Kraken general manager Ron Francis feels his team has “found a way to lose” too often and expected it to be more competitive in the standings a month into the season.
Francis built a squad he felt was strong on goaltending and defense. And though early scoring woes appear to have righted themselves to where the Kraken more regularly generate enough offense to win, that isn’t happening because of a lack of execution elsewhere.
“We felt that goaltending and defense would give us a chance in each game,” said Francis, whose team has dropped four consecutive games and six of the past seven to sit last in the Pacific Division. “And then the question was scoring and can we score enough or not? I think we certainly felt going into the season that we would be a competitive team.
“I think we’ve had some games from the start of the season where I’ve felt we found a way to lose rather than gain a point or two. And when you give up six or eight of those points, you’re in a different situation than you’re sitting in now.
“But no excuses,” he added. “We just have to continue to grow and build and find a way to get better.”
In a league where it’s critical to log at least a point by frequently sending games to overtime and shootouts, the Kraken keep losing in regulation time.
They have just one point from overtime or shootouts and are among only 13 teams with fewer than two games decided beyond regulation. As a result, they entered Monday nine points back of the final wild-card playoff spot, which is nowhere near where Francis anticipated.
The Kraken opened the season scoring three goals or fewer in seven of 10 games — managing only one or two goals in six of those. But starting with a Nov. 4 win over Buffalo, they’ve scored four or more in three of the past five.
Jordan Eberle had a hat trick against Buffalo and has since gone on a tear, scoring a team-leading eight times. Jared McCann is back after two weeks in COVID-19 protocol and has five goals, and Alex Wennberg hit a groove and sits second in overall team points with two goals and nine assists.
The bigger problem the past week or two is the Kraken allowing four goals or more in four consecutive games — all losses — to negate that recent offensive surge. Overall, they’ve allowed at least four goals in nine of 15 games.