ESPN’s Linda Cohn: Kraken proved to Avs ‘they mean business,’ so what’s next?
Apr 22, 2023, 2:09 PM | Updated: 2:10 pm
(Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Saturday night is going to be a big one as its the first-ever home playoff game for the Seattle Kraken.
The Kraken may have dropped Game 2 to the Colorado Avalanche 3-2, but they’ve played the defending champs very tough and head back home after splitting two games in Denver.
So what should we make of the series so far? And what should we keep an eye on going forward? ESPN’s Linda Cohn, a SportsCenter anchor and NHL reporter, joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy on Friday to break it down.
“When it comes to the Seattle Kraken, I know there’s a part of this fan base … that are like, ‘Oh, we’re just happy to be here,'” she said. “But no … you’re in it to win it. I don’t care if it’s your first time around, I don’t care it’s only your second year. Dave Hakstol’s team, they’re a 100-point team, they have proven they belong and they have proven to the defending champs look out, they mean business. They did that in Game 1 and they almost pulled it off in Game 2.”
Game 1 went about as well as it could have for the Kraken, who scored early, got great goaltending and won 3-1.
Game 2 started well with the Kraken jumping out to an early 2-0 lead, but the Avalanche clamped things down after that, scoring three unanswered to get a 3-2 win and even the series.
“The Avs had to dig deep to find a way. They took advantage of an opportunity and a big rebound left by Grubauer – who’s been sensational, by the way, in these two games,” Cohn said. ” … They just didn’t allow Seattle to break out of their zone. They kind of slowed them down.”
The Kraken “know how to create opportunities off their speed,” Cohn said, but the Avs “took them down a notch when they had to” in Game 2 in order to even the series.
“They couldn’t do it the whole game, but they did it enough to find a way to create an opportunity and win,” she said. “This is going to be a long series, folks. It helps to be home, hopefully, for Seattle fans’ sake, and they use that to their advantage … It’s such a fun team to watch. Knock on wood, now they’re getting the netminding, so anything’s possible.”
Even though nabbing two wins on the road was right there for the Kraken, that Seattle got the split was exactly what the team needed to do, Cohn said. Now, it sets up what should be an incredible atmosphere on Saturday.
“The fans are going to be out of this world, out of its mind loud. That’s all great, but the Kraken have to stay on their mission and not get caught up in that and just play their game,” she said.
What’s potentially promising for the Kraken moving forward is that their best skaters haven’t made much of an impact on the offensive side of things.
Seattle’s top line of Jordan Eberle, rookie Matty Beniers and leading scorer Jared McCann have yet to score a single collective point.
That the Kraken are tied 1-1 heading home with their top line having been shutout so far is actually potentially a good thing, Cohn said.
“Here’s the really good news: The top line hasn’t even been a factor for the Seattle Kraken yet,” she said. “You heard Jordan Eberle yesterday, he’s like, ‘We’re going to be better and we’re going to be better at home.’ And the Kraken are going to need Jared McCann, Matty Beniers and Jordan Eberle to do more than just play their normal, solid 200-foot game. They’re going to have to start producing for the Seattle Kraken to upset the reigning Stanley Cup champs.”
Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.