One of the reason’s the National Hockey League looked at Seattle as a desirable expansion site was the city’s proximity to Vancouver. For several years, the Canucks had been geographically separated from the rest of the league. San Jose to the South and the Alberta teams – Edmonton and Calgary – to the East, were both several hundred miles away.
This season, it’s not unusual for visiting teams to play Vancouver and Seattle on consecutive nights. Last night at Climate Pledge Arena, the Kraken defeated a team that had posted a victory in British Columbia the previous night. In this case, it was the St. Louis Blues, who dropped a 5-2 decision to Seattle. The Blues won their fourth consecutive game the previous night, 5-1, over the Canucks.
Five different Kraken players scored goals as the Seattle improved its record to 18-10-3 on the season. The Kraken didn’t win their 17th game last year until the 56th game of the regular season. The win also marked Seattle’s first ever victory over St. Louis (16-16-1) in five tries. The Blues beat Seattle, 4-3, in overtime Oct. 15.
Ryan Donato opened the scoring with his fourth goal in as many games at 16:57 of the first period. Donato’s recent goals have come on tip-ins in front of the net. But he’s also proficient on breakaways as he showed on this goal. Donato beat St. Louis goalkeeper Thomas Greiss after taking a stretch pass from Adam Larsson. It was appropriate that Larsson would set up the first goal; his bobblehead doll was given away to the first 10,000 fans who dodged the snowflakes to attend last night’s game.
“That was a spectacular pass from (Larsson),” Donato said. “I saw it coming a little bit, but with him going backward and momentum carrying him that way, to be able to get it all the way across his body and up that far, that was awesome and then going on a breakaway, I just kind of close my eyes and hope it goes in.”
The Kraken held a 10-6 shot advantage after one period, but dominated their guests in the second frame, outshooting the Blues, 16-11, and scoring three unanswered goals.
St. Louis looked like a tired team in the second period. After dominating the first ten minutes, defenseman Carson Soucy scored for the Kraken. Soucy’s defense partner, Will Borgen fired a shot from the point that was kicked out by Thomas Greiss, and Soucy pounced on the loose puck and lofted a one-handed shot into the net.
Soucy, who was voted number-one star in the game, made a heads up play. He didn’t have time to wind up for a shot so he just lifted the puck over the St. Louis netminder.
The Kraken added two late goals. Darren Sprong took a stretch pass from Morgan Geekie (two assists) and fired the puck home. Jared McCann made it 4-0 in the final minute. A shot from behind his own net went off the back of Griess’ right skate and into the net.
“Not a lot of time in our D-zone in the first two periods,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol noted. “There’s two or three occasions where they got inside because we were up to a little too loose on our return.”
Brandon Tanev had an eventful third period for the Kraken. He was awarded a penalty shot in the opening minutes when he was pulled down on a breakaway. Tanev almost scored, but Greiss got a skate on Tanev’s backhander. With three minutes remaining, Tanev added an empty net goal. St. Louis coach Craig Berube had pulled the goalie with 4:24 remaining and the Blues trailing by two,
The Blues added two third-period goals from Colton Parayko and Pavel Buchnevich – with one second left on a power play- but Martin Jones finished the night with 22 saves. For the second consecutive game, statistics showed that the Kraken received a `quality start’ from their goalkeeper. Philipp Grubauer turned the trick against Winnipeg in the Kraken’s previous game.
“Jonesy was good for us,” said Hakstol, “especially when he made a couple of real good saves on the inside for us after we took the 2-0 lead. I said it all year, these guys have to do their part. Jonesy did his part tonight just like Grubi did a couple nights ago.”
“We’re playing great as a team,” Jones said. “I think when we check like that, it makes the goalies job easier. Then we just have to be solid and then maybe make one or two key saves That definitely simplifies things for us.”
The Kraken play their final road game of 2022 when they travel to Vancouver tomorrow night. The entire league takes time off for the holidays. The Kraken’s return home next Wednesday (Dec. 28) to face the Calgary Flames.
- Prior to their recent two-game winning streak, the Kraken had lost five out of six games. But heading into the week, the entire Pacific Division was floundering. Only the division-leading Vegas Golden Knights and the Canucks (who’ve lost two games in a row) had winning records in their previous 10 games (6-4), The Kraken are currently in third-place in the Pacific Division, two points behind the Los Angeles Kings.
- Ryan Donato’s the third Kraken player to score goals in four consecutive games. Justin Eberle turned the trick last season and Jared McCann scored in four straight contests earlier this season.
- The Kraken have a brief three-game homestand after Christmas, but after facing the New York Islanders on New Years’ Day, the Kraken embark on their longest road trip of the season. Seattle will play seven straight road tilts before returning home to face Tampa Bay on Jan. 16.
- The Kraken’s Shane Wright scored two goals for the Canadien Junior team in a tune-up game against Switzerland yesterday. Wright also had an assist playing on a line with Connor Bedard, expected to be the number-one pick in the 2023 amateur draft. Currently Anaheim, Arizona and Chicago look to be the leaders in the Bedard sweepstakes. The actual tournament begins Dec. 26 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton, New Brunswick..
- Against Vancouver, Blues’ forward Jordan Kyrou scored his first NHL hat trick and had an assist. But Kyrou, who leads St. Louis in goals and points, took a hit from Canucks’ defensemen Kyle Burroughs in the third period and didn’t finish the game. Kyrou was a late scratch from the St. Louis lineup last night.
S- Ryan Donato (Adam Larsson, Morgan Geekie) 16:57.
S- Carson Soucy (Will Borgen, Alex Wennberg) 10:00. S- Darren Sprong (Geekie Tanev) 16:58. S- Jared McCann (unassisted) 19:16.
ST- Colton Parayko (Logan Brown, Aleksei Toropchenko) 5:59. ST- Paval Buchnevich (Torey Krug, Brayden Schenn) PPG, 10:54. S- Brandon Tanev (Jaden Schwartz, Vince Dunn) EN, 15:47.
Shots on Goal- St. Louis 24, Seattle 33.
Penalty Minutes- St. Louis 6, Seattle 6.
Referees- Frederic L’Ecuyer, Ghislain Hebert. Linesmen- David Brisebois, Travis Toomey.
Three Stars- 1. Carson Soucy, S. 2. Morgan Geekie, S. 3. Darren Sprong, S.