With one drop of the puck at 7:15pm PT, the waiting finally ended.
Years upon years – of wishing, pipe dreams, hopes, anticipation, imagination and finally – jubilation – were all wrapped up in a time capsule that will be stored away in the minds of 17,151 fans who packed out Climate Pledge Arena for the first ever home game in Seattle Kraken history – and the first time a team in Seattle set sail on home ice to compete for a Stanley Cup in 97 years.
The box score will be logged away as a 4-2 Kraken defeat the Vancouver Canucks. Three unanswered goals, rallying Vancouver from a 2-1 deficit, sent the Kraken plans sideways with a two-goal night from Bo Horvat.
Vince Dunn delivered the magic everybody will remember: a bar-down snapshot on Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko with less than four seconds remaining before the first period horn.
The other signature horn many were wondering about: it’s a Washington State Ferry model that blasted a deep, rich, bass-like sound each Kraken goal was nearly matched in volume by the intense volume of the crowd. “Lithium” by Nirvana (with a customized “Let’s go Kraken” after Kurt Cobain’s lyric, “I like it”), if you had that in your goal song-guessing pool, was officially rolled out each time the Kraken hit the back of the net.
Legendary musician Ann Wilson of “Heart,” a Sammamish High alum, delivered the Star Spangled Banner to the warm homecoming roar of the crowd before it was time to sing.
Seattle Storm legend Sue Bird helped usher a welcome for the opening face-off, high atop the end zone of Climate Pledge Arena. Drop-ins throughout the night with celebrity cameos on both Climate Pledge Arena videoboards, above the attacking zones, brought a thunderous ovation each for Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, and wife and recording artist, Ciara. The number “32” will be hung in the rafters forever, saluting 32,000 souls who committed their passion for the game with ticket deposits, three years ago, when it was time for the Puget Sound to answer the call of expansion with, “I’m in.”
Truly, this was a night for the history books, for the finish of line of building, waiting, and wishing.
-The first 10 minutes could have drastically changed the long-term course of the game, assuming scoring opportunities went more of the Kraken way. Brandon Tanev nearly parked the first home goal in Kraken history seconds after the opening face-off.
-High danger chances, first period: Kraken 6 – Canucks 0. The Canucks didn’t have much for the game, and nothing for the second period, until Bo Horvat’s second period goal.
-High danger chances, for the game: Kraken 10 – Canucks 2.
-The difference: a third period tripping penalty by Carson Soucy, leading to a power play goal by Horvat (his second of the game) – and no chance for Philipp Grubauer on a rebound to a wide open net. Then seconds after Yanni Gourde’s missed re-direction nearly put the Kraken up front, the Canucks then pounced on a turnover at the blueline. After Connor Garland outraced Vince Dunn down the right wing, his wrister beat Grubauer for the eventual game-winner.
-He loves playing Vancouver: Mark Giordano’s third period goal, putting the Kraken up 2-1: his 15thgoal and 41stpoint in 73 games against the Canucks. That’s the most for him against any NHL opponent.
-Hitting anything that moved: Brandon Tanev led the Kraken with eight hits in 13:00 of ice time, along with a blocked shot.
-We discussed the plight of Jordan Eberle during the post-game show last night, and how scorers are streaky. Perhaps the light of the end of the tunnel is near: he’s still in search for his first goal of the season, but without hiding in a shell fired four shots on net, two takeaways and a blocked shot.
-More Gourde: he nearly put on a show with a third period scoring opportunity, ferociously driving the net and after a pad stop by Thatcher Demko, he persisted with his own rebound and nearly parked it over a fallen Demko. Instead, “ping” – and Gourde’s second opportunity missed off the crossbar. He logged three hits, three shots, and 22:02 of ice time (the second most deployed Kraken player the entire night).
-The Canucks, at the end of a six game road trip (they won’t play in their home opener until Tuesday), finished their stretch at 3-2-1.
FROM THE PODUM:
Head coach Dave Hakstol on comparing tonight’s game and the third period to previous effort:
“It was our best third, and probably our best sixty of the year. Pretty even first period, thought we were able to tilt the ice a little bit in the second period, which you want to be able to do against a team that's at the end of a road trip. We were able to do that in the third period. After getting the lead 2-1, we had three or four great chances to extend it and couldn't do that. So, I like the way we played in the third. Obviously, taking a penalty at a tough time against a good power play hurt us. And then the one bounce of the game went their way on the game winner.”
Hakstol if he’s looking for more consistency in the third period:
“We played the way we wanted to in the third period. Like I said, we took the penalty that you know that ended up costing us. But like I said, we worked to build the lead, to get it to 2-1 in a close, tight hockey game. We did that off an entry which was a great goal for us. After that, you know, one of the things we did in our previous games, especially in Nashville, we got back on our heels once we have a lead. There was none of that tonight. We pushed with Vegas and I had in my mind probably three or four ‘grade A’ chances after it was 2-1. So I like that mentality out of our group. It didn't work out tonight, but we're not going to do anything other than look at the things we can fix and keep pushing on the areas that we were pretty darn good in tonight.”
Hakstol on the big atmosphere of the first home crowd in Kraken history:
"I don't know if you'd get more. That was outstanding. It was an amazing atmosphere. The bottom line is we want to we wanted to reward that group in the stands with the win tonight. So it's a pretty sour taste walking out of the rink tonight. That's a part of it because how they were awesome tonight."
Hakstol on the overall game of Vince Dunn, and the turnover leading to the Canucks go-ahead goal:
“Vince is going to be fine. He played a real good hockey game tonight and an unfortunate bounce on that play. But I thought he played a heck of a game and not just how he shows up offensively, but I thought he moved the puck well and got us out of our zone. He got us up ice and that's a huge part of transition, and being able to spend time in the offensive zone. So, Vince played a good game tonight, he's got enough to hang his head up and head out, he'll come back and go right back to work. He’ll have the support of his teammates doing that.
Vince Dunn on finding ways to close out games:
“I think it's more concentration and more competitiveness. We have good waves and then we let off a bit and we give other teams a little bit of the momentum. Yeah, it's disappointing, like I said, I think we're competing. We’re trying to do the right things but maybe sometimes maybe trying to do a little bit too much at times. I think when we're fastest, we’re predictable out there, making the game easy on each other.”
Dunn on the start of tonight’s game and the typical starts:
“I think we were all just very anxious to get here. I think overall, most of these games we've gotten off to the right start and I thought we did that again tonight. It’s not often where teams can come out flying but somehow not pull it together for all three periods and not getting the result that we want. So that's really frustrating for us. We'll look back on and we’ll correct it.”
Mark Giordano on the approach for the third period, and the assertive or conservative approach:
“I don't think so tonight (on being too conservative), I think you could say that in games past. Thinking back that we sat back a little bit, I thought we came up with a lot of energy, a lot of purpose, and we got the lead. Then the bottom line is they made us pay on a couple of mistakes, to be honest, but even mistakes, just bounces or whatever you want to call them. If we play that sort of game, we'll be okay most more nights more than not. I think we generated a lot more tonight, we created a lot more and that's a game which can go either way. They got couple chances that made us pay when they got their chances.”
Philipp Grubauer on the atmosphere of the first home game:
“ I love it. I think the atmosphere was incredible. For the first game, unbelievable. It’s what we expected in what we've heard from the Seahawks games and other games in Seattle, so we're super proud to have to play here. Obviously, we wanted to get a win on home ice to get this one going. But we’ve got to get ready for next one and get the next one.”