Final Buzzer: Matinee Ideal
In return to Nashville, Kraken wing Eeli Tolvanen scores twice as Seattle busts open tight game with four third-period goals, including Matty Beniers 20th goal and 50th pointby Bob Condor / @ByBobCondor / nhl.com/kraken
NASHVILLE - Ok, Kraken fans, you can breathe easier now. Seattle has secured five of six possible standings points on this road trip so far, including a 7-2 Saturday win over Nashville to put the home team eight points behind Seattle in the Western Conference wild-card race.
The Kraken took a two-goal lead into the third period here in the always-loud Predators' home arena. The decibels notched up a higher volume than any note sung at the local Grand Ole Opry when Matt Duchene tipped a bad-angle shot near the Kraken goal line to send the puck through D-man Justin Schultz's legs and goaltender Philip Grubauer next. One minute into the third period, suddenly the score tightened to 3-2.
But a stellar group of Kraken players steadied the wobbly scenario less than three minutes later. With leading scorer Vince Dunn and rookie sensation Matty Beniers working a give-and-go to get puck movement going, Dunn wired the puck to leading goal scorer Jared McCann. Instead of shooting - he definitely showed a shoot-first mentality all afternoon - McCann slipped a perfect pass to Adam Larsson, who was moving up in the zone to fire a snapshot past Preds goalie Juuse Saros to make it 4-2.
Final Buzzer: Singular Night
Kraken generate all kinds of scoring chances but can't beat elite goalie Juuse Saros more than once, lose in shootout as road win streak ends at sixby Bob Condor / @ByBobCondor / nhl.com/kraken
NASHVILLE - The Kraken earned one standings point here Thursday, but Nashville earned two points for winning in a shootout with an official final score of 2-1. Matt Duchene and Philip Tomasino scored the two shootout goals as Predators goalie Juuse Saros showed why he was named first star of the game by keeping a clean sheet in the shootout. The Kraken won't have to wait long for a rematch. Both squads will be back here Saturday at 11 a.m. Pacific time to divvy more valuable standings points.
"Hey, this time of year when there's a lot on the line, that's the type of hockey you know it's going to be," said a composed Dave Hakstol about the Kraken's road winning streak ended at six games. "It came down to the shootout and unfortunately we didn't get the extra point. But we've got to turn the page quickly, look at a couple areas to be a little bit better. You can pretty much expect a very similar game Saturday afternoon. These two teams are going to be fighting hard for the points."
"That's what playoff hockey is like," said alternate captain Jordan Eberle. "We'll take the point but obviously we would have preferred to have both points."
Final Buzzer: Big Win in Big 'D'
Kraken start trip with thrilling overtime win over Dallas getting their own star turns from Brandon Tanev, Adam Larsson and goalie Joey Daccord, just up from AHL Coachella Valleyby Bob Condor / @ByBobCondor / nhl.com/kraken
DALLAS - On a night when other wild-card playoff contenders secured needed wins, the Kraken rose to the postseason-seeking occasion themselves to outlast Dallas 5-4 in an overtime victory for the ages that kept all wild-card pursuers at the same distance with one less game to gain ground. Plus, the first win over the home Stars in three tries over the last 11 days pushed down Dallas to a first-place tie in the Central Division.
Joey Daccord starred in goal and the Kraken fourth line sparkled up ice with two goals from Brandon Tanev, a goal and assist from Daniel Sprong, and an assist and much-needed grit from Morgan Geekie. Defenseman and alternate captain Adam Larsson took an overtime pass from Jared McCann to finish a topsy-turvy night on the top.
"Sometimes we tend to get a little too emotional and too excited," said Larsson when asked post-game about the emotions on the Kraken bench when Dallas scored two late goals to tie it at 4-4, including one with 0.7 seconds remaining. "I thought tonight we stayed pretty even keel, even till the end."
Final Buzzer: Oilers Prevail
Kraken keep it close through two periods but can't hold potent Oilers offense with Evander Kane hat trick and three points for Connor McDavidby Bob Condor / @ByBobCondor / nhl.com/kraken
In a back-and-forth game between two playoff contenders, Edmonton emerged with the two standings points up for grabs Saturday afternoon at high-decibel Climate Pledge Arena. While star center Connor McDavid came into the game with 131 points and 11 more goals than any other NHL player and didn't score until late in the game, left-wing and linemate Evander Kane earned a hat trick, scoring on mid-range shots in each period.
Kane's final goal sealed off the 6-4 victory that is frustrating for Kraken fans, but there was no doubting the entertaining and never-quit play of the Seattle squad. The Kraken finished with 37 shots on goal to 23 for Edmonton.
"Our team played a good hockey game today," said Coach Dave Hakstol, content with his team's effort. "It's an even hockey game, we worked extremely hard, especially on the offensive side of the puck. We ground for our offensive opportunities for the majority of the 60 minutes. Our team played hard, our team played well."
Final Buzzer: Well 'Dunn' in OT
On a night when a win was greatly needed, Philipp Grubauer holds up his teammates until Oliver Bjorkstrand and Vince Dunn can supply the timely scoringby Bob Condor / @ByBobCondor / nhl.com/kraken
SAN JOSE - With Philipp Grubauer earning the first standings point of the night, making 31 saves, and facing 12 Grade-A scoring chances in regulation, Kraken leading scorer Vince Dunn secured the second point or what victorious Kraken players were calling a "deuce" when walking back into the visitors' locker room after a 2-1 overtime victory. Dunn scored his 13th goal of the season to solve a valiant James Reimer.
Video: SEA@SJS: Dunn goes five-hole to win it in OT
"[Dunn] had a will to him tonight that you can see in his confidence," said a pleased Dave Hakstol post-game. "Offensively, with the puck at times he controlled some of the play. It's maybe fitting he was the guy that was able to make the play on a winning goal. It's not pretty but it's a real good play by him to pull [the puck} and shoot it through a screen in that spot."
