Lawson Crouse’s two goal night, with both goals coming in the third period, were principal in ushering a rally to help the Arizona Coyotes break an 11-game spell of winless futility, 5-4 over the Seattle Kraken on Saturday night at Gila River Arena.
With the Kraken leading by a goal with 20 minutes to go, they needed more foot to pedal to finish off the Coyotes, entering the night tied for longest winless streak in franchise history to begin a season (0-10-1). Crouse’s first goal of the game tied the score, 47 seconds after third period puck drop.
Then, after Nathan Bastian’s tripping penalty with 7:06 left in regulation, Phil Kessel’s wrister from between the circles broke the team’s seven-game streak (previously 0-of-15) without a power play goal, giving the Coyotes a shocking 4-3 lead with 6:26 to go.
It seemed a long way off from how this one started, when the Kraken (4-7-1) were on their way to flooring it on the Coyotes after scoring on their first two shots – courtesy Jordan Eberle and Yanni Gourde – and ending starter Karel Vejmelka’s night after 59 seconds for backup goalie Scott Wedgewood.
Mark Giordano, who helped rally an overtime win in pre-season with a dramatic extra attacker goal against Edmonton, appeared to generate the same script after starter Philipp Grubauer was pulled with less than two minutes left in regulation. Giordano, corralling a puck at the left point, threaded a shot through traffic with 1:18 left in regulation to send the Kraken bench into delirium, with brand new life, and a 4-4 tie.
Shockingly, the next shift, a turnover behind the Kraken net spawned Crouse’s blast from the left circle, and the Coyotes had their dramatic game winner just 13 seconds after the Kraken tied it up.
Wedgewood, who made 27 saves in relief, withstood one last tidal wave of chances and loose pucks at the net from the Kraken in the closing seconds.
Where the Kraken go from here: two days to mentally reset before circling back to the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena, Tuesday night at 7pm in a place where the Kraken nearly rallied in miracle fashion in their grand opening debut on Oct. 12. It will be their first meeting since that Opening Night affair.
- Ryan Donato exited the game after just six shifts with an upper body ailment, with no further update available immediately at the night’s conclusion.
- According toNaturalStatTrick, the Kraken once again owned the upper hand in scoring opportunities: 26-16 over the Coyotes (and 11-4 in the first period, indicative of their fast start that produced a 3-1 lead), and 10-6 in “high danger” scoring opportunities.
- Dave Hakstol’s pre-game hint to keep a portion of the lineup intact had their top two lines together, with the Jaden Schwartz – Alex Wennberg – Jordan Eberle trio earning a whopping 7-1 edge in scoring opportunities at five-on-five play and the Brandon Tanev – Gourde – Calle Jarnkrok trio at a 4-0 clip at full strength chances.
- Jordan Eberle continues to scorch: his first period goal, setting a Kraken record for fastest goal to begin a game (just :15 after puck drop), was his fifth goal in six games. He’s now tied with Brandon Tanev for the team lead in goals (6). He pumped four shots on net, second only on the team to Jaden Schwartz (5), and also missed another opportunity off the post in the second period.
- The fast start on the road was a matter only duplicated three times in the past two decades: two goals, opening minute, on the road. The Kraken became the fourth team to accomplish that opening stretch.
- The Kraken power play, earning a “grade A” look after Crouse’s tripping penalty 4:25 into the final period, is still mathematically looking for daylight with a string of seven straight games without a goal (0 of 2 on Saturday).
- Jamie Oleksiak, whose three hits were one off the leader in Adam Larsson, earned an assist on Gourde’s 2-0 strike just under a minute into the game, a three-game assist streak that matched his previous career high set in 2018-19.
- Bastian earned his first goal in a Kraken jersey, a backhand tuck at the net, to complete the 3-1 lead after 20 minutes of play.
Saturday night’s lineup:
Schwartz - Wennberg - Eberle
Tanev - Gourde - Jarnkrok
Donato – Geekie - Donskoi
McCormick – Sheahan – Bastian
Giordano - Oleksiak
Fleury – Larsson
Soucy - Dunn
FROM THE PODIUM:
Head coach Dave Hakstol on the results of Saturday night:
“Obviously disappointing loss with lead going into the third period, you know, (we were) able to tie it up late to push the overtime, but that's disappointing.”
Hakstol on play in the third period:
“So overall, you know, there are some critical areas – our focusing was not there. You look at the third goal, pass-out play from underneath our goal line, we get the next three or four people back. But our awareness wasn't there. That's indicative of a couple of the goals against.”
Hakstol on communication and a change versus last previous two games:
“We had some of those pieces to our game. We didn't have the completeness at all. That shows in not a ton of, in terms of volume of chances, but you know - some of the quality that we didn't make them work hard enough to get.”
Nathan Bastian where the change in game was apparent, after the need to maintain energy:
“I'm not sure. Obviously, that’s not the way we want to finish games like that, you’ve got to kind of dial it back and make things a little simpler out there on yourself so, not happy about it.”
Bastian, if there’s a natural tendency to lose energy after a two-goal lead:
“You'd like to think not, obviously, when you go up two to nothing in the first minute, that's a huge start to the game. So you don't really know how you're going to react, but obviously you want to react the right way. Actually, in the first period, I thought we did that.”
Yanni Gourde on moving ahead:
“We’re going to look at the clips, we're going to look at the tape and we're going to come up with an answer. We're going to be better next game. But like I said, I think overall our battle level – they won more battles than we did. And at the end of the day, you lose more battles, you lose the game.”
Gourde on how he saw the third period:
“We got a good start in early in the third, and a good shift. They got a screened scoring chance. Quick turnaround, but we've got to manage the game better. We got to go out there and turn the ship around a little bit. We got more looks in the third, but we've got to be better for 60 minutes. Where our identity is, it’s play 60 minutes hard. I don't think we did that tonight.”