The much-anticipated debut of Shane Wright came without a point, but not without notice.
Supported by a goal each from Daniel Sprong, linemate Jaden Schwartz and an empty netter from Andrew Poturalski, the Seattle Kraken doused the Calgary Flames in a 3-0 victory on Tuesday, improving to 2-0 in the pre-season before 17.151 fans at Climate Pledge Arena.
Goaltending, while not overworked and facing another lineup heavy with minor league experience, continued to perform at a flawless rate. Starter Philipp Grubauer stopped all ten shots he saw before giving way halfway through the game to Magnus Hellberg, who turned in 15 stops.
Kraken goaltending so far has stopped all 53 shots through two preseason games.
“Both nights we got solid performances,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “Couple of saves at the right time, along the way.”
“I thought (Grubauer) had a really solid night. That’s what you want to see. (Hellberg) comes in, a little bit more chaotic in the second half in front of him, but he did a good job finding pucks.”
Wright was the focus of attention before the game. Selected at fourth overall by the Kraