At the point when the Seattle Kraken upset the Colorado Torrential slide in the Western Conference First Round, overcoming the safeguarding Stanley Cup champions 2-1 in Game 7 at Ball Field on Sunday, they demonstrated something to everybody resting on Seattle.
After making 33 saves, goalie Philipp Grubauer called himself “incredible.” “It means a lot to the organization and this team. And obviously for the people that have written us off early in the season or since the start, yeah, here we are.”
They are in the second round and will play the Dallas Stars in Game 1 on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. ET at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
This looked amazing from the outside.
The Kraken made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time, earning the first wild card in the West, despite finishing 30th in the NHL in their inaugural season. A team has never won a playoff series for the first time by defeating a defending champion. Seattle, however, was the first.
The Kraken scored first in each of the seven games, won three of the four games in Denver, and never panicked in a seesaw series in which they led 1-0, trailed 2-1, took a 3-2 lead, and won Game 7 after coming back from a 4-1 loss in Game 6.
They had 15 players score without getting an objective from forward Jared McCann, who drove them with 40 objectives in the standard season, or forward Andre Burakovsky, who scored 13 objectives in the normal season. McCann (chest area) didn’t play after Game 4. Since February 7, Burakovsky (lower body) has not played.
After scoring twice, forward Oliver Bjorkstrand stated, “I think it says it all about our team.” Simply depth. “It’s just depth. Every line can score on any given night — defensemen, forwards, whatever. It’s how we have success as a team. It’s something we’ve got to keep striving for.”
Yep. This wasn’t as surprising if you looked below the surface.
This team scored 100 points this season, regardless of what transpired last season. The Kraken went 2-0-1 against the Torrential slide in the ordinary season, remembering 2-0-0 for Denver. Their roster included a lot of playoff experience, including Game 7 experience.
They had 13 players score 13 objectives or more and found the middle value of 3.52 objectives per game, tied for fourth in the NHL with the New Jersey Villains.
“It’s huge, but we’ve shown it all year that we can play with the best, we can beat the best,” Grubauer said. “Obviously, when you look at the regular-season games (against the Avalanche), they were pretty tight and pretty even, so nobody on our side thought they were going to sweep us in four games.”
For a significant portion of this series, the Kraken simply outperformed the Avalanche. They took the middle of the ice defensively and were aggressive on the forecheck.
“I think they’re highly competitive, as competitive as any team we’ve played,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “Everyone’s talked about their depth all year, but I agree with it. It’s a deep team.
“Every line plays the same, very structured. [Coach Dave Hakstol has] got them playing the way they have to play to have success. I thought Grubauer was outstanding in the series. They’ve got good goaltending, strong, physical [defensemen] that make it hard on you to create chances.”
You must acknowledge that the Avalanche were not the same team as last season because of injuries, departures, and absences.
You must respect the League’s parity. The Kraken upset the Torrential slide that very day the Florida Jaguars upset the Boston Bruins, who set the NHL standards for the two successes (65) and focuses (135). The Jaguars weren’t exactly the longshots they showed up, by the same token. As the NHL’s best regular-season team, they won the Presidents’ Trophy last year.
According to Bednar, he wouldn’t have been surprised if any series ended in a different way.
“You’ve got to play your best hockey in order to win the series,” Bednar said. “We played hard. We didn’t play our best for seven games.”
But most importantly, you have to respect the Kraken.
Forward Yanni Gourde said, “It’s amazing.” It is a wonderful feeling. I’m so happy for this group. Especially in our second year in this League, we fought so hard.
“Just making the playoffs is an accomplishment. We battled so hard all year long. But getting the win here in Game 7 showed how much character, how much care we have for one another, how much belief we have in this locker room, in this group.”
Over the past two weeks, the Kraken have achieved a number of firsts, including their first victory in Game 7. They now qualify for the second round for the first time.
Who knows what else might transpire?
“I want our guys to enjoy this, and they should,” Hakstol said. “We know it’s going to be a quick turnaround, but we’ll get to that tomorrow. Enjoy the work that they put in. Enjoy the success. We’ll regroup and we’ll get our foot back on the gas.”
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