I’m not sure how to say this, but the Seattle Kraken might be good. They’ve won five times in a row, including extending the Pittsburgh Penguins’ losing streak to both four and seven games along the way. The official NHL website has power-ranked them as a playoff-caliber team. For a team that was so bad last year and had such an abysmal start this year, the Kraken are now second place in their division behind the 12-2 Las Vegas Golden Knights (who they will encounter on Nov. 25). Their 18 points would actually be leading the Central division right now, who have a two-way tie at the top between Winnipeg and Dallas at 17 points.
Likely, the highlight of this streak was the 5-4 thriller over the Calgary Flames I talked about last week, but it’s worth mentioning the 4-0 shutout over the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 3. Goalie Martin Jones, who was among those that I have previously slandered, put together 22 saves that night, marking his first shutout since April 2, 2021.
Most recently, it was the Nashville Predators who gave Seattle their fifth consecutive win in an explosive fashion. Jordan Eberle scored his second goal of the season under a minute into the game, and the wheels fell off for the opposition. Seven minutes later, Will Borgen netted his second goal of the year. Andre Burakovsky scored his fourth eight minutes later. Just one additional minute after that, Eberle scored his second goal of the game to make it 4-0 in the first period. Brandon Tanev would score his third goal in the third period, but the game was won at that point with a final score of 5-1.
First of all, Jones is owed an apology. He has now won four games in a row as goalie, allowing just four goals in that timeframe. His .907 save percentage is now on par with his career average that led him to a Stanley Cup win in 2013-14 and an All-Star appearance in 2015-16. He has played the most games of any goalie with an average (but increasing) save percentage and only allowing 2.4 goals per game. As an additional note, a “quality start” is awarded to a goalie when they save 90-plus percent of their shots against on a given day. Jones has 10 starts this year with six quality starts, including four in a row. Adding his defensive capabilities to an offense that can overpower anybody is a priceless ability.
What feels particularly important to note, however, is how impressive this team has been on the road. The Kraken are 3-3-1 at home, which is on a par with 3-3-0, where they were through 14 games in their inaugural year. However, while Seattle was 1-6-1 on the road at this point last year, they are 5-1-1 so far in 2022. Regardless of sport, it’s hard to narrow down why a team might be successful away from home. However, it shows definitively that they are not shaken by the pressure of an opposing crowd, which is invaluable should they play big games. Baseball’s Houston Astros have notably been excellent on the road, and it’s led them to four World Series appearances in the last five years.
The Kraken have shown an ability to both blow out opponents and take the edge in tight matchups. They can and have been winning all types of games, which is a very encouraging sign for their season.