At the first look, Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros had the puck, covered up as he sat in the crease, to avoid a special teams moment that was ready to erupt like a volcano.
Then he didn’t.
That’s when Colin Blackwell found daylight – a second chance opportunity – and created bedlam inside Climate Pledge Arena.
Blackwell – a former Predator forward – came back to bite his old team with a game-winning, shorthanded goal and multi point effort in a resilient 4-3 win for the Seattle Kraken on Thursday, securing a season series win over a Nashville team that has the inside track to a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.
“That one felt good,” said Blackwell, earning the first shorthanded goal of his career. “A team I used to play for – those ones always feel good. They may have given up on you, along those lines, so it was a big shorthanded goal. That one sticks out this year.”
“Heck of a team win tonight. Everybody played really well, top to bottom, goaltending, D, forwards. When we play like that we’re hard to beat.”
Claimed in the expansion draft from the New York Rangers, Blackwell – previously scrapping his way through the San Jose and Nashville farm systems – seemed to be on the verge of finding his spot until the end of a 27-game season, two years ago with the Predators. Instead, the Rangers signed Blackwell that offseason.
He also set up Yanni Gourde’s one-timed blast from the slot, capping a three-goal rush by the Kraken in only 2:39 to rally out of a 2-0 deficit, at that point the loudest Climate Pledge Arena has been heard in several games.
The volume was deafening for Blackwell’s shorthanded tally, the fifth for the Kraken this season, snapping an 0-6-1 skid in seven games.
“Our team played great defensively,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “(Chris Driedger) was solid and our PK was outstanding in front of him.”
Driedger, seeing Nashville for the first time this season, made 19 saves for the win to outduel Saros’ 27 stops. Nashville, getting a two-goal game out of Matt Duchene including a snap shot from the left circle at 6:54 of the second period.
Philip Tomasino put the Predators up 1-0 with 6:47 left in a choppy first period, before the two teams combined for five goals in the middle frame.
After Duchene’s power play goal, Marcus Johansson connected with Alex Wennberg on a two-on-one break 29 seconds later, and former Predator Calle Jarnkrok jammed in a loose puck in the slot at 8:58 to tie the game.
Blackwell, carrying the puck down the left wing, fed Gourde’s wheelhouse to complete the impressive rally, forcing Nashville head coach John Hynes to burn his timeout.
Duchene’s second goal of the game, a rebound at the net, tied the score with 5:24 left in the second period.
The Kraken will take to the road for a five game trip, starting Saturday against the Washington Capitals at 4pm PT (950 KJR / Kraken Audio Network), slated to be defenseman Mark Giordano’s 1,000th game of his NHL career.
KRAKEN LINEUP VS. NASHVILLE: