The Seattle Kraken entered last night’s game on a five-game winning streak. Admittedly, none of the teams they defeated will make the playoffs. Last night’s opponent, the Vegas Golden Knights were playing for something – the chance to finish first in the Pacific Division. The result was a 4-1 Vegas victory, in a contest dominated by the Knights.
The Kraken drop to 46-27-8 on the season. However, a Seattle victory at home against the Knights on Thursday, combined with a Los Angeles Kings loss in regulation time against the Anaheim Ducks, would give Seattle third place in the Pacific Division. The Knights are 50-22-9. Last night’s victory was even more important to the Knights as Edmonton defeated Colorado, 2-1, in overtime. While Vegas has led the division most of the season, a loss to the Kraken on Thursday and an Oilers win against San Jose, another team out of the playoffs, would drop Vegas to second place.
“We’re not happy with the result,” said Seattle coach Dave Hakstol of the team’s listless effort. “Not a lot of energy tonight. We had a good burst the last 15, 16 minutes of the first period but couldn’t find any energy in the second and third. They played well, they were on top of us and didn’t give us a lot of time.”
The Knights could have scored a few more goals. But Joey Daccord, recalled from Coachella Valley for the third time this season, was a standout in the net for Seattle. Daccord, replacing the injured Martin Jones, turned aside 33 of 37 shots. The Knights’ Reilly Smith missed an open net and another puck appeared to get past Daccord into the net but the officials lost site of the puck. Daccord made a cameo appearance for the Kraken in Monday’s 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Daccord relieved Philipp Grubauer in the game’s final minute. The Coyotes are playing on the Arizona State University campus this season, and Hakstol gave Daccord a chance to play on the home ice of his alma mater. Daccord’s the first ASU player to make it to the National Hockey League.
“(Daccord’s) compete level throughout tonight was really good,” said Hakstol.. “He made some big saves, some athletic saves and he was able to do that for us. He’s putting together a hell of a season in the American Hockey League and each time he comes up here he contributes to our team so that’s a real good credit to Joey.”
Despite Vegas missing their top scorer, Jack Eichel, the line of Mike Amadeo-Reilly Smith-William Karlsson accounted for eight points in the game. Amadeo opened the scoring at 5:37 of the first period. But Yanni Gourde answered for the Kraken. Oliver Bjorkstrand picked off a Vegas pass at center ice and sent Gourde down the right wing for the score.
The Knights would rattle off 16 shots in the second period, scoring twice. Smith set up Amadeo for the score at the three minute mark, and then Amadeo almost recorded a hat trick at 13:48. Daccord made the initial stop, but Smith tapped in the rebound. It was Amadeo’s first two-goal game since 2018, when he was a member of the Los Angeles Kings.
Vegas’ final goal came off an odd play. One referee called the Kraken’s Will Borgen for interference at the exact same time that the other ref called Jesper Froden for hooking. After a brief consultation, both Kraken players were sent to the penalty box. Vegas wasted no time capitalizing on a 5-on-3 advantage. Defensemen Alex Pietrangelo fired from the point, Daccord made the kick save, but the puck came to Jonathan Marchessault who had a mostly open net.
Monday was a better night for Seattle as the Kraken posted a 4-1 victory over the Coyotes. With that win, the Kraken reached the 100-point mark, the first NHL team to reach triple numbers in standing points in their second year (the Knights however cleared the 100-point mark in their first season). Jared McCann scored his landmark 40th goal of the year and Matty Beniers notched his third goal in five games. Bjorkstrand also became the Kraken’s sixth 20 goal scorer, on his 28th birthday, his first goal since the birth of his son Otto.
Amazingly, McCann was traded three times in six years- and left exposed in the expansion draft- after being a number-one draft choice of the Vancouver Canucks. “I just needed a chance,” said McCann. “There’s a lot of guys in the NHL that don’t get the opportunity. Not that they don’t deserve it – sometimes that’s just the way it goes. It’s something that I’ve obviously had to work for.”
The Kraken’s final regular season game against the Knights takes place tomorrow night at Climate Pledge Arena. It’ll be `Fan Appreciation Night.’ Seattle’s playoff opponent could be the Knights, if the Kraken pull off the victory (Vegas is 6-1 against Seattle all-time) or they could face the winner of the Central Division. Colorado, with a point in their overtime loss to the Oilers, lead Dallas by one point and Minnesota by three points.
- Now that all of Canada’s junior leagues have completed their seasons, the Kraken assigned Shane Wright and David Goyette to the American Hockey League playoff-bound Coachella Valley Firebirds. Wright, the Kraken’s number-one draft pick last summer, started the season with the Kraken and then the Firebirds. He joined gold-medal winning Canada for the World Juniors. Then Wright was sent down to the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs and then traded to the Windsor Spitfires. With the Spitfires he recorded 37 points in 40 games. Goyette recently completed his second season with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves. The 19-year-old set career highs in goals (41) and points (92) to lead the Wolves. A second-round draft pick in 2022, Goyette will return to Sudbury next season unless he makes the Kraken in training camp.
- Brandon Tanev is the Kraken nominee for the Bill Masterson Award. The Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey. Bill Masterton, a Minnesota North Stars’ player, suffered a fatal injury in a game against the Oakland Seals in 1967. He’s the only player in NHL history to die as a direct result of injuries suffered during a game. Tanev returned to the Kraken lineup this season after suffering a major knee injury in December 2021.
- By beating the Arizona Coyotes in all three games this season, the Kraken have now swept the season series against six teams this year. The other ‘victims’ are Buffalo, Columbus, Detroit, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
- Last night’s game marked the eight time this season that the Kraken have played on two consecutive games. In back-to-back games. Seattle has won the second game, five times.
V- Michael Amadeo (Reilly Smith, William Karlsson) 5:37. S- Yanni Gourde (Oliver Bjorkstrand) 9:06.
V- Amadeo (Reilly Smith, William Karlsson) 3:00. V- Smith (Amadeo, Nicolas Hague) 13:48.
V- Jonathan Marchessault (Alex Pietrangelo, Chandler Stephenson) PPG 3:23.
Shots on Goal- Seattle 21, Vegas 37.
Penalty Minutes- Seattle 6, Vegas 4.
Referees- Gord Dwyer, Chris Schlenker. Linesmen- Bryan Panich, Kyle Flemington.