Kraken look to continue offensive surge vs. Kings

Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports

As an expansion team, the Seattle Kraken achieved franchise “firsts” nearly every game last season, especially early in the campaign.

They established a trio of franchise records in Game 1 of their second season, a 5-4 overtime loss Wednesday at Anaheim.

The Kraken hope to take that offensive momentum into a Thursday night game road game against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Kraken, who had the NHL’s 29th-ranked offense last season, set marks with three power-play goals, 48 shots overall and 20 shots in a period.

“It shows that we’re hungry, we want to get to the net and we want to get a lot of shots,” said Kraken forward Oliver Bjorkstrand, an offseason acquisition from the Columbus Blue Jackets. “So, that’s a positive. Again, there were a lot of positives in this game. It’s just some small mistakes we’ve got to straighten out.”

The Kraken tied for 28th in goals per game last season (2.60) and were 29th in the 32-team league in both shots per game (29.0 per game) and power-play success (14.5 percent).

It would appear Seattle improved in those areas, as Jared McCann, free agent signee Andre Burakovsky and Bjorkstrand tallied on the power play. Defenseman Justin Schultz added two assists in his Kraken debut.

Rookie Matty Beniers, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NHL draft, had a goal and an assist. Beniers’ goal at 4:09 of the third period gave the Kraken a 4-2 lead, but they couldn’t hold on and lost on Troy Terry’s OT breakaway.

“We’ve just got to figure out how to close out those games,” Beniers said. “We had played pretty well. It was just kind of in the last 10 or 12 minutes when they had a late push and we didn’t have a very good response.”

The Kings also took a heartbreaking loss in their opener, as Vegas’ Mark Stone scored with 25.5 seconds remaining in regulation to give the visiting Golden Knights a 4-3 victory on Tuesday.

Gabriel Vilardi had a goal and an assist for the Kings, Adrian Kempe and Arthur Kaliyev also tallied and goaltender Jonathan Quick made 47 saves.

It appeared the Kings were content to earn a point and take their chances in overtime with defenseman Sean Durzi holding the puck behind his own net in the final minute. However, Durzi then attempted a stretch pass that was intercepted, and Vegas scored the winner in transition.

“We were still in it at the end of the night,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “But obviously the focus is going to be on the play at the end, which makes no sense. It’s hard to defend it. But our team gave up 51 shots on goal.”

McLellan seemed baffled by the Kings’ inconsistent play, even for an opener.

“At times when we were connected, we were fast,” McLellan said. “Other times disconnected, the passing was off, timing was off. Forwards wanted the puck, (defensemen) held on. Forwards needed to get the puck, or (the defensemen) needed to get the puck up, forwards weren’t available. So, work to do.”

–Field Level Media

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