The Seattle Kraken dug themselves into an early hole last night at Madison Square Garden so when the team showed signs of life in the third period it was too big of an uphill climb for the visitors.
The Kraken scored twice in 22 seconds in the third period but were unable to capitalize on two late power plays. New York’s Ryan Lingren fired almost the length of the ice into an open net at 17:51 to put the cap on a 6-3 Rangers’ victory. Seattle drops to 0-3 on its’ post All-Star break road trip, 29-18-5 overall.
“We got off to a little different start tonight,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “This team you have to stop in the offensive zone or on their side of the red line and we didn’t do that in the first period. That cost us. Getting ourselves into a hole which we spent the second and third trying to dig out of. The effort and the will during the second and third periods were very good but we dug ourselves too big of a hole in the first period.”
That hole was a 5-1 deficit against goaltender Igor Shesterkin, last year’s Vezina Trophy winner awarded to the league’s top netminder. But the Kraken got the opening they needed when Morgan Geekie went on a breakaway and was hooked by Ranger defenseman Niko Mikkola. Geekie could have been awarded a penalty shot as the hook prevented him from getting a shot on goal. But things worked out for the Kraken as Jared McCann drilled a shot home on the ensuing power play to make it 5-2 at 5:59 of the third period. McCann took a pass from Vince Dunn and Alex Wennberg screened Shesterkin in front of the net.
Before that goal was even announced, Brandon Tanev took a stretch pass from Ryan Donato and went in uncontested, scoring off a back-hander through the legs of Shesterkin.
Tanev almost cut the lead to 5-4 on another breakaway with five minutes remaining. Tanev appeared to be fouled by the Rangers’ Chris Kreider impeding his shot but another penalty was called behind the play on Ranger defenseman Adam Fox. While the Kraken were unable to capitalized on that PP, they would have one more opportunity.for a comeback.
With McCann in the penalty box, Mikkola was called for shooting the puck into the stands (his third penalty of the game) a call that infuriated Rangers’ coach Gord Gallant as the puck may have been deflected. With 3:41 showing on the clock and a faceoff in the Kraken offensive zone, Hakstol pulled goaltender Martin Jones for an extra attacker in effect giving Seattle a man advantage, The move appeared to be paying dividends as the Kraken kept the puck in the zone for over a minute (Wennberg won two faceoffs in that time) until Lindgren intercepted a pass and shot the puck three quarters of the way down the ice directly into the net.
“We had some chances trying to get around (Shesterkin),” said Kraken forward Jordan Eberle said. “It’s tough to find things, especially with him. He’s one of the best goalies in the league. It’s hard to beat them straight up. I think we had a good screen on Canner’s goal, and then obviously the breakaway, and then Tanev’s (goal). But you know, we’ve got to try and find more in and around and whether that’s just getting bodies or even just getting pucks to the net..”
The storyline for the Rangers centered on the acquisition of Vladimir Tarasenko and Mikkola from the St. Louis Blues on Thursday for Sammy Blais, Hunter Skinner, and a first and fourth round draft choice. Tarasenko, who’s averaging 2.62 points a game this season, was immediately inserted on the Broadway Blueshirts number one line along with Artemi Panarin and Miko Zbanejad. Tarasenko didn’t waste any time making his presence felt. Starting their second shift, Tarasenko took a cross pass from Panarin and scored his first Ranger goal (11th overall) just under three minutes into the game.
While the Rangers outshot the Kraken by a narrow 12-10 margin in the first period, New York would take a 3-0 lead to the intermission thanks to goals from Kaapo Kakko and Vincent Trocheck. Defenseman Jacob Trouba made it 4-0 with a power-play goal in the at !:03 of the second period. Oliver Bjorkstrand finally put the Kraken on the scoreboard a little over a minute later off a pass from linemate Eeli Tolvanen.
“We were slow,” said Eberle. “We gave them everything they had as far as turnovers and they’re a fast team. They’re going to counter. I like the way we battled back into the game. We gave ourselves a shot. But ultimately, it’s tough to come back from three (goals down).”
The Kraken continue their road trip tomorrow in Philadelphia – a morning game Seattle time (10 a.m.) before the Super Bowl. Seattle finishes the road trip on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, Feb. 14 in Winnipeg.
. . GAME NOTES
- The Kraken are now 1-3 lifetime against the Rangers. Seattle won the first game between the teams this season on Nov. 17 at Climate Pledge Arena, 3-2, in overtime. Justin Schultz scored the game winner in overtime. Last night marked the first time this season that the Kraken have lost in regulation when scoring three or more goals. Coming into this matchup, Seattle was 26-0-1 in three-goal games.
- The Kraken are now 3-6-1 since starting the 2023 calendar year with an eight-game winning streak.
- Despite being only a fourth-round draft choice, Tucker Robertson, currently playing junior hockey for the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, is the leading scorer among Kraken draft picks. The 19-year-old Toronto native has 31 goals, 39 assists for 70 points and +14. Robertson has boasted a hot stick lately with seven goals and six assists in his last five games.
- Tarasenko is the second NHL player over the past five seasons to be acquired in a midseason trade and score less than three minutes into his debut with his new team. Dominik Kahun scored 2:16 into his Buffalo Sabres’ debut on Feb. 28, 2020, after being traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
NY- Vladimir Tarasenko (Artemi Panarin) 2:49. NY- Kaapo Kakko (Filip Chytl, Alexis Lafreniere) 5:01. NY- Vincent Trocheck (Chris Kreider, Ryan Lundgren) 14:29.
NY- Jacob Trouba (Vincent Trocheck, Kakko) PPG 1:03. S- Oliver Bjorkstrand (Eeli Tolvanen) 2:07.
NY- Miko Zibanejad (Chris Kreider, Adam Fox) PPG 3:19. S- Jared McCann (Vince Dunn, Bjorkstrand) PPG 5:59. S- Brandon Tanev (Ryan Donato, Vince Dunn) 6:21. NY- Lundgren (unassisted) EN 17:51.
Shots on Goal- Seattle 29, New York 28.
Penalty Minutes- Seattle 6, New York 10
Referees- Marc Joannette, Tom Chmilewski. Linesmen- Trent Knorr, Brandon Gawayletz
Three Stars- 1. Vladimir Tarasenko, NY. 2. Vincent Trocheck, NY. 3. Kaapo Kakko, NY.
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