SEATTLE – The Kraken is the NHL's newest team, with a roster that was assembled only a few months ago and debuted just a couple of weeks back.
But it was the Wild that on Thursday night looked like it had trouble getting on the same page.
"We didn't play like the Minnesota Wild," Ryan Hartman said. "We played kind of like individuals a bit, not necessarily intentionally, just not around each other."
After a sharp start, the Wild faded the rest of the way to commemorate its inaugural trip to Seattle with a 4-1 loss to the Kraken in front of 17,151 at Climate Pledge Arena. The Wild split the first two games of its road trip that concludes Saturday at Colorado.
Overall, the Wild is 5-2.
"We could have played better than we did," Jonas Brodin said.
Haydn Fleury spearheaded Seattle's rally, scoring twice, and goaltender Philipp Grubauer picked up 30 saves.
At the other end, Cam Talbot made 34 stops in his first loss of the season after winning five in a row for the best start in his NHL career. The Kraken's final two goals were empty-netters, by Brandon Tanev (one minute to go) and Mark Giordano (eight seconds left).
"He gave us an opportunity to pull the goalie and try to make it even," Hartman said. "We didn't help him much."
While the score was still 2-1 in the third period, the Wild had its second power play that included a pair of close calls from Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek. Seattle went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
"Everybody's watching," Eriksson Ek said. "We have to score on those."
Before that late push, most of the Wild's pressure against Grubauer came early in the game.
Just 6:27 into the first period, the Wild opened the scoring for just the second time this season when Hartman buried a behind-the-back pass by Kaprizov. With three goals, Hartman has tied Eriksson Ek for most on the Wild.
On the next shift, the Wild appeared to have scored again after Marcus Foligno directed in a puck that bounced at his feet. But the goal was disallowed because Foligno kicked the puck into the net.
After that, Seattle took over.
"We didn't create a lot of offense," Brodin said. "We didn't have any long shifts down there. Credit to them, they did a good job. But that was not our best game."
From Hartman's goal through the second period, Seattle outshot the Wild 27-8 – a span in which the Kraken capitalized twice.
Fleury's first came at 13:23 into the first period, a point shot through traffic that eluded Talbot. On his second goal, Fleury gobbled up the rebound from his own shot, swung around the net and stuffed the puck in on a wrap-around at 7:33 of the second.
The Wild finished the period with just five shots, compared with 17 for Seattle. One of those shots came in the final minute when Kaprizov forced a turnover to skate in alone on Grubauer, but the netminder fought off Kaprizov's wrister.
Kaprizov still hasn't scored this season, a seven-game rut that is the longest goal drought in his NHL career.
Kevin Fiala is also stuck in a dry spell, going pointless in his past four games.
Those two were initially paired up against the Kraken because Mats Zuccarello was sidelined with COVID-19. Same with Rem Pitlick, while veteran defensemen Alex Goligoski and Dmitry Kulikov were out with injuries. The team doesn't know yet how severe those issues are, coach Dean Evason said.
Amid these absences, the Wild had two players (forward Connor Dewar and defenseman Jon Lizotte) make their NHL debuts and another (defenseman Jordie Benn) play his first game of the season.
Turnover like this could explain the Wild's lackluster display, but still the majority of the team's core was intact and coming off a feel-good win in Vancouver, where the Wild prevailed 3-2 against the Canucks.
But that momentum didn't make the trip across the border, and the team suffered its first loss on the road after beginning 3-0.
"We didn't do a lot of right things in this hockey game," Evason said, "and the outcome was deserving of that."