Kevin Fiala, Joel Eriksson Ek, and Kirill Kaprizov combined for 12 points to help the Minnesota Wild rally for six unanswered goals, sending the Seattle Kraken to a 6-3 defeat on Friday night at Xcel Energy Center.
Minnesota took the final two meetings in the three-game series, and Fiala’s franchise record five assist night helped Kaprizov reach the 100-point plateau. The Wild went 3-for-5 on the power play, erasing a 2-0 Kraken lead in the first period.
“They’re a good team,” said Hakstol. “They had a lot of life in the second period. But we fed that. You can’t do it. Being blunt, we played really good hockey over the last stretch. In the second period, they were a team playing for a playoff position, seeding, and played for real.”
“We played 20 minutes of shinny hockey. That’s the bottom line.”
The evening appeared to start with promise as Daniel Sprong buried his 13th goal of the season, 6:16 into the game and Yanni Gourde finished a jaw-dropping, two-on-one with Karson Kuhlman at 10:20 for a 2-0 advantage.
The Kraken, using a fast start to upset the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, were well on their way to doing the same thing again.
Then, the penalty box door opened, and so did another of opportunity for the Wild.
Eriksson Ek’s power play goal with 3:59 left in the first period got the Wild back in the game, trailing by a goal, and the Kraken committed a pair of minor penalties in the first 11 minutes of the second period – both leading to ensuing power play goals in a five-goal outburst by Minnesota.
“There was a stretch in the second period where we got away from our game,” said Kuhlman. “That’s 100 percent on us. I don’t think you can blame it on penalties, but we know where that 10-15 minute (stretch) was, and we know when we play our game, we can skate with anybody.”
Eriksson Ek’s second goal tied the game, 2-2 at 2:04 of the second then Kaprizov finished Fiala’s third straight assist at 6:52 for Minnesota’s second power play goal and a 3-2 lead.
Philipp Grubauer then robbed another Fiala assist attempt, making a point blank save on Nick Bjugstad. The potential turning point expired when the Wild scored three more times in a span of 4:07, on goals by Ryan Hartman, Mats Zuccarello and Nic Deslauriers to open a 6-2 lead.
Matty Beniers gave the Kraken a consolation moment, extending his scoring streak to five games to begin his NHL career when he smoked a wrister past Marc-Andre Fleury from the right circle at 5:16 of the third period for a power play goal.
Beniers joined a select club of players to earn a point in their first five NHL games, including Eric Lindros, Teemu Selanne, and Cale Makar.
The Kraken have a quick turnaround to contend with: a Saturday night matchup against the host Dallas Stars at 5pm PT (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network), who are fighting for their playoff lives as holders of the final wild card spot, two points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights with four games left.
“There’s not one day we haven’t come back and worked hard, played hard – and we have to do that,” said Hakstol.
Philipp Grubauer took the loss on 30 saves and Fleury stopped 25 shots.
KRAKEN LINEUP VS. MINNESOTA, APR. 22