There’s nothing like a good start to get a sellout crowd buzzing.
The Seattle Kraken seized opportunity with an early Daniel Sprong power play goal on the front end of a double minor and rallied back from brief second period deficit behind Victor Rask’s two-point night, to split the two-game season series with the Ottawa Senators in a 4-2 victory before 17,151 fans on Monday at Climate Pledge Arena.
Amazingly, though he scored another goal for a three-game point streak, rookie Matty Beniers wasn’t the main headline in a strong effort where the Kraken outshot the Senators, 29-14. Vince Dunn also logged three assists on the blueline.
“We had pretty good puck pressure everywhere,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “It seemed we were a step quicker than them for most of the night.”
As goal scorers can be streaky, Sprong started another one after Parker Kelly was whistled for a four-minute double minor for high sticking. In the first period, he ended a seven-game goal scoring drought, unloading on a one-timer from the left circle past Anton Forsberg, set up by Rask’s cross-seam pass just 4:36 into the game.
“Spronger’s goal – that’s his spot,” said Hakstol. “He’s a shooter and he can score from there. With Spronger, it’s the two-way game. His attention to detail. He worked 200 feet again tonight.”
Sprong, who scored in three straight games after arriving in the Marcus Johansson trade to Washington before going empty for seven in a row, said the goal created necessary momentum to help the Kraken carry the lead into the first intermission, now 11-5 with a 20-minute cushion.
“We wanted to get off to a good start,” said Sprong. “When you have four minutes you can create a lot of momentum. I think both units did that.”
Brady Tkachuk and Nick Holden scored 2:04 apart as Ottawa rallied off adjustments in the first intermission for a 2-1 lead.
It would be the only time they held the lead all night.
Beniers, who logged three shots on net in 19:25 of ice time, won an offensive zone face-off to create momentum, which set up Adam Larsson’s point shot. The puck deflected off Beniers, waiting in the slot, which changed direction past Forsberg for a tie game at 9:52 of the second period.
“He looks comfortable,” said Hakstol. “He’s a guy who can play in traffic – and in the defensive zone. He can slow the game down and get you out of trouble.”
Victor Rask then finished a three-on-two rush with a cross-ice pass from Joonas Donskoi. Rask, from the left circle, uncorked a snapshot past Forsberg’s blocker for a 3-2 lead the Kraken held onto the rest of the night.
“Good play by all those guys – for sure for Victor to finish that off,” said Hakstol. “That’s not an easy catch and shoot across his body, but he got it off quick.”
The Kraken appeared to notch a big insurance goal in the third period when Yanni Gourde swiftly knocked a loose puck, while on the rush, out of the air to set up Karson Kuhlman’s wrister from the right circle.
The goal was overturned for a high stick violation by Gourde, but the Kraken put the game away on Jared McCann’s empty netter with 1:11 left.
Chris Driedger only had to make 12 saves for the win while Forsberg took the loss with 25 stops.
The Kraken, aiming to run the table on their three game homestand, will host the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night at 7pm PT (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network).
KRAKEN LINEUP VS. OTTAWA, APR. 18: