There will be new champions in the NHL! The Seattle Kraken created a huge upset by eliminating the Colorado Avalanche in seven games with a 2-1 victory Sunday night in Denver.
Philipp Grubauer was sensational in net for the Kraken turning aside 33 shots. The Kraken become the first team to win the first series in franchise history against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Oliver Bjorkstrand led the charge on the Kraken attacking side with a brace. Mikko Rantanen scored the Avalanche’s lone goal, which saw the Seattle defense block a whopping 29 shots past Grubauer.
Seattle will face the Dallas Stars in the next round of the playoffs.
A big surprise in the first round
The defending champions applied a lot of pressure in the first period, leading 16-6 in shots on goal. Philipp Grubauer, however, was solid in front of the Kraken cage, repelling all attacks from his former team in the first 20 minutes of play.
Seattle has scored the first goal in the first six games of this series and does not want to change its strategy for this duel. In the second period, Oliver Bjorkstrand opened the scoring by taking advantage of a lucky play in front of the net from Alexander Georgiev.
By pushing the defending champions in seven games in the first round of the playoffs, the Kraken surprised many observers in the hockey world. Dave Hakstol’s men have not finished surprising. Bjorkstrand doubled their lead with a good wrist shot.
Limited to just one goal in 17 attempts since the start of the series, the Avalanche’s massive offense has found the perfect moment to get going. With 28 seconds left in the second period, Mikko Rantanen redirected the cannonball from the left circle of Nathan MacKinnon well in spite of himself. This goal allows “Nate Dog” to reach the plateau of 100 career points in the playoffs.
Colorado continued to buzz early in the third period. MacKinnon managed to beat Grubauer with a powerful one-timer, but the goal was disallowed due to offside.
Despite the disallowed goal, the Avalanche did not stop controlling the puck in opposing territory. Grubauer had to stand out with a few important saves to keep his team ahead.
“A lot of people didn’t believe in us. They have been proven otherwise. We grew during the season and we showed it during the series,” said Grubauer.
Bjorkstrand hit the post with two minutes left in the game following a defensive turnover from the Avalanche, which could have cost the team a third goal.
With his season on the line, the Avalanche retired Georgiev in favor of a sixth player late in the game. Despite good puck circulation in Kraken territory, the Avalanche were never able to get a good chance to score on Grubauer’s net.
” It’s difficult. I don’t think we’re going to watch the show and say we didn’t leave it all on ice. It’s hard to accept right now. I hate losing,” said Avalanche star defenseman Cale Makar.