"Yeah, very important right now," said Dunn. "They don't always have to be pretty, but we just have to make sure we find a way. Every point really matters right now. So that's really big for the team to get back on track."
Final Buzzer: Stars-Crossed
Dallas takes two-lead goal lead in rematch, doesn't look back in 5-2 victory in Monday rematch. Kraken will face San Jose on road nextby Bob Condor / @ByBobCondor / nhl.com/kraken
The Kraken have work to do as the remaining 15 games of the regular season unfold beginning Thursday night in San Jose. A rare two-game back-to-back set with Central Division leader Dallas yielded just one standings point with the Kraken falling, 5-2, Monday night at Climate Pledge Arena.
Three power-play goals, one in each period, powered the Stars' victory. The Monday goalie duel clearly went to Dallas' Jake Oettinger, who made 26 saves for his 29th win. Only two NHL goalies have more victories.
"We made a mistake on the first one [power play goal] and that opened up the inside on the rebound," said Hakstol, reviewing a rough outing by Kraken penalty killers who had previously snuffed out 31 of the last 32 opposing power plays before Monday. "They found different holes inside you know, the last one [making it 5-2 early third period] goes off both of our sticks ... But bottom line, we've got to get the job done."
Final Buzzer: Point Taken
Kraken tie it 2-2 mid-third period, take advantage of late power play to go up late game. Dallas ties with 1:10 left, wins in overtime but Kraken earning standings pointby Bob Condor / @ByBobCondor / nhl.com/kraken
Saturday's outcome is not what any coach or player in the Kraken locker room wanted, but let's agree the a standings point snatched with two Seattle third-period goals will make this overtime loss hurt a bit less. And maybe fortify the Kraken's efforts Monday night here at Climate Pledge Arena when the two squads meet for a rematch.
"There's a team [Dallas] that's hot, right?" said Ryan Donato, a hero himself Saturday in his first appearance since March 5th in the Colorado overtime road win. "They do a lot of good things, but I think we did too. I think we can hang with those guys and obviously, it's not the way we want it to end. We had a chance and didn't close it out. But looking forward to the next game for sure."
Donato tied the game with just under 10 minutes remaining, staying upright and net-front, finding a way to get his stick on the puck during a scramble alongside linemate Daniel Sprong, who earned his fifth assist to go along with a goal in his last five games he has dressed. Donato has a habit of scoring when he is re-inserted into the lineup.
Final Buzzer: Heartbreaker
After going down three goals early, Kraken take 4-3 lead before Ottawa stage own comeback for 5-4 victory, ending Kraken five-game winning streakby Bob Condor / @ByBobCondor / nhl.com/kraken
The third period started here at Climate Pledge Arena with a 3-3 score and a trio of Pacific Division contenders already booking big wins Thursday night. For 38 seconds of play, it looked like the Kraken might join the winner's circle, but instead fell late to Ottawa, looking to squeeze into the eight Eastern Conference teams qualifying for the postseason.
Edmonton beat league-leader Boston after going down 2-0 after 20 minutes. It's one of only three home regulation losses for Boston and snapped the Bruins' 10-game winning streak. Division leader Vegas (beating Tampa Bay in OT) and Los Angeles (downing Colorado) also earned two standings points and are tied at 86 points each.
Final Buzzer: Win Streak at 5
For playoff contenders, racking up expected wins is necessary and direct route to qualifying for more games this spring. Tuesday's 5-2 victory is latest exampleby Bob Condor / @ByBobCondor / nhl.com/kraken
Returning home from a four-game road trip sweep, the Kraken did exactly what a playoffs-hungry team needs to do for securing a postseason bid: Win the games down the stretch against opponents with losing records, a take-care-of-business mentality.
Business was good in the first period with goals from Jamie Oleksiak (his ninth) and Jared McCann (team-leading 31), both Kraken originals looking to continue smashing their previous career highs for goals in a season. The two goals proved the ideal starter kit for an eventual 5-2 win, two more points in the standings, and a five-game winning streak.
A sellout crowd on Women in Hockey Night roared with approval when the opening frame ended, then Washington Wild U10 and U8 girls skaters kept the decibels with some nifty shootout moves and saves during the first intermission.
Final Buzzer: Gourde for 'W'
Battle between two legitimate playoff contenders: Philipp Grubauer keeps it close, Brandon Tanev ties it late in regulation, then Yanni Gourde scores OT winnerby Bob Condor / @ByBobCondor / nhl.com/kraken
DENVER - In a game with all of the playoff-type atmosphere both teams and their fans could handle, the defending Stanley Cup champions were poised to outlast a valid challenger in the Kraken. But Brandon Tanev, who missed a breakaway earlier, had other ideas. He tied the game with 2:21 remaining with help from Jaden Schwartz, who was instrumental in both Kraken goals. The score held up to push the game to overtime, which thrillingly ended with Yanni Gourde scoring his 10th goal of the year and bringing the Kraken home with a four-game sweep of the road trip.
The Kraken sit third in the Pacific division with 78 points through 63 games. Seattle is four points out first (Vegas) and two points behind second-place LA but has the benefit of a game in hand over the Kings. Edmonton remains on Seattle's heels with 76 points and sits in the first wildcard position. The Kraken have a game in hand on the Oilers as well as a pivotal showdown with Edmonton at Climate Pledge Area on Mar. 18.
The final score is a credit to both goaltenders, with the Kraken's Philipp Grubauer slightly outdueling Colorado's Alexandar Georgiev. Both goaltenders clearly deserved the standings points earned, one for Colorado and two for the victorious Kraken.