For the first time in NHL history, the Seattle Kraken won a home playoff game defeating the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in overtime of Game 4. The heroics were provided by none other than Jordan Eberle, who scored three minutes into overtime on the power play. Here are five takeaways from the historic win.
The Makar Hit
Just under eight and a half minutes into the second period, Cale Makar hit Jared McCann into the boards, injuring the 40-goal scorer. The problem was that the puck was nowhere near the play, and the Kraken forward could not brace himself for the hit. He did not return to the game, and afterward, coach Dave Hakstol revealed he will be unavailable for Game 5. Originally uncalled by the referees on the ice, a major was given out, but after a review, the penalty was reduced to just a minor for interference.
Plain and simple, this was a dirty play and is being reviewed by the league. Judgments by the refs have been criticized all throughout the playoffs, but for this crew to look at the play and determine it was a simple interference call is absurd. As mentioned, the puck was nowhere near the play, and Makar’s forearm drove McCann’s head into the glass. Kraken fans have every right to be angry with the play, as while Colorado’s star defenceman only had to sit for two minutes; Seattle lost their leading goal scorer from the regular season for the game and potentially longer.
Kraken Score First Once Again
For the fourth straight game, the Seattle Kraken scored first, with Will Borgen scoring his first career playoff goal just under four minutes into the first period. According to the NHL, this was just the second time in league history a team has opened the scoring in each of their first four playoff games, joining the 1918 Toronto Arenas, who later on defeated the Vancouver Millionaires to win the Stanley Cup. Of note, in order for Vancouver to make the Stanley Cup Final that season, they had to defeat the Seattle Metropolitans in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association Championship, who, the year prior, won their only Stanley Cup in franchise history.
One of the strengths of this Kraken team so far has been their play in the first period. Through four games, they have scored the second-most first-period goals with six, which is one behind the Tampa Bay Lightning, while holding Colorado to just three. This is even more impressive when looking at the regular season, as the Avalanche scored the seventh most first-period goals with 83 and were just three behind the Kraken, who finished third with 86.
Kraken Dominate Across The Scoresheet
The statistics from Game 4 just back up the fact that Seattle dominated Colorado from start to finish. The Kraken outshot the Avalanche 43 to 22 and even blocked more shots, leading that category 23 to 18. Seattle knew what was at stake, playing arguably their best game of the season, and was rewarded with an overtime victory.
Through all three previous games, Seattle has not been afraid to play physically. They averaged 39.33 hits per game and had eight more hits total than Colorado. Game 4, however, was a completely different story, as the Kraken recorded 52 hits compared to the Avalanche’s 37. Led by Eeli Tolvanen’s eight, Seattle laid a hit every chance they got, which helped throw Colorado off their game at times. The Kraken need to find a way to replicate how they played in Game 4 during Game 5 if they have their sights on winning the series on home ice in Game 6.
Jaden Schwartz Puts On A Show
In what was maybe his best game as a Kraken, Jaden Schwartz finished Game 4 with an assist, 11 shots on goal, a hit, a takeaway and won 75% of his 12 faceoffs in 20:01 of ice time. As for his even strength analytics, he finished the night with a 71.88% Corsi rating, was on the ice for 12 shots for compared to three against and had an expected goals for of 1.31 compared to an expected goals against of 0.22. While he may not have scored, it is hard to argue he wasn’t the best player on the ice as he put on a show in front of the home fans.
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This isn’t the first big playoff game Schwartz has had for the Kraken, as he scored twice in Game 3, including Seattle’s first-ever home goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Over his career, he now has 58 points in 92 playoff games which included 20 points in 26 games en route to the 2019 Stanley Cup. While he may not post 11 shots in a single game again, as he has never recorded more than seven in a playoff game during his career, the Kraken will be leaning on him to keep providing offence as the series continues. This is one of the reasons Seattle signed him to a massive contract in free agency; he shows up in big moments.
Jordan Eberle Adds His Name To The Record Books
A player known for scoring big goals, Eberle added another to his long list scoring on the power play in overtime to win Game 4. This was his second career overtime playoff goal as he also scored in double overtime of the Islanders’ Game 5 Eastern Conference Final victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020. The goal was his first of the 2023 Playoffs, as he now has points in back-to-back games.
Seattle has been the home for some great playoff performances in the past. Whether it was the Seattle Seahawks and the “Beast Quake” in 2011, the Seattle Mariners walking off the ALDS against the New York Yankees in 1995, or watching the Seattle Storm win multiple championships, including at home in 2004. Now, the Kraken have added to this long list with a moment few in Seattle will forget for a long time.
Best Of Three Begins
With the series split at two games a piece, the goal is simple, win two of three games and Seattle advances. If anything, the Kraken have proven they deserve to be in this spot but will need to keep up their strong play if they want to make history. Game 5 is set for April 26, where with a win, they will have a chance to eliminate the defending Cup champions at Climate Pledge Arena in Game 6.