The first of many for Ryker Evans, and Joey Daccord?

Florida Panthers v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 12: Joey Daccord #35 of the Seattle Kraken celebrates his first NHL shutout against the Florida Panthers at Climate Pledge Arena on December 12, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Eight games of frustration, one goal losses, overturned goals, and what-could-have-beens were erased as the Seattle Kraken found their winning rhythm once again in a 4-0 shutout victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday evening before a sellout crowd at Climate Pledge Arena.

Amazingly, for the anguish endured over a 0-6-2 dry spell, the win moved them to within three points of the final wild card spot with still four long months to go in the season. They made their move with Joey Daccord's first career shutout on 24 stops, and a fourth line buoyed by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Kailer Yamamoto's multi point outings. Alex Wennberg and Eeli Tolvanen put the game out of reach in the the third period with the final two goals, with Tolvanen's coming on an empty netter.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 19 shots for Florida.

Three takeaways from the game:

1) Joey Daccord further solidified more starts ahead on the Kraken schedule.

After Philipp Grubauer went down to a lower body injury against Tampa Bay last Saturday, there was only one man in line to take the torch. Joey Daccord has grabbed it and held tightly, and spun his best game for his Kraken career on Tuesday. His first career NHL shutout came in a moderate to low stress test, with a sound defense to shut down his toughest save arguably coming in close on Aaron Ekblad in the first period. But nearly every save was made with assertiveness and control. Daccord now has allowed two goals or less in five of his last six starts. There are no back-to-backs on the Kraken schedule until next month. Until Grubauer is ready, Daccord's play is screaming for more starts. He said the save on Ekblad save was critical to build confident.

"It's always nice to make any save especially when they get a good chance really to kind of get the ball rolling," said Daccord. "Just feel good, move forward, that's definitely always nice."

2) Ryker Evans is on pace to being told "go find an apartment."

Maybe he has been told already. Or maybe we shouldn't get presumptuous. But the rookie defenseman has looked all that's been advertised since his call-up and NHL debut last Thursday, handling the puck with crisp movement, deft touch, and control on the Kraken power play. On Tuesday night, he cruised behind the net to land a tape-to-tape pass to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who slammed in a 2-0 lead. Evans made the play in a clutch moment for his first career NHL point, and perhaps there's a lot more to come.

"That's not an easy play," said head coach Dave Hakstol. "He takes the puck down the wall, he finds space and makes a play out front. So, you know, we continue to like the poise that he plays with. He's a young guy, cutting his teeth early in his career, in this league. The team we're playing against tonight is one of the most complete teams in NHL right now. Especially as you look at the way they're playing. They're healthy, they're deep, and they're playing well. Ryker took on every shift with nice confidence. That's what we see. We want to continue to see that grow."

3) The Kraken weren't perfect, and maybe that's an encouraging sign.

It appeared in the first 20 minutes, the Florida Panthers were every bit of the threat that was signaled heading into Tuesday night, as defending Eastern Conference champs. For the Kraken, it was a mere win to get a shot on net, let alone escape the first period at a scoreless tie. But the first sign of fortune came on their first penalty kill situation, when Florida was denied any looks in high-danger areas for the full two-minute span. The Kraken waited out the first mistake. That came in the second period when Kailer Yamamoto snuck behind the defense for a breakaway goal. From there, they were in control, with their first 1-0 lead in nine games. They didn't have to play a perfect game. Considering how much hockey remains on the schedule, that's encouraging as they went to bed three points behind Arizona for the final wild card spot.

"We played 60 full minutes tonight, and the first period was a slugfest," said Hakstol. "There was not a whole that was pretty. We got a couple of big saves from from our goaltender which is critical. Then as we got going in the second period, the goal by 'Yamo' was a huge one. We kept our foot on the gas and the third period."

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