Elias Lindholm’s turnaround wrister from the slot snapped a tie game in the third period and helped the Calgary Flames hold off the Seattle Kraken, 2-1 before a half capacity crowd at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.
The Kraken, carrying a tie game into the final period in search of their third win in four road games and threatening to snap Calgary’s eight game win streak, dropped their second meeting with Calgary while Philipp Grubauer held a 35-save performance, who took the loss.
“He did a real good job tonight,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “He was solid from the word ‘go’. He made some big saves at good times, which you need on the road against a good team.”
But an end zone face-off win for the Kraken was proceeded by a puck battle won by Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk, and Lindholm parking a rebound from between the circles.
“Slow start, but we got going a little bit,” said Grubauer. “I think we can get better. In the defensive zone we’re giving too many teams too much time and respect. If you give teams in this league too much time they’re going to make plays.”
“Guys over there like (Johnny) Gaudreau, (Sean) Monahan, (Tyler) Toffoli, they can make plays. We have to eliminate time and space for guys, play our game and get out forechecking.”
The Kraken loss spoiled a return for former Flames captain Mark Giordano, honored with a pre-game video tribute in his first regular season game back in Calgary since his selection in last summer’s expansion draft.
Tkachuk, wide open between the circles, put the Flames up 1-0 on their first shot of the game, 3:07 after the opening puck drop on a defensive zone turnover.
Grubauer, stopping 35 shots (two off his season high) wouldn’t surrender another goal for another 44 minutes, enabling the Kraken to tie the game on Calle Jarnkrok’s tenth goal of the season, jumping on a loose puck in the slot at 12:26 of the first period.
Jacob Markstrom took the win on 22 saves and made one of his more impressive stops on a Jordan Eberle wrister from the right circle in the second period, sprawling with an old-fashioned stacked pad stop. He held enough ground to suppress a six-on-five, extra-skater situation with less than two minutes left in regulation and keep Calgary unbeaten at 6-0 on a seven-game homestand.
The Kraken fell to 16-31-4 and 7-15-2 on the road in their expansion campaign, who have found offense hard to come by since a 5-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Jan. 23 – scoring more than three goals in a game once in a ten game span.
“Competitively there’s some good pieces of our game, but we came up short,” said Hakstol.
NOTES: Giordano moved to within six games of 1,000 in his NHL career … assuming he misses no further game action, he will reach the milestone Mar. 5 at Washington … Jarnkrok, six goals away from his career high, reached double digits in goal-scoring for the seventh consecutive season.