Kraken fall in series finale to Kings, 5-3

New Jersey Devils v Seattle Kraken

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Gabriel Vilardi recorded three points while the Los Angeles Kings rallied with three unanswered goals to defeat the Seattle Kraken, 5-3 on Wednesday night at Climate Pledge Arena before a sellout crowd of 17,151 in the finale of a four-game series. 

The Kraken led, at one point, 2-0 and then held a 3-2 lead during a wild second period which featured five combined goals. But Los Angeles’ run came during a squandered two-man advantage for the Kraken, lasting 1:18. 

“We were poor defensively, point blank,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. 

“We allowed the puck to the inside. The puck was on the inside and in order for that puck to get there, our coverage down low – the heaviness and hardness of it – was soft.” 

Jonathan Quick earned the win with 37 stops. 

The Kings won three of four meetings, already guaranteed a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs while the Kraken will aim for a close-out victory in their home schedule, Friday at 7pm (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network) in the home finale against the San Jose Sharks. 

Jared McCann, with 1:01 left in the first period, put the Kraken up 1-0, then Ryan Donato executed a spectacular deke to the forehand on goaltender Jonathan Quick for the two-goal cushion at 2:24. 

The Kings struck back with back-to-back goals by a Vilardi snapshot and Phillip Danault, 3:30 apart to tie the game. Jordan Eberle came back 48 seconds later to roof a wrister on Quick’s glove side for a 3-2 game, but Trevor Moore tied the game again with 2:45 left.

Even after Lias Andersson scoring his first goal of the season 2:39 into the third, the Kraken had their chance, after Vilardi caught Jared McCann with a high stick and was whistled for a double minor, then Danault called for hooking with 6:10 left. 

The Kings killed the two-man advantage and the five-on-four situation, then Andreas Athanasiou buried an empty netter with 1:06 left. 

“We didn’t spend enough time in the zone, overall, on the power play with retrievals,” said Hakstol. “There’s one or two opportunities that were there, and were clear, and we didn’t execute on.” 

The Kraken now have one final home game of the season for a lasting impression, then Sunday’s season finale at Winnipeg for final headway into the offseason. 

The formula is very clear according to Eberle. 

“The line between winning and losing is very thin,” said Eberle. “You often times seem like you’re not even close, but you find a way to push it over and get that confidence, and you start winning games.” 

“It’s never as bad as it seems and never as good as it seems. You’ve got to stay humble and commit to the little things to get over the line to start winning hockey games.” 

Matty Beniers, who assisted on Eberle’s goal, has points in seven of his first eight NHL games. 

Philipp Grubauer took the loss on 23 saves. 

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