kraken’s penalty kill once again came up big for the team as they went 5-for-5 while shorthanded. Philipp Grubauer made 12 saves to keep Colorado’s deadly power play off the scoresheet. This is now the fifth occasion Seattle has kept the Avalanche’s power play off the scoresheet, with the only goal against coming in Game 4.
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The Kraken doing so well on the penalty kill is very unexpected, especially considering how the two teams fared in the regular season. While Colorado had the sixth-best power play, Seattle finished 21st in the league on the penalty kill. Of note, though, they didn’t allow a power-play goal against while playing the Avalanche, killing off all six penalties. They have done a great job so far this year against Colorado on the penalty kill but will need one more strong effort if they want to take the series in Game 7.
Seattle’s Power Play Continues To Struggle
On the flip side of the special teams’ argument, the Kraken’s power play once again let them down, failing to convert on all three of their chances and registering just four shots on goal. Overall, Seattle has scored just three times on 21 attempts while also having given up a shorthanded goal against during Game 3. This is a major weakness in the Kraken game, as the power play has looked passive at times, with constant giveaways and retreats into their own end.
The power play was an issue going back to the regular season, as the Kraken ranked 21st in the league at 19.8 percent. They also had issues when facing Colorado, only converting once on 12 attempts during the season. If the Kraken can find a way to break through on the power play in Game 7, it could be exactly what is needed to push them past Colorado and into the second round.
Tough Night For Seattle’s Matchup Line
After playing so well through the first five games of the series, Game 6 was one to forget for the Kraken’s third line of Eeli Tolvanen, Yanni Gourde and Oliver Bjorkstrand. The trio played 10:40 together at 5-on-5, were outshot 8-to-1 and were on the ice for the game-winning goal. This performance showed just how important they are to this team and why it is crucial they shake off this game and try to refocus heading into Game 7.
Looking back at the first five games of the series, a trend has popped up in regard to the third line. When the trio either has the same amount of shots on goal or more than they give up, the Kraken win. On the other hand, when they give up more shots on goal than they produce, Seattle loses. Going into Game 7, this will be a trend to keep an eye on as they play the most important game so far in Kraken history.
Another Strong Game From Grubauer
Coming into this series, few players had more pressure on them than Grubauer. For the Kraken to even have a chance, he would have to put aside his up-and-down regular-season play and prove to Seattle they made the right move making him the highest-paid player in the organization. In Game 6, he once again kept the Kraken in the game, stopping 35 of the 38 shots he faced, surpassing the 30-save mark for the third time this series.
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Outside of Game 3, Grubauer has been fantastic for the Kraken and has kept them in games for as long as possible. He recorded a save percentage above .920 percent for the fourth time this series in Game 6 and has been the Kraken’s best penalty killer throughout the series posting a .969 percent while shorthanded. If Seattle has a shot of pulling off this upset, he will need to be the best player on the ice as he looks to shut down the defending Stanley Cup Champions on the road in Game 7.
Anything Can Happen In Game 7
Based on the past six games, the Kraken have shown the hockey world they deserve this opportunity. They have battled hard all series and now are potentially 60 minutes away from winning their first playoff round in franchise history. Regardless of the outcome, this is a team the city of Seattle can be proud of and one that has an extremely bright future moving forward. Game 7 takes place in Colorado on Sun, April 30 at 6:30 pm PST, with all eyes in the hockey world focused on what this plucky group from the Emerald City can do with a chance to advance to the second round on the line.