The last time the Kraken and Avalanche met, second-year Seattle eliminated defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado in Game 7 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series this past spring.
So, the visiting Avalanche should have sufficient motivation to spoil Seattle’s home opener when the two teams meet on Tuesday night.
However, the Kraken haven’t been playing like a playoff team thus far. They went 0-2-1 on their season-opening, three-game road trip, scoring just two goals while allowing nine. Seattle lost 2-1 to the St. Louis Blues in a shootout on Saturday to earn its lone point.
“Until we start seeing some momentum offensively, we’re going to have to work hard. We’ve probably got to find a couple that are dirty goals, inside, rebounds,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “As soon as those start going in the net, guys start feeling a little bit better. They loosen up a little bit more.”
It hasn’t helped that forward Brandon Tanev, the team’s emotional leader, was knocked out of the season opener with a lower-body injury. The team announced Monday that Tanev is expected to miss four to six weeks.
“I think we’re creating a lot of chances. We’re playing good games,” said Kraken winger Andre Burakovsky, who missed the second half of last season with a groin injury. “We just need to score — that’s about it.”
Goaltenders Philipp Grubauer and Joey Daccord have played well and the penalty kill is a perfect 11-for-11, but the Kraken seem to be missing some of the swagger they used to take both Colorado and Dallas to seven games in the playoffs.
“Our play away from the puck needs to be a lot better,” Seattle defenseman Vince Dunn said. “We’ve talked about that a lot. Just trusting our instincts, playing with confidence.”
The Avalanche won both of their games in the opening week of the season, but their biggest news might have been the signing of defenseman Devon Toews to a seven-year contract extension worth $50.75 million.
“We’re thrilled to have him in an Avalanche sweater for the next eight years,” Colorado general manager Chris MacFarland said. “He has emerged as one of the best defensemen in the NHL and is a huge part of the core of this team. He logs heavy minutes in all situations — five-on-five, power play and penalty kill, plays against the opposition’s top lines and is one of the top point-producing defenders in the game, as well.
“And most importantly, he is one of our team leaders both on and off the ice.”
The Avalanche are coming off Saturday’s 2-1 shootout victory over San Jose, as Cale Makar scored with 1:26 remaining in regulation to spoil a 51-save effort by the Sharks’ Mackenzie Blackwood.
“I think we played hard, we were competitive, we did a lot of good things,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “But when it came to creating scoring chances or capitalizing on the scoring chance, we just missed the last part of the execution. So, it probably forced some plays for a while but got better as the game went on. Third period was definitely our best.”