Recap: Kraken serve a heartbreaker to the Avalanche
Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images
Death, taxes, and the Seattle Kraken being annoying to play hockey against. The undefeated home record is no more.
While the Colorado Avalanche managed to battle back from being down twice in this game, it just wouldn't be enough in the end. Some late drama from the Seattle Kraken saw them escape Ball Arena with a 4-3 win under their belt Thursday night.
The Kraken played their usual style of hockey - clogging up the middle of the ice, constantly putting the pressure on the Avs, and never not working both on and off the puck. Both teams likely deserved a point, but Colorado came out empty-handed in this affair between these two rivals.
The Avalanche came out on the front foot, as they had several chances and were outshooting Seattle 5-1 at one point. The best one came when Mikko Rantanen had a wide-open net blocked by Vince Dunn. It didn’t mean the Kraken didn’t have their chances though, as Ivan Prosvetov denied a slot chance from rookie Shane Wright.
But, Seattle would grow into the game more with chances from Devin Shore and Tye Kartye on some odd-man rushes, which Prosvetov stood tall for. This was all thanks to the Kraken playing their style, and making it a pain for the Avs to break through them.
It eventually did benefit them, as their growth in the game led to the opening goal. It came from Jaden Schwartz taking advantage of a stickless Rantanen and placing it top corner through traffic.
SEEEEEAATLEKRAKENGOAL!!!Jaden Schwartz keeps the party going with his 8th point in a row but it was Shane Wright and his friends who set this up, as astutely pointed out by Edzo.1-0 Seattle1:211st pic.twitter.com/aeRJvRABqU— Davy Jones' Locker Room (@DavyJonesLR) November 10, 2023
Eeli Tolvanen almost converted in the final 20 seconds himself. But, Prosvetov did just enough in a solid period to keep his team only down one heading into the locker room.
Seattle continued to play their frustrating way of hockey. This was exemplified further by the one early chance the Avs had with Frederik Olofsson returning from injury dart into the zone and getting denied by Grubauer.
It would only get worse for the Avs as Oliver Bjorkstrand managed to fight off a hard-charging Artturi Lehkonen hit in the open ice. He was able to corral the puck and beat Prosvetov to double the Kraken lead.
SEATTLE KRAKEN GOAL!!OLIVER BJORKSTRAND WITH THE BULLET GIVES THE KRAKEN A 2-0 LEAD2-0 Kraken15:312nd pic.twitter.com/wAJTEpRqQG— Davy Jones' Locker Room (@DavyJonesLR) November 10, 2023
But, it wouldn’t take long for Colorado to respond - 28 seconds to be exact. This was done by a great tap pass by Lehkonen to create a 2-on-1 for Nathan MacKinnon who found Bowen Byram to cut the lead in half.
We want Bo goals!#GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/SiX55LJUZU— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) November 10, 2023
Just when it seemed like the Avs could fight their way back into it, two penalties by Josh Manson and the bench for too many men led to Matty Beniers scoring his first goal of the season on the power play to extend the lead to two.
MATTY BENIERS SCORES!!! HE DID IT!!!THE MONKEY IS OFF THE BACKIT'S A 3-1 KRAKEN LEAD AND IT'S A POWER PLAY GOAL!!!!!3-1 Kraken8:252nd pic.twitter.com/Wbqt3VScTj— Davy Jones' Locker Room (@DavyJonesLR) November 10, 2023
Then, trouble struck the Avalanche in a major way. Lehkonen would be hit lightly by Jamie Oleksiak right by the net. This caused him to toe-pick himself head-first right into the bottom of the boards. He was in severe pain and needed plenty of help getting off the ice, dazed and bloodied in the face. He would not return to the game.
Here’s the Lehkonen play. Brutal way to go into the boards. Poor guy. #GoAvsGopic.twitter.com/NaXCi6vetA— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) November 10, 2023
His teammates would back it up for him on the ice though. The Avalanche took advantage when MacKinnon was found all alone in front by Cale Makar to make it just a one-goal difference in the final intermission. Despite failing on a couple of power play chances, they had a shot at it with 20 minutes to go.
I think you wanna cover 29 in the slot! #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/GbzOcLi6jY— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) November 10, 2023
After killing off a Valeri Nichushkin interference penalty, it would give the Avs some life. Their strength grew from the penalty kill, and they forced the Kraken back into their own zone and created some excellent offensive chances.
While they couldn't do anything in the first half of the period, they would in the second half. Finally breaking through, Devon Toews would smash one from the point through a whole load of traffic in front of Philipp Grubauer where Nichushkin used his new-dad strength to tip it in and tie the game at three with 7:45 to go.
The Burgundy and Blue make it 3-3.#GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/0nb4zHwEHt— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) November 10, 2023
Tensions would grow once again as Andrew Cogliano was on the receiving end of another hit on the numbers by Vince Dunn right along the benches. Byram would stand up for him, as they dropped the gloves and wrestled each other to the ice. Both would be assessed roughing penalties, but Byram’s would be a double-minor and there would be no punishment for the initial hit.
While the Avs would have another power play chance, they would kick themselves for not taking the opportunity - especially Ryan Johansen who had a stellar chance roll off his stick with an open net. This would be because Bjorkstrand with 31.6 seconds to go would score his second of the game, and make it a heartbreaking 4-3 loss in the final seconds.
SEAATTLEKRAKENGOALWITH 32.8 SECONDS LEFT THE AVALANCHE KILLER OLIVER BJORKSTRAND KRAKEN LEAD 4-3TIME OUT AVALANCHE4-3 KRAKEN32.8 SECONDS3RD pic.twitter.com/HEAACR2QqM— Davy Jones' Locker Room (@DavyJonesLR) November 10, 2023
There is certainly going to be concern surrounding Lehkonen. He would be taken to the hospital for further evaluation and as a precaution after the hit he was on the receiving end of.
Jared Bednar said in his postgame press conference the concern was “high” but didn’t think it was a penalty.
It was a tough spot to be in, and you could certainly argue either way as to whether this was a legal hockey play or not. Now, with Lehkonen out for who knows how long, who steps up in his place? Where does this team go without one of their most underrated players in the lineup?
Artturi Lehkonen left tonight’s game in the second period. He is alert, responsive and has full movement. He is being taken to a local hospital as a precaution for further evaluation.— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) November 10, 2023
Meanwhile, Prosvetov in net looked solid in his second game in burgundy and blue. However, there may have been a few people who were surprised to see him play tonight rather than the usual netminder Alexandar Georgiev. Now after the result of this game, you’d wonder if this would’ve turned out any different if Georgiev was in the net. Granted, in all four of the Kraken goals Prosvetov could not do much more, but if Georgiev managed to control the game a little bit better in the crease it could’ve made a difference moving forward. But now, it’s all “what if” for this matchup.
Thursday’s game was also the Avalanche’s annual “Hockey Fights Cancer Night.” While both teams were playing for much more off the ice, there was also plenty of emotion off the ice. This week marked one year since the passing of Peter McNab, a true stalwart for hockey in Colorado since its introduction in 1995. In honor of him and his family in attendance, he earned the honor of being enshrined in Avalanche lore forever, now with the newly-named Peter McNab Broadcast Booth in an emotional ceremony.
It's official.The Peter McNab Broadcast booth. pic.twitter.com/lYkRhAC2sg— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) November 10, 2023
The Avalanche wrap up their three-game home stand Saturday night by welcoming the St. Louis Blues to town once again. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. MT....
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