The Seattle Kraken got it right this time.
A little over a month ago (Nov. 13) the Kraken held a one-goal lead over the Winnipeg Jets in the game’s final minute only to see the Jets tie the game with five seconds remaining and win in overtime.
Last night at Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle held on to a one-goal lead in the game’s final minute but this time kept the Jets from getting any good scoring opportunities and went on to post a 3-2 victory.
The Kraken, who had dropped five of their last six games, improve to 17-10-3 on the season. The Jets, who like the Kraken would be considered over-achievers this season, fall to 20-10-1.
“We just went out and worked hard tonight,” said Kraken coach Dave Hakstol. “It’s the type of game where you just have to stay with it (your game plan). “We got a little impatient a couple of times in the second period and gave up a couple of odd-man rushes, but there wasn’t a lot of that. In the third there was not a mistake. We stayed with it and scored a couple of determined goals, and that made the difference for us.”
Winnipeg held a 2-1 lead heading into the third period even though the Kraken held a territorial advantage and had outshot their guests, 22-15. But third period goals from Ryan Donato and Jared McCann would ice the victory.
With 4:32 remaining on the clock, the Jets thwarted a rush by Matty Beniers. But they were unable to clear as defenseman Justin Schultz pinned a Jet player along the wall and hit McCann with a stretch pass as he cut to the net. McCann wasted no time firing home his 14th goal of the season.
It took Ryan Donato only 16 seconds at the start of the third period to tie the game when he deflected home a shot by Yanni Gourde into the net. After a quiet start to the season, Donato has now scored in three consecutive games, a career-high. Many of Donato’s goals were just like the one he scored last night, what some would call `dirty goals,’ scores that come from battling right in front of the net to establish a position to score.
“You have to keep the faith and continue to work hard,” said Donato, when asked about his slow start (he was fourth on the team in goals last season).
Donato has only recently begun to play on a line with veteran Yanni Gourde, who set up the goal. Said Donato, “He’s so good at holding on to the puck. He makes a lot of good plays.”
The Jets scored with a two-man advantage in the first period. With Vince Dunn already in the penalty box, Adam Larsson was whistled off for high sticking. Winnipeg took only 13 seconds to score. Scheifele scored on a one-timer off a pass from Josh Morrisey at 8:26. The Jets had only three shots on goal in the first period.
The Kraken tied the game at 8:43 of the second period. Jordan Eberle took a lead pass from Larsson, and in one motion spun around (his back was to the net) and lofted a back-hander into the net.
The Jets’ second goal also came on a power play as they were unable to tally a full-strength goal in the contest. Philipp Grubauer made the initial stop on Kyle Connor, but Pierre-Luc Dubois sent home the rebound. Grubauer stopped 15 of 17 Winnipeg shots in the game and was selected the number-three star of the game.’
“This is what we are,” Hakstol said. “We have to have everybody contributing, and it’s not about the number of minutes or who’s scoring the goals or anything like that. But you know, when you’re out there, you’ve got to do your part for the group, and for us, it’s been for the most part a different line or a different guy each night on the offensive side.”
“We got away from shooting the puck for a few games,” said McCann. “We did that tonight. Defensively we had good sticks (breaking up plays) and kept them to the outside.”
The Kraken host St. Louis tomorrow. Like the Jets, the Blues are making their second trip of the year to Climate Pledge Arena. The Blues beat the Kraken, 3-1, on Oct. 19. Seattle also has its final road game of 2022, Thursday night in Vancouver, before the NHL takes a holiday break.
- Heading into last night’s game, the Kraken had struggled as a team through the first half of December. They had only two wins through seven games and gave up more than three goals in three of those games.
- Defensemen Justin Schultz and Jamie Oleksiak, who would be considered the Kraken’s second defensive pairing after Adam Larsson and Vince Dunn, were back in the lineup together for the first time in four games. Oleksiak was suspended for three games due to a high-sticking penalty, while Schultz missed two games after an illegal hit by Florida’s Ryan Lomberg. Coach Dave Hakstol noted the duo’s return made a difference. Schultz, who set up the game-winning goal, plays a lot on the power play while Oleksiak usually kills penalties.
- Shane Wright, the Kraken’s number-one pick in the 2022 NHL draft has been named captain of the Canadien Junor Olympic team. The Kraken announced on Dec. 8 that they were loaning Wright to Canada for the WJC, which is being held from Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Moncton, New Brunswick Wright, who had a goal and an assist in eight games with the Kraken also had four goals in five games with the Coachella Valley Firebirds.
- After almost two months on the road, the Kraken’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds played their first home game last night at sold out Acrisure Arena. The Firebirds defeated the Tucson Roadrunners, 4-3, and Cameron Hughes scored the first-ever goal in the new arena. Jesper Froden, John Hayden and Tye Kartye also scored for the Firebirds.
- Karson Kuhlman, who was claimed off waivers by the Jets from the Kraken a week ago, was in the starting lineup for Winnipeg last night. The Jets are missing six players due to injuries including Blake Wheeler, who scored the Jets’ game-tying goal in their last visit to Seattle. Former Kraken expansion pick and current Jet, Mason Appleton underwent wrist surgery last week and is expected to miss eight to 12 weeks as a result.
- Winnipeg had won five consecutive games on the road prior to last night’s loss to the Kraken and are 9-5-1 as the away club this season.
W- Mark Scheifele (Josh Morrissey, Pierre-Luc Dubois) PPG 8:26.
S- Jordan Eberle (Adam Larsson, Vince Dunn) 8:43 W- Pierre Luc-Dubois (Kyle Connor, Morrissey) PPG 12:41.
S- Ryan Donato (Yanni Gourde, Andre Burakovsky) :16 S- Jared McCann (Matty Beniers, Justin Schultz) 15:28.
Shots on Goal- Winnipeg 17, Seattle 34.
Penalty Minutes- Winnipeg 6, Seattle 8.
Referee- Eric Furlatt, Corey Syvret Linesmen- CJ Murray, Killan McNamara
Three Stars- 1. Jared McCann, S. 2. Ryan Donato, S. 3. Philipp Grubauer, S.