TAMPA, Fla. — First the Kraken lost their captain and then it didn’t get much better.

After winning their previous two games, the Kraken couldn’t carry the momentum into Tampa Bay and dropped a 3-0 contest to the Lightning. They played without captain Mark Giordano, who was a last-minute scratch.

Giordano wasn’t on the ice for warm-ups a half-hour before the game. A few minutes later, the team announced he was in COVID-19 protocol, the third Kraken player to miss time this year on that list.

“It’s not ideal, but it’s part of all of our lives right now, at different levels,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “It has happened before, but it’s certainly not ideal, but it’s part of what we have to deal with.”

Haydn Fleury said he found out during the pregame meal he would be in the game but was already scheduled to take warm-ups. Hakstol said he found out this afternoon Giordano wouldn’t be available.

“I don’t think it’s one guy who can step up,” Fleury said. “I think we have to do it as a group. I thought we battled hard tonight, we did some good things I think. … They get close in a 3-0 game and there’s things we have to fix.”


The most energy of the night came during Yanni Gourde’s tribute video, as the Lightning honored their two-time Cup winning forward in his first game at Amalie Arena since winning the Cup on home ice, then being selected by the Kraken in expansion.

The rest of the night fell kind of flat.

In many ways, the Lightning represent something the Kraken could someday achieve. They had a brutal expansion season in 1992-93, gaining just 53 standings points, but have become a model franchise. They won the past two Stanley Cups and have been one of the most dominant teams in the league in the past half-decade.

Even with a piece of those teams in Gourde, the Kraken are a ways away from a sliver of that kind of success, still seeking a win streak of more than two games.

Early on, Seattle had a few chances; first Fleury made a slick pass behind the net to give Jordan Eberle a solid look. Then, in transition, Jordan McCann found Morgan Geekie with some space to fire off a shot.

Instead, as it’s been for the past seven contests, the Kraken found themselves trailing 1-0.

“We seem to give up the first one a lot,” Jaden Schwartz said. “We need to find a way to just start better and find a way to get some momentum, however that is. … We’re chasing too much right now, and we’ve been doing it for a while.”


For the fifth time this season, and second time this week, the Kraken ended up in a hole following the first shot they saw all game. This time it was Philipp Grubauer’s former Avalanche teammate Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who beat him on a wrist shot for the lead two minutes in, and after two Kraken chances that didn’t go in.

“We won two hockey games, so that’s not the issue,” Hakstol said. “We played very well in first periods. Today we came out on the back end of it, and we couldn’t catch this team.”

The Kraken had gotten good at preventing high-danger chances to opponents over the past few games, but sans Giordano, fell into old habits in the first period. Seattle generated just 18.9 percent of the shot quality in the first — expected goals for percentage — and allowed eight high-danger chances.

Unlike in the win over Carolina, the Kraken didn’t get that timely goal to tie things.

Instead, Ross Colton extended the Tampa lead 31 seconds into the second frame off a big rebound from Grubauer.

The Kraken struggled to take any momentum; Geekie took a high-sticking call 200 feet away from the Seattle net to send the Lightning to their first power play. Then, the Kraken man advantage, which had scored in four consecutive contests, fell flat against the strong Tampa Bay penalty kill. Steven Stamkos scored late in the third for the 3-0 lead.


Though the Kraken controlled possession throughout the second, they never truly seized the game, playing from behind the eight-ball from the start. They’ve done that before; even with the last couple of wins, the Kraken have gotten used to playing from behind.

At some point, though, that becomes a strain. They got away with it against road-weary Washington and Carolina, but against the defending Cup champions on their home ice, the Kraken didn’t get an inch.

“We were a half-step behind tonight,” Hakstol said. “We didn’t create enough possession so our ability to win some of those pucks in both zones needed to be better tonight.”

Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 17 saves to stop a Kraken squad that has never won a game after trailing by two goals or more in a contest. He is the first goalie to shut out the Kraken this season.

The last time the Kraken won two games in a row they promptly lost their next six. Likely, the Kraken have evolved from past mistakes and can avoid snowballing again. But, with three games left on the trip — including Saturday night at Florida, where the league-best Panthers are undefeated at home — it doesn’t get easier.

“We get back out tomorrow, get some good rest and regroup tomorrow,” Schwartz said. “We know that we have another level of intensity and digging in for another.”