Try as they might, shots were coming from everywhere.
Alex Nedeljkovic was stopping them all.
All the way until 47 minutes into a game that was running out of answers.
The Seattle Kraken delivered one, a massive tidal wave of three goals in a span of 5:53 to swarm the Detroit Red Wings with a four-goal third period comeback and 4-2 victory before a boisterous sellout crowd of 17,151 at Climate Pledge Arena on Saturday.
“That was honestly the craziest crowd I’ve almost ever experienced,” said defenseman Vince Dunn, in an exclusive post-game interview with 93.3 KJR FM.
Rallying out of a 2-0 third period deficit, their noise level came off the hinges following Adam Larsson’s invincibility-piercing goal on Nedeljkovic (who was on a shutout streak of 112:35), at 7:10 into the third period followed by Jaden Schwartz’s drive to the net at 9:54 to tie the game.
“The first one is always a momentum goal for you,” said Larsson. “It kind of snowballed from there so it was nice too to get a couple goals in tonight.”
But wait, there was more. Yanni Gourde threw a puck from the right circle toward the net that caromed off a tie-up initiated by Haydn Fleury for a surreal 3-2 lead with 6:57 left in regulation. Nedeljkovic, pulled for a sixth attacker, gave Detroit a six-on-five situation that Gourde took advantage of with an empty netter, sealing the fate of the Red Wings.
Not bad for an alternate captain out of commission for a potentially critical five-on-three, moments after being struck in the face with an errant puck. He returned for the most critical moment.
“If you hang around ‘Gourdo’ everyday, you would just think it’s another day,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “It’s what he does. He’s a competitor.”
One game off a Jordan Eberle post-game challenge to build with 20 games left, the Kraken see it as one step in the right direction.
“Obviously losing has been very tough and everybody’s sick of it,” said Larsson. “It’s just one game and we have to build on it. This is something that we need to get to the standard that we want. It can’t just be a one night thing. It’s been frustrating, losing is never fun. Tonight was a good night.”
Perhaps, a few lessons in momentum and resiliency helped along the way. Morgan Geekie, with a 1-0 lead on his stick, was robbed by Nedeljkovic from point blank range with a glove save in the first period as the Kraken outshot Detroit 12-0 in the first ten minutes.
The Kraken had a five-on-three opportunity in the second period for 48 seconds. Detroit killed off the entire sequence, then immediately scored with 6:42 left from an offensive zone takeaway, setting up Joe Veleno’s sixth goal of the season.
Taro Hirose’s first goal in two years put the Red Wings up 2-0 with 3:52 left on a power play goal, and posed a ten-bell threat in the third period on a Filip Zadina two-on-one that Philipp Grubauer, who made 22 saves, stoned with a left pad save.
It set the table for the grand finale.
“(Grubauer’s) been great for us,” said Larsson. “We haven’t played great in front of him. He’s stepped up his game, lately.”
Nedeljkovic made 38 saves in the losing effort while the Kraken outshot the Red Wings, 42-24, tying a season high for shots in a game.
The Kraken will launch a three-game road trip starting Tuesday, 7:00pm PT against the host Arizona Coyotes (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network).
NOTES: Gourde has a six-game point streak and four goals in the last three games … it’s Gourde’s longest scoring streak since the 2018-19 season … Dunn chipped in with two assists and has points in four straight games … the Kraken split the two-game season series with Detroit, falling 4-3 in a shootout on Dec. 1 …. Karson Kuhlman returned after spending the last 17 games on injured reserve with an upper body ailment, delivering a pair of hits in 9:53 of ice time.
KRAKEN LINEUP VS DETROIT: