KRAKEN

Seattle Kraken power play has lacked, so how can it get on track?

Nov 4, 2021, 10:42 AM
Seattle Kraken Mark Giordano...
Mark Giordano of the Seattle Kraken in action against the Minnesota Wild during the second period. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Kraken are looking to finish chances and improve their overall scoring. That includes scoring off the power play, which has been a struggle.

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Seattle’s power play has started 3-for-32 and is 30th in the league in efficiency. The last power-play goal that the Seattle Kraken scored came back on Oct. 19 during a 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. In the five games since, they are 0 for 17 with the man advantage.

Finding a power-play goal can be the difference between losing a close game, like the 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers, and squeaking out a win. Seattle’s power play is suffering from the same malady as the 5-on-5 offense.

“Big narrative on the scoring side of it,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said at Wednesday’s practice. “We had good looks and good opportunities. The thing that has to remain is to play real sound defensively… (We have to) continue creating, create off a transition, which we are. Until we start getting the bounces around the net, we’ve got to get a little hungrier.”

The Kraken worked on the power play to end practice Wednesday and have two opportunities this week to get some production, and momentum, out of it.

Buffalo visits the Climate Pledge Arena Thursday night and despite a strong start, the Sabres have dropped two in a row and were projected at the start of the season to be one of the worst teams in the league. Buffalo has been killing penalties well early in the season, but Seattle should be able to solve it.

Saturday, The Kraken travel to play the Arizona Coyotes who have yet to win a game and have the league’s worst penalty kill. Power-play units often are streaky and getting a couple goals can awaken the unit and help the Kraken get that one goal to make a difference.

What’s wrong with the Seattle power play?

The Kraken power play, much like their offense, is doing some things right.

They had three chances against Edmonton on Monday, got six shots but again, no goals.

On the first power play, late in the first period, they started by losing the faceoff. That’s key as Seattle had to start by chasing. They struggled to get into the zone cleanly and get their power play set up, dumping the puck in and not being able to win the battles to be effective.

Later power plays were better.

Two minutes into the second period the Kraken went on the man advantage again. Right off the faceoff, which Seattle won, Yanni Gourde had a good look from left of the slot but missed the net completely. Later, Calle Jarnkrok had a good look, but Edmonton goalie Mikko Koskinen made the save.

A few minutes after that chance, the Kraken went back to the power play.

They had a good chance from Joonas Donskoi off the rush but otherwise, despite getting set up in the zone, kept the passes to the outside. They had chances to shoot but opted to pass, which allowed the penalty kill to stay in their box. Seattle could have used a shot with net front traffic to cause some chaos for the penalty kill.

“We’ve gotta get one to go for us,” Hakstol, who said he counted six Grade A scoring chances on the power play Monday, “You’d like to have a little bit of puck luck somewhere along the way. Until that starts happening and falling our way, we got to get a little hungry around the blue paint. We got to get a little hungry on seconds and really working to find one.”

Hakstol is right.

There is no need for a complete overhaul of the power play systems or personnel. They’re getting in the zone cleanly; they’re getting their unit set up in the zone, and they just need to keep getting shots and crashing the net.

The goals will come. The law of averages suggests they have to.

Who is going to get the big goal?

It hasn’t helped the Kraken that Jared McCann has missed the last two games in the COVID protocol. McCann not only leads Seattle in scoring, but he also has two of the team’s three power-play goals. He was on the first unit, playing off the halfwall and was dangerous.

Hakstol used the same power play units in practice Wednesday that he did on Monday. The first unit featured Mark Giordano on the point with Ryan Donato and Jarnkrok on the wall. In front it was Gourde and Jordan Eberle.

All five of those players can score and have the skill set to be productive power-play guys.

The second unit featured Vince Dunn at the point with Morgan Geekie and Alex Wennberg on the outside, Donskoi and Jaden Schwartz in front.

These 10 players will need to find a way to get hungry and get a power-play goal. As is the case with the offense overall, the feeling is that if they get one, the floodgates will open.

It will be something to keep an eye on as the Kraken look to snap a two-game losing streak.

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