The Seattle Kraken and the Tampa Bay Lightning entered last night’s game at Tampa’s Amalie Arena with the same number of points in the standings. But the similarities ended once the teams took the ice.
The Lightning struck for two quick goals in the first period and three goals in 1:36 of the second period to post a 6-2 victory. Tampa improves its record to 18-9-1, while the Kraken fall to 16-9-3.
Tampa Bay and Seattle have met three times since the Kraken entered the league and in those three games the Lightning- at least on the scoreboard- have looked like the team that’s made the Stanley Cup finals the past three years (with two championships) and the Kraken have looked like a second-year expansion team.
The Lightning have now outscored the Kraken, 13-3, in three games. Last night, Seattle actually outshot the Lightning, 38-30 but 14 of those shots came in the third period. However, future Hall-of-Fame netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy thwarted any hopes of a Kraken third-period comeback. Ryan Donato finally scored with five seconds left in the contest for the 6-2 final.
“We can be a little better to start the hockey game,” said Kraken coach Dave Hakstol. “When you come in on the road, we know you have to play a full 60 minutes. We got ourselves in a little bit of a hole, but were able to dig out of that. We deserve a little bit better.”
The Lightning opened the scoring, 1:31 into the contest. Defenseman Ian Cole fired a shot from the point and the puck was deflected in front and into the net for the score. At first, the goal was credited to Nikita Kucherov, but between periods after viewing replays, Cole was awarded the goal. Kucherov was credited with an assist, and he would finish the night with three helpers, 401 in his NHL career.
Another Tampa defenseman, Erik Cernak made it 2-0, but the Kraken would cut the lead in half heading to the first intermission thanks to a great effort from forward Justin Eberle. After blocking a Tampa shot, Eberle took the puck up ice and then made a perfect cross to his linemate Jared McCann. McCann fired it home, for his team-high 13th goal of the season.
“We were a little bit slow on everything and (Tampa’s) going to take advantage of that in a big way,” Hakstol said. “I felt like it should have been a 1-1 hockey game after the first period.
The Lightning had a narrow shots-on-goal advantage after one period (15-13) but the Kraken showed signs of life as the period progressed. The real back breaker came 12 minutes into the second period when Seattle was on the verge of killing its second consecutive penalty.
Veteran Corey Perry shot through a screen of players and the puck somehow found its way into the net with only four seconds left on a TB power play. A little over a minute later, Brayden Point had the most impressive goal of the night. Point deked around both Adam Larsson and Vince Dunn, the Kraken’s top defensive pair, to score on a breakaway.
Seattle then pulled goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer in favor of Martin Jones. Jones stopped the first shot he faced but Ross Colton’ tipped in a shot by Mikhail Sergachev to make it 5-1.
“We carried the play at the end of the first period,” Hakstol said. “We had a great second period, we had one hell of a PK in terms of effort and execution. When that third goal goes in, that took a lot out of us.
“Our group was really tough today,” Hakstol said. “We need a little better on the second goal from Grubi, we need a little better on the third. Our group pushed back pretty well throughout.”
The teams swapped goals in the third period. Tampa captain Steven Stamkos scored his 496th NHL goal and the 32-years-old has now registered a point in 14 consecutive games.
After no penalties in the first period and three minors in the second period a total of 52 minutes in penalties were called in the game’s final minutes. Yanni Gourde, who played on Tampa’s two Stanley Cup champion teams, even took a poke at his former linemate Pat Maroon.
“I thought we worked hard,” said Kraken alternate captain Jaden Schwartz said. “We had some decent spurts. I thought for 40 minutes of the game we worked hard, probably didn’t get on the inside enough in the offensive zone, but that momentum swing in the second period really hurt.”
The Kraken complete the final game of a four-game road trip when they travel to Carolina tomorrow night,
- The Kraken acquired forward Eeli Tolvanen off waivers from the Nashville Predators. The team put forward Karson Kuhlman on waivers. Tolvanen had two goals, two assists and was -2 for the Predators. A left-handed shot, Tolvanen was a first-round draft choice by Nashville in 2017. In 2020-21 he had six power-play goals. Kuhlman was claimed by the Winnipeg Jets, who face the Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena on Sunday.
- Defenseman Gustav Olofsson played his second game of the season for the Kraken. Olofsson has spent most of the season with the Coachella Valley Firebirds of the AHL. Olofsson replaced defenseman Justin Schultz, who missed the final eight minutes of the Kraken’s previous game in Florida after taking a hit from the Panthers’ Ryan Lomberg.
- Haydn Fleury returned to the Tampa Bay lineup after missing four games with an upper body injury. Fleury, who has been playing forward and defense for the Lightning, had two goals and two assists for the Kraken in 36 games last season. Last night marked the third time Seattle defenseman Cale Fleury has played against his older brother.
TB-Ian Cole (Brandon Hagel, Nikita Kucherov) 1:31. TB- Erik Cernak (Braydon Point, Kucherov) 7:24. S- Jared McCann (Justin Eberle) 18:29.
TB- Corey Perry (Ross Colton, Mikhail Sergachev) PPG, 12:13 TB- Brayden Point (Kucherov, Victor Hedman) 13:28 TB- Colton (Sergachev, Anthony Cirelli) 13:36.
TB- Steven Stamkos (Hedman, Cirelli) 5:39 S-Ryan Donato (Yanni Gourde) 19:55.
Shots on Goal- Seattle 38, Tampa Bay 30.
Penalty Minutes- Seattle 29, Tampa Bay 19.
Referees- Wes McCauley, Conor O’Donnell. Linesmen- Scott Cherry, Andrew Smith
Three Stars- 1.Nikita Kucherov, TB 2. Brayden Point, TB. 3. Mikhail Sergachev, TB.