Kraken’s losing streak reaches nine games as scoring struggle continues

Moments after his team’s first home game in two weeks ended in even more disappointment, Kraken keeper Chris Driedger epitomized the frustration of a shocked side who, once again, failed to couldn’t find a way to win.

Driedger played well enough to win on Saturday night for a second straight start, only to see his side, who mostly executed the “tight, two-way game” his coach had wanted to see, once again fail to score a goal. appropriate when needed. Instead, their 3-1 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Kings at Climate Pledge Arena marked their ninth straight loss and 12th in the last 13 to drop them to 10-23-4 in a season-opener. expansion coming out of the proverbial cliff.

“Something has to change,” Driedger said, in what has become a common refrain of Kraken players during those losing post-game sessions. “Whether we need a spark on our day off. And maybe get together with the guys and talk about what we need to do. But something has to change here. It’s completely unacceptable to losing nine games in a row.

The Kraken have only scored nine goals in their last five games. They’ve also scored two goals or less in 19 of their 37 games in a league where the chances of winning with less than three goals are usually pretty rare.

Phillip Danault netted a second-period rebound to give the Kings a two-goal margin after Adrian Kempe opened the scoring just over four minutes into the game. Marcus Johansson put the Kraken on the board midway through the second quarter by grabbing the rebound after a spectacular first save on a Calle Jarnkrok deflection by Kings goaltender Cal Petersen.

But the Kraken failed to add to their total after that power play goal. Ryan Donato nearly equalized a few minutes later, but his one-time slap shot hit both the goal post and the crossbar.

Then, in a tight third period, the Kraken had a chance to play on the power play with 3:45 left in regulation time after Drew Doughty was picked up with a high-sticking penalty. But the Kraken failed to register a shot and Danault added his second of the night for Los Angeles on an empty net with goaltender Driedger fired for an extra forward.

“We don’t really have an option,” Driedger said. “We have to go out there and find our way out. As frustrated as we are right now, we have another game in two days. We have to find a way to win a hockey game.

The Kraken haven’t won in over a month and have only one win to show for the past 43 days.

Driedger kept things close after allowing the opening goal. He looked especially sharp in a second period in which the Kraken were outshot 13-6, then in the third when Doughty got a point slapper from the high slot only for the puck to deflect off the goaltender’s pads. start.

Until then, the Kraken had allowed only one shot from the Kings in 15 minutes of play in the third period. But they failed to equalise.

Part of the reason wins have been so hard to come by is the lack of offense. The Kraken weren’t helped in that regard by a season-ending injury to Brandon Tanev, the long-term loss of Jaden Schwartz and a more recent arm injury to Morgan Geekie which again saw him sit out against Los Angeles.

“We have to get the win and we haven’t,” said Johansson, the player most relied on in Schwartz’s absence to create chances in net. “It gets frustrating. We work hard, but we have to get that extra bit and find ways to win.

That said, the other half of Kraken coach Dave Hakstol’s “tight game” equation was limiting goals against. The Kraken entered the league last night in that regard and the performance of goalkeepers Philipp Grubauer and – to a lesser extent – ​​Driedger has been less than desirable for most of the season.

Driedger got the rare second consecutive start, after a strong showing in a tough 2-1 loss at St. Louis. Things didn’t start well for him when he allowed a juicy rebound off an Alex Iafallo shot that Kempe easily slid into the right side of the vacated net just 4:06 into the night.

He scored on 11and times this season, the Kraken have been scored in the first five minutes. These early goals usually add to the Kraken’s seemingly monumental task of winning, as they usually spend the rest of the match playing from behind.

To their credit, they tightened up considerably after Kempe’s goal, allowing just a few more shots the rest of the period. But they struggled to find the back of the net and found themselves trailing 2-0 early in the second when Danault battled defender Jeremy Lauzon and slapped a rebound from close range after a pair of fine saves from Driedger.

“They got inside our net a little more than we got into their net,” Hakstol said. “It’s one of those games where it’s going to be a game in the trenches.”

And the Kraken simply won fewer battles with the puck than they needed at critical moments, especially on their last chance on the power play.

“You want to see guys succeed,” Hakstol said. “And obviously, at the end of the day, we have to win hockey games. Frustration is not part of it for me. I see areas where we can get a little more out of our squad. We can give a little more. And until things turn around and attacking starts to get easier, we’re going to have to give a bit more.

THE SCORE OF THE BOX

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