Kraken back into wild card spot in 4-3 OT loss to Calgary

Calgary Flames v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 20: Joey Daccord #35 of the Seattle Kraken makes a save against Elias Lindholm #28 of the Calgary Flames during the third period at Climate Pledge Arena on November 20, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Rasmus Andersson completed a three-point night and late comeback with a game winner at 3:28, helping the Calgary Flames overcome the Seattle Kraken, 4-3 in overtime, before 17,151 fans at Climate Pledge Arena on Monday. 

Vince Dunn, Jordan Eberle, and Jared McCann each scored for the Kraken, who held a 3-2 lead until Andrew Mangiapane tied the game by winning a loose puck battle at the net with 4:07 left in regulation, seconds after Joey Daccord came up with a clutch glove save to protect the one-goal lead. 

Daccord, relieving starter Philipp Grubauer from what seemed to be a minor injury after the first period, took over in the second period with 22 saves. Dan Vladar took the win in net with 28 stops. 

Dave Hakstol said there was no update available on Grubauer by the end of the evening. 

Takeaways from the game: 

1.     The Kraken have been good enough to get into a playoff spot. They went to bed, nearly at the quarter poll of the regular season, technically attached to a wild card spot (though, two teams trail them by a point in Anaheim and Arizona, each who have two games in hand – and the team they are tied with, St. Louis, has three games in hand). They are 2-0-2 in the last four games, have put together more complete efforts over the last week, and have been diligent in getting increased shot volume on net. Their top players have been reappearing on the stat sheet recently, and goaltending mostly have avoided clunker games to contrast otherwise tightly spun games at five-on-five.

Still, consensus after the game left no satisfaction in settling for the “loser point,” where the Kraken backed into the spot after squandering another third period lead. There is a thirst for more, there is an understanding the Kraken can achieve more. The small details can dictate tight games. A lost battle at the net turned the game into a brand new one, the Kraken offensive engine stalled in the third period, and a slow burnout led to the third lead lost this season, in the third period, and turning into an OT or shootout loss.

“It’s a tight league, I said it after the Vancouver game – we need to find ways to win a little bit more,” said Eberle. 

“You get a point, that’s a positive, but you’d obviously like to get two.” 

2.     Bodies at the net helped put the Kraken in good position. It was apparent that Dan Vladar wouldn’t be letting anything fancy get by him the entire night – evident on a high grade stop on Matty Beniers and a glove save on a Jared McCann’s slap shot off the rush. 

Down 2-1, the Kraken resorted to going into the trenches and using physical chaos to disrupt the long and lanky Calgary goaltender. Jordan Eberle found a game tying goal that maneuvered through Vladar’s five hole, then McCann earned inside positioning to get a piece of Adam Larsson’s blast to turn the game around. 

“We controlled the play,” said McCann of the second period. “We got a lot of pucks to the net. We played gritty. But we have to learn from mistakes.” 

Their effort was incomplete at that point, but an offense that is still looking for an extra gear found paydirt through a simple and effective plan to generate offense, through sheer grit. 

3.     More points were left on the table. The challenge for the Kraken these days hasn’t been necessarily building a lead but protecting it. A blown face-off in Edmonton, in the last minute of regulation set up the Oilers game tying goal last Thursday as the Kraken had to settle for the overtime loss point. This time – a loose puck battle at the net, where the Kraken failed to box out Andrew Mangiapane, wiped out the Kraken lead. 

Shots on goal were hard to come by in the third period, where the Kraken engine stalled in pulling away. They were outshot 16-3 after dominating puck possession and shot metrics in the first 40 minutes. But their first shot on net didn’t come until five minutes into the period, and even after Mangiapane’s game tying goal, they didn’t register anything after Oliver Bjorkstrand’s wrister with 3:46 left in regulation. The Kraken also won the face-off battle, but let Calgary catch up with several face-off wins in the third period. 

The Kraken managed just one shot on in net in overtime with a Vince Dunn blast from nearly 30 feet out, winning the opening face-off and carrying substantial puck possession, but keeping Vladar's space relatively clean in the three-on-three session.

“We have to learn to finish games off,” said McCann. 

The Kraken will host the San Jose Sharks, 0-8 on the road this season, at Climate Pledge Arena on Wednesday at 7pm PT. 

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