New year, new slate, and the Seattle Kraken have to wait another game for a different result.
Giving up a pair of first period goals, the Vancouver Canucks never trailed despite the Kraken getting close on three separate occasions, yet Tanner Pearson’s two point effort and Thatcher Demko’s 30 saves helped the Canucks send the Kraken to a 5-2 defeat, Saturday night before a sold out crowd at Climate Pledge Arena.
The Kraken fell to 0-4-1 in the last five games while the Canucks continued an eight game surge under new head coach Bruce Boudreau, 8-0-1 in the last nine games.
In the second meeting between the teams, and the first since the historic Oct. 23 home opener in Seattle, Vasily Podkolzin – off a defensive zone turnover – and Nils Hoglander each scored in the first period as Vancouver outshot the Kraken 14-6 in the first 20 minutes.
Another defensive zone turnover led to a third period Tyler Motte goal, an issue identified after the game.
“We put two pucks directly on their tape in scoring areas,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “There’s reasons those plays came up. Those plays can’t happen."
“Those are really tough plays to put on your goaltender.”
Calle Jarnkork continued to produce in a three game stretch with five points, scoring a second period goal when he snuck a wrister from the left boards, through traffic, and piercing Thatcher Demko’s blocker side at 9:10.
After Motte’s goal at 4:46 of the third, the Kraken cut it to a one-goal game again on Will Borgen’s first career NHL goal – a rocket from the right point that got through with help of a Ryan Donato screen with 9:17 remaining.
Donato was playing in his first game back since returning from COVID-19 protocol.
“His competitiveness is always excellent,” said Hakstol. “Early in the game he was pretty sharp for a guy that’s been away from several days. The net front play, that’s always a big piece to his game.”
But Vancouver continued a trend for the Kraken, giving up a goal on the ensuing shift for the third straight game. Connor Garland’s goal just 46 seconds after Borgen’s put the Canucks up 4-2, who then finished with a Tanner Pearson empty netter with 2:17 to go.
“You got to keep battling,” said Hakstol. “That’s the bottom line. We were our own worst enemy in a couple of areas tonight. I talked about it coming in when you have challenges with injuries and availability for the lineup, it’s an opportunity for people to step up, step in and do a good job."
The Kraken, taking the day off for Sunday, will play their next game on Thursday, Jan. 6 when the host the Ottawa Senators at 7pm. It will be their only game until Jan. 10, when they head to the road to visit Colorado.