There was a time in the National Hockey League when referees would routinely put their whistles away in the final minutes of a close game. All sorts of felonious assaults were allowed in third periods and overtime. But in the present-day NHL, the Detroit Red Wings’ Moritz Seider – last year’s Rookie of the Year no less- was called for a hooking penalty in the overtime period against the Seattle Kraken. The Kraken and their faithful weren’t complaining as Oliver Bjorkstrand netted a power play goal – his second goal of the night- to give the Kraken a 5-4 overtime victory last night at Little Caesars Arena.
Bjorkstrand and Jared McCann each had two goals as the win moves Seattle into a third place tie in the Pacific Division with a 34-21-6 record. They’re also seven points ahead of the Calgary Flames, the first team out of the Western Conference playoffs.
“We had them back on their heels (at the start),”said Kraken coach Dave Hakstol. “They didn’t have a whole lot of life and we fed that a little bit, with a couple of the turnovers and with the goals that we gave up. But, we were able to push back, answer, and then, settle things down the last 20-plus minutes of the hockey game. That makes it a good road win.”
Bjorkstrand’s game winner came with only four seconds remaining on Seider’s penalty – he was called for hooking the Kraken’s Jaden Schwartz. After McCann’s shot was kicked out by Detroit goalie Ville Husso, the puck came to Bjorkstrand along the right boards. He skated across the ice and fired home the game winner from the left point with Schwartz screening in front.
For the second consecutive game the Seattle Kraken faced a team dealing away veteran players at the trade deadline and building for the future. The Red Wings have traded defenseman Filip Hronek and forward Todd Bertuzzi in the past two days. But unlike Tuesday’s win against the St. Louis Blues, 5-3, where the Kraken came out slow, Seattle took a quick 3-1 lead and recorded 17 shots on goal in the first period.’
McCann snapped a shot home, only 1:12 into the contest. McCann, who led the Kraken with 27 goals in their opening season, would tally his 28th and 29th goals of the year in last night’s contest. The goal was set up by a pass from Jordan Eberle, who’s assisted on 19 of McCann’s 29 goals.
“(Eberle) is a special player,” McCann said. “I’ve waited my whole career to play with a guy like that. And he’s not just a good player on the ice but a great guy off of it. A guy that has been a huge leader for this organization. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve played as much with anybody (on a line) as I have with Ebs.”
The goals were fast and furious in the first period. Red Wing defenseman Ben Chariot tied the game on a drive at 3:07. Seattle took the lead again when Bjorkstrand deflected home a shot by Alex Wennberg. McCann’s second goal came at 12:18, a shot from the left circle with Wennberg screening Detroit goalie Ville Husso, making it 3-1. The goal marked the second straight game that McCann just missed a power play goal as the Wings were just getting back to full strength.
However, any aspirations of a Kraken blowout victory were thwarted with a late first period goal. With a delayed penalty coming up against the Kraken, Adam Erne, just out of the penalty box after an early fight with the Kraken’s Yanni Gourde, tipped home a shot from by Seider (the goal was originally credited to the Red Wing defenseman).
The Wings would tie the game early in the second period when Jonatan Bergeren scored off a pass from Filip Zabina. After that goal, the Kraken pulled goalkeeper Martin Jones in favor of Philipp Grubauer. ‘Grubi’ was solid between the pipes the remainder of the contest. He was screened on the only goal he allowed; a blistering shot by defenseman Jake Walmot. TV replays showed Grubauer peeking around the players stationed in front, as the puck headed into the net.
Before Walmot’s goal, the Kraken had taken a 4-3 lead on a `tape-to-tape’ pass from Eberle to Schwartz. After a hectic first period, Grubauer and Husso settled things down in the third period sending the game into overtime.
“We showed some tenacity and fight,” said McCann, of the hard-fought victory. “We made things a little tough for our goalies, not holding our positions.”
“At the end of the day, we found a way to win,” said Eberle. “That’s the most important thing, especially this time of the year, all these points are important. Obviously, we want to clean some things up and move forward. This is a fun time of the year to play hockey. You look at the standings and you’re trying to make a push to get in the playoffs in year two.”
Seattle returns to action tonight, the third game of a four-game road trip. The Kraken make their only appearance of the year in Columbus to face the Blue Jackets who currently have the worst record in the NHL, 20-35-6.
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- Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis told KJR radio yesterday that no major trade deadline moves are expected from the Kraken. No surprise, as Francis said in a ROOT Sports interview earlier in the week that the Kraken were looking at things long term – some players moved at the deadline are `rentals,’ players not signed for next season. Last season, Seattle made several trades at the deadline, mostly stockpiling draft picks. The Kraken have four picks in the top two rounds of the upcoming amateur draft. Francis called this draft the deepest, “since the Kraken have been in business.”
- The Kraken have now killed 18 consecutive penalties over their last eight games.
- One player move of interest to Kraken fans occurred when the Los Angeles Kings sent their longtime number-one netminder Jonathan Quick to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Yesterday, the Blue Jackets sent Quick back to the Pacific Division in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights. Currently, the Knights are in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Kings and four ahead of the Kraken and the Edmonton Oilers.
S- Jared McCann (Jordan Eberle, Matty Beniers) 1:12. D- Ben Chariot (Andrew Copp, Robby Fabri) 3:07. S- Oliver Bjorkstrand (Alex Wennberg, Justin Schwartz) 5:23 S- McCann (Vince Dunn, Eeli Tolvanen) 12:18. D- Adam Erne (Moritz Seider, Dylan Larkin) 18:39.
D- Jonatan Bergeron (Filip Zabina, Gustav Lindstrom) 2:59. S- Jaden Schwartz (Jordan Eberle, Matty Beniers) 6:17. D= Jake Walmot (unassisted) 14:48.
S- Bjorkstrand (McCann, Justin Schultz) PPP 3:33.
Shots on Goal- Seattle 37, Detroit 29.
Penalty Minutes- Seattle 11, Detroit 15.
Referees- Eric Furlatt, Kendrick Nicholson. Linesman- Kyle Flemington, Killian McNamara.
Three Stars- 1. Oliver Bjorkstrand, S. 2. Jared McCann, S. 3. Jake Walmot, D.