After Seattle Kraken goalkeeper Joey Daccord, called up from Coachella Valley earlier this week, saved the game with some sterling stops in the overtime period, the Nashville Predators scored twice in a shootout to post a 2-1 victory last night at Bridegstone Arena.
The Kraken are now 39-24-8 on the season and remain in the first wild card spot in the Western Conference. With the win, Nashville improves to 35-26-8, placing them five points behind Winnipeg and six behind Seattle in their bid to make the playoffs. Last night’s defeat ended a six-game road winning streak by the Kraken, who are now 0-4 this season in shootouts.
Overall, it may have been one of the Kraken’s better defensive efforts as Nashville went the first half of the game -12 minutes into the second period- with only seven shots on goal. Seattle took the lead, 2:12 into the contest on Daniel Sprong’s second goal in as many games. They nursed that lead into the latter stages of the second period when Nashville’s Kiefer Sherwood wrist shot tied the game.
“Hey, this time of year when there’s a lot on the line, that’s the type of hockey you know it’s going to be,” said Seattle coach Dave Hakstol. “It came down to the shootout and unfortunately we didn’t get the extra point. But we’ve got to turn the page quickly, look at a couple areas to be a little bit better. You can pretty much expect a very similar game Saturday afternoon. These two teams are going to be fighting hard for the points.”
Seattle’s Brandon Tanev picked up a boarding penalty with 18:29 left in the third period that carried into the overtime frame. On the Nashville power play, Daccord stopped five shots.
The shootout began with the Predators’ Matt Duchene scoring on a wrist shot. Jared McCann’s shot got past Nashville goalkeeper Juuse Saros, but hit the post. After Daccord stopped Luke Evangelista’s wrister, Jordan Eberle shot wide of the net and then the Predators’ Philip Tomasino clinched the game. Tomasino waited for Daccord to commit and then went `five hole’ through the goalie’s legs for the score.
“That’s what playoff hockey is like,” said Eberle. “We’ll take the point but obviously we would have preferred to have both points.”
Daccord made his second consecutive start between the pipes for the Kraken. With Philipp Grubauer sidelined with a non-COVID related illness, Daccord turned in another solid effort, stopping 23 of 24 shots. Daccord, who was recalled from the Coachella Valley Firebirds on Monday, had a 24-6-6 record with a .915 save percentage, and 2.43 goals-against average, for the Kraken’s American Hockey League affiliate.
“Joey didn’t have a lot to do in portions (of the game) especially the first half of the game,” said Hakstol. “They built some momentum in the second period and that’s when he had to be his best. He was solid and made pretty good decisions with the puck.”
Sprong’s goal came off the lead cross ice pass from linemate Morgan Geekie. At first, it appeared Sprong might be in too deep, but the puck went off the back of Soras’ left leg, into the net. Sprong now has 18 goals on the season despite missing several games as a healthy scratch. The Kraken’s fourth line of Sprong, Geekie and Tanev have scored four of the last five Kraken goals.
“I think I can make plays and have a couple of assets that can be used in the offensive zone,” said Geekie of his tape-to-tape pass. “That’s exactly what I want to do with the puck. Spronger and me, we’ve got some chemistry playing with each other through the year. He’s got a great shot, gets in the offensive zone, and has a good mind.”
In the Kraken’s 5-1 win over the Predators, Nov. 8 at Climate Pledge Arena, Saros surrendered four goals on six shots and was pulled in the first period. Sprong’s goal made it five goals on seven shots, and Saros looked shaky on a couple of other early shots. But the Nashville netminder, who has 27 victories, 2.76 goals against average and a .917 save percentage, was flawless for the remainder of the contest with 28 saves, plus two in the shootout.
The Kraken play again on Saturday morning (Seattle time) and conclude their road trip in Minnesota on Monday.
- Despite last night’s loss, the Kraken still have an impressive 23-9-4 road record. However the team has a very average home record of 16-5-4.
- Vince Dunn, who saw his 11 point streak end Tuesday night in Dallas, picked up a secondary assist on last night’s goal
- Overtimes are supposed to be three-on-three affairs in the NHL. But with 29 seconds remaining on Brandon Tanev’s third period penalty, under league rules, the Predators had a 4-3 advantage. The Kraken successfully killed the penalty, and the teams were supposed to revert to a 3-on-3 at the first play stoppage after Tanev’s return to the ice. But there were no whistles until the final minute, meaning that most of the overtime was skated, 4-on-4.
- The Calgary Flames, who won the Pacific Division a year ago, took another step towards missing this year’s playoffs, with a 3-2 loss to the Vegas Knights last night. The Flames now trail the Kraken by seven points and are six points out of the playoffs.
- The Predators actually went into a rebuild mode at the playoffs, dealing away several veteran players. Forwards Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johnasen have also been on the injured list along with the team’s top defenseman Roman Josi (who might play Saturday). The Predators’ fired general manager David Poile after the deadline and the rumor in Nashville is that long-time former coach Barry Trotz will return next season to run the team. In the playoff hunt, Nashville has one game in hand on the Kraken and three on the Winnipeg Jets.
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- Mariners end losing streak with solid 4-1 win versus Padres
- Loyd’s 37 points not enough to lead Storm over Sparks
- Kraken extend GM Ron Francis contract
- Mariners lose finale 12-3 as Rangers complete series sweep
S- Daniel Sprong (Morgan Geekie, Vince Dunn) 2:28.
N- Kiefer Sherwood (Tyson Barrie, Tommy Novak) 14:01.
N- Matt Duchene, score
S- Jared McCann, hit post.
N- Luke Evangelista, save
S- Jordan Eberle, save
N- Phillip Tomasino, score
Shots on Goal- Seattle 29, Nashville 24.
Penalty Minutes- Seattle 4, Nashville 4.
Referees- Kevin Pollock, Brian Pochmara. Linesmen- Derek Nanson, Ben O’Quinn.