Unfortunately for the Seattle Kraken, they’re not the only team that’s been `hot’ in the National Hockey League.
The Kraken ran into a buzzsaw Monday afternoon when they were defeated by a Tampa Bay Lightning team that won its 14th game in 17 outings. Last night at Rogers Center in Edmonton, the home town Oilers won their fourth consecutive game, besting the Kraken, 5-2.
Zach Hyman led Edmonton with a goal and two assists. The Kraken, who currently reside in second place in the Pacific Division with a 26-14-4 record, three points ahead of the fourth place Oilers (25-16-3). Last night’s loss ended a seven-game road winning streak by the Kraken.
One bright spot for Seattle came in the third period. Defenseman Adam Dunn scored 22 seconds in when he blistered home his ninth goal of the season off a nice pass from Alex Wennberg on the right wing. The puck went off the glove of Edmonton goaltender Jack Campbell. After the puck went into the net, Campbell stared at his glove, bringing to mind the old adage that, “a good carpenter never blames his tools.”
With the score, Dunn set a new team record of a point in eight consecutive games. Previously, he was tied at seven games with teammates Adam Larsson and Jordan Eberle. Dunn, with five goals and nine assists is tied with New Jersey’s Jack Hughes for total points in 2023.
Dunn’s score cut the lead to 3-2 but the Oilers tallied a fluke goal just over a minute later. Hyman, the game’s number-one star, took a pass in front of the net. Seattle’s Eeli Tolvanen reached in with his stick and knocked into the Kraken net, past goaltender Martin Jones who wasn’t expecting a `shot’ on net.
Edmonton added a final goal at 9:15. Hyman set up that goal when he hit Dylan Holloway with a pass in front of the net. Holloway’s shot hit the post, but Ryan McLeod pounced on the rebound and lofted the puck into the upper left corner of the net.
“When you score goals, you know you’re going to get a push from the other team, so you need to be prepared for that,” Dunn said. “We need to execute, we need to be disciplined in our structure, and we need to make those plays. It’s a big couple of shifts after you score, and those need to be better.”
The Oilers had taken the lead on two second period goals which were also a bit unusual. Defenseman Vincent Descharnais, recently recalled from the minors, fired from the point and the puck trickled through Jones’ pads. Jones thought he had the puck, but it lay tantalizingly at the goal line until Derek Ryan standing to the right of the net tipped it home. Warren Fogele then added a goal on a wild scramble in front of the net. With several players battling for the puck Fogele actually shot the puck in while sitting on the ice.”
“We gave up two right inside the blue paint in the second period, and that’s the difference in the hockey game in a lot of respects,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “There are two things that stand out: Too many rush opportunities that came off our play, especially our play on the wall in the second period, and the two from the blue paint. In games like this, you have to have everybody going, and we had several guys below the bar tonight.”
Darren Sprong opened the scoring for the Kraken with his 15th goal of the season on the power play just over three minutes into the game. Later in the period, the Oilers’ big guns combined to tie the game. Leon Draisaitl (43 assists) found Connor McDavid charging to the net for the score. McDavid’s made a shambles of the scoring race this season with his 38th goal in 46 games. Overall, McDavid and Draisaitl had quiet nights as the Oilers’ second and third lines were responsible for the remainder of the scoring.
“I thought we had a really good first 10 minutes,’ said Kraken coach Dave Hakstol. “Then we took a bad penalty (Morgan Geekie for slashing). That slowed our momentum. We did a nice job on the penalty kill. I’m not saying that got their momentum going but it broke our momentum.”
“We let them play with speed, we gave them some free breakouts, and they’ll make you pay,” Sprong said. “We made some mistakes and turnovers, and they ended up in the back of the net.
The Kraken return to Climate Pledge tomorrow for their first meeting of the season against the New Jersey Devils. Like the Kraken, the Devils have played much better than many predicted as they stand in second place in the Metropolitan Division with a 29-12-3 record.
- Last night’s game marked the third meeting between the teams in 19 days. The Oilers defeated Seattle at Climate Pledge Arena, 7-2, on Dec. 30 and the Kraken won 5-2 in Edmonton on Jan. 3. Seattle scored five straight goals in that contest after falling behind, 2-0. That contest started Seattle’s seven game road winning streak.
- Killing penalties has been a bugaboo for the Kraken this season. But they successfully thwarted three Oiler power play opportunities last night against a high-powered Edmonton team. The Kraken also killed two penalties in their previous game against Tampa Bay.
- Jack Campbell, the Oilers’ big off-season free agent acquisition from Toronto, has now won five straight games in net. Campbell was making his first start of the season against Seattle although he relieved Stuart Skinner in the Kraken’s Jan. 3 game in Edmonton.
- Oilers forward Evander Kane returned to the lineup last night after being cut on the wrist by a skate blade Nov. 8 at Tampa Bay, causing him to miss 31 games. Following surgery, Kane was initially expected to miss three to four months. Kane was a standout in the playoffs for the Oilers last season.
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S- Daniel Sprong (Justin Schultz, Andre Burakovsky) 3:11. E- Connor McDavid (Leon Drasaitl) 14:08.
E- Derek Ryan (Vincent Desharnais, Dylan Holloway) 3:15. E- Warren Fogele (Drasaitl, Zach Hyman) 12:30.
S- Vince Dunn (Alex Wennberg) 0:22. E- Hyman (unassisted) 1:23. E- Ryan McLeod (Dylan Hollaway, Hyman) 9:15.
Shots on Goal- Seattle 31, Edmonton 33.
Penalty Minutes- Seattle 6, Edmonton 8
Referees- Jean Hebert, Trevor Hansen. Linesmen- Caleb Appleton, Joe Mahon.
Three Stars- 1. Zach Hyman, E. 2. Dylan Holloway, E. 3. Warren Fogele, E.