New Jersey power play goals sink Kraken 3-1

The Seattle Kraken came out of the NHL’s nine game All-Star break with a flat effort against the New York Rangers, Tuesday night. Coach Dave Hakstol and several players talked about the lack of energy the team displayed after a nine-day layoff. In last night’s game, the energy was there but thanks in large part to goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood (the game’s number-one star) the Kraken were once again defeated, this time by the New Jersey Devils, 3-1, at the Prudental Center. Blackwood, who the Kraken defeated, 4-3, at Climate Pledge Arena last month, stopped 32 of 33 shots.

The Kraken fall to 29-17-5, placing them in a three-way tie for second place in the Pacific Division with Los Angeles and Edmonton, although Seattle has one fewer loss than their Pacific Division rivals. The Devils are 33-13-4, good for second place in the Metropolitan Division, four points behind the Carolina Hurricanes.

Both teams were missing their leading scorer. Seattle’s Andre Burakovsky, who played only 21 seconds in Tuesday night’s game against the New York Rangers, was placed on the Injured Reserve list with a lower body injury. Burakovsky scored the overtime game winner against the Devils on Jan. 19. The Devils were without the services of Jack Hughes, who’s currently out on a week-to-week basis. In the Devils’ loss to the Kraken, Hughes set up teammate Nico Hischier for the tying goal with 1:14 remaining. Kraken defenseman Justin Schultz was back in the lineup after missing seven games with an injury.

Defenseman Dougie Hamilton, an off-season free-agent acquisition by the Devils, scored two power play goals to ice the victory. Seattle, which had problems killing penalties early in the season, came into the game having not allowed a PPG in their previous eight games, killing off 18 penalties. (only the Kraken, New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins have gone eight games this season without allowing a power play goal).

Kraken defenseman Adam Larsson had the only Seattle goal, his fifth of the season. At 14:05 of the second period, Alex Wennberg won the faceoff back to defenseman Vince Dunn at the point. Dunn passed across to his D-partner Larsson, who fired the shot home. Larsson, a former number-one draft choice by the Devils in 2011 (fourth overall), scored his first NHL goal at the Prudental Center in the 2011-12 season..

“We got off to a good start,” Hakstol said. “It was a tight game all the way through. The ultimate difference at the end of the day is they found two on their power play. It makes a difference in the hockey game.”

The Kraken came out flying and could have scored in the first minute of the game. Dunn sent a stretch pass to Ryan Donato, who came down the right wing and hit teammate Justin Schultz cutting to the net. But Schultz couldn’t lift the puck over Blackwood, who made a sliding pad save. Seattle outshot their hosts, 12-6, in the first period.

Moments after Larsson’s goal, the Kraken’s Will Borgen was whistled off the ice with a high sticking penalty. The Devils responded immediately when Hamilton took a pass from Ondrej Palat, another newcomer in New Jersey this season, and fired home a 20-footer.

The Kraken picked up only four minor penalties in the game, but penalties were a factor in the contest. After Yanni Gourde was called for a holding penalty in the offensive zone, Hamilton struck again with another outside shot off a pass from Palat. The puck appeared to hit the leg of Seattle’s Brandon Tanev and deflected past goalie Philipp Grubauer into the net. Hamilton now has 14 points in his last six games. The Devils would complete the scoring with defenseman John Marino finding the empty net at 18:49.

“The first (Devils’ goal) was off a faceoff and we missed an assignment there,” Hakstol said. “That’s one where we have a couple of opportunities on a shot block. The second one was unfortunate. It goes off of Tanev’s leg as he’s going down and trying to get in the shot lane and they find the top corner.”

Grubauer’s record goes to 5-10-1 on the season, although he’s played well, especially since the beginning of the year. His best save in last night’s game came off former Kraken Nathian Bastian, standing in front of the net. Grubauer was out of position after being jostled by the Devils’ Michael McLeod, but still made the stop.

“It was a great job from (Grubauer),” Wennberg said. “He’s keeping us in the game, for sure, making really good saves. A win was right there. It’s a ‘find a way to win’ league and today, that didn’t happen, but Grubi did a hell of a job in net.”

The Kraken play the third of a five-game road trip tonight against the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden. Seattle travels to Philadelphia, appropriately enough, for an afternoon game (morning Seattle time) against the Flyers on Super Bowl Sunday.


  • The Athletic projects the Kraken earning 104 or 105 (104.6 to be exact) points when the regular season concludes on April 13.  That would place them first in the Pacific Division ahead of Edmonton (102.5), Calgary (99.3), Vegas (97.2) and Los Angeles (96.6). That also places Seattle  seventh-best best overall in the 32-team league. Five Eastern Conference teams – Boston, Carolina, Toronto, Tampa Bay, and Toronto – top the projected points model with Dallas from the Central Division of the Western Conference in sixth place. While currently in the midst of a tough road trip, The Athletic projects the Kraken as having the easiest schedule for the remainder of the season.
  • Unlike last season when the Kraken were realistically out of the playoff hunt by the All-Star break, Seattle fans can do some scoreboard watching this season. Unfortunately for the Kraken, the Vegas Golden Knights defeated Minnesota, 5-1, to move three points ahead of Seattle in the standings. The Edmonton Oilers also had an opportunity to move past the Kraken, but they were defeated by the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1. Only the top three teams in the Central and Pacific Divisions automatically make the playoffs. The remaining two playoff teams are the next two teams (regardless of division) with the best records. The Calgary Flames continue to fade with a 2-1 loss to Detroit. The Flames are now five points behind Seattle, Edmonton and Los Angeles. The Kraken have played two fewer games than Vegas and Los Angeles, and one fewer game than Edmonton.
  • Jagger Firkus, the Kraken’s number-two pick (35th overall) in the 2022 amateur draft has been on a hot streak. Playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League, Firkus has scored goals in his last five games and has nine points in his less ten games. The 18-year old has 28 goals and 35 assists for 63 points in 50 games this season.


First Period

No scoring.

Second Period

S- Adam Larsson (Adam Dunn, Alex Wennberg) 14:05. NJ- Dougie Hamilton (Ondrej Palat, Tomas Tatar) PPG 14:29.

Third Period

NJ- Hamilton (Palat, Jesper Bratt) PPG, 10:00. NJ- John Marino (Erik Haula, Nico Hischier) EN, 18:49.

Shots on Goal- Seattle 34, New Jersey 27.

Penalty Minutes- Seattle 8, New Jersey 6.

Referees- Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman Linesmen- Devin Berg, Kilian McNamara

Three Stars- 1. Mackenzie Blackwood, NJ. 2. Dougie Hamilton, NJ. 3. Ondrej Palat, NJ.

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