BRANDON GUSTAFSON

Despite debut loss, Seattle Kraken look like they will win fans over

Oct 12, 2021, 10:39 PM | Updated: Oct 13, 2021, 2:58 pm

Seattle Kraken...

Morgan Geekie of the Seattle Kraken scores against the Vegas Golden Knights and is greeted by Ryan Donato in the third period of the Kraken's inaugural regular-season game at T-Mobile Arena. (Sam Morris/Getty Images)

(Sam Morris/Getty Images)

An event years in the making finally occurred with the first-ever Seattle Kraken game on Tuesday night. And while it unfortunately didn’t go Seattle’s way as the Vegas Golden Knights took the season opener 4-3, it’s safe to say that this team made it clear why many in the Pacific Northwest will be falling in love with the Kraken sooner rather than later – if they haven’t already.

Recap: Kraken comeback falls short in 4-3 lossMike Salk’s Observations

What did we hear all offseason since Seattle’s expansion draft? They’re a defense-led team that could struggle to generate goals and pressure on the opposition. So naturally, the Kraken burst onto the scene with a flurry of shots on goal, including one from first-line winger Jordan Eberle that was inches away from being the first goal in franchise history.

It wasn’t, and the Kraken instead would surrender two goals in the first period to a Golden Knights team that very well may be challenging to hoist the Stanley Cup come season’s end.

Remember, this is a Vegas team that in four years of existence has gone to the conference finals three times and the Stanley Cup Finals once, and it’s once again expected to finish among the NHL’s best. Needless to say, this was quite the opening test for this brand new Kraken team that was only put together in late July.

After finding themselves down 2-0, it looked like the Kraken were on their way to a blowout loss after back-to-back penalties and a third Golden Knights goal in the second period.

Then the lights came on.

While Eberle didn’t get the first goal in Kraken history in the first period, the honor would go to Ryan Donato, who was in the right place at the right time after a Vince Dunn miss. He got the puck and punched it in to make history.

The Kraken weren’t done there, either, with Jared McCann, who almost didn’t play due to COVID-19 protocol, scoring just 69 seconds later.

It was clear from there that the Kraken will not be a team that goes down easy, and will be one that can hang with the NHL’s elite.

Morgan Geekie would tie things at 3-3 before Vegas answered with the decider just 35 seconds later, taking the season opener 4-3 and sending the Kraken packing with a loss in the franchise’s first-ever game.

Obviously, the Seattle faithful would have liked a win. But how can you watch that game and not be excited for the future of hockey in Seattle?

The flurry of early shots was a very welcome sight. Despite the four goals allowed, Phillip Grubauer made some nifty saves while under duress against a very fast and explosive Vegas attack. Two of the team’s three goals came from the third line.

And, maybe most importantly, this team fought tooth and nail to get back in. Down 3-1 on the road against one of the best teams in hockey, it wouldn’t have been too surprising had this game gotten even more out of hand with Vegas scoring five or more. But the Seattle Kraken roared back and, while falling short, showed every Seattle fan why this is a team worth investing in from the very beginning.

I can understand if you weren’t among the many who fell in love with the Seattle Kraken and the sport of hockey after this loss. I get it. But this team showed that it will eventually win you over, especially after its effort against a team like Vegas on the road.

Was it pretty? Not really. Were there mistakes that led to Vegas goals? Totally. And it took a little bit for the team to click, but the Seattle Kraken wound up looking like the playoff team that many project them to be.

Next up, a trip to Tennessee to take on the Nashville Predators.

Is it Thursday night yet?

Just how close is Yanni Gourde, potential face of the Kraken, to his debut?

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Despite debut loss, Seattle Kraken look like they will win fans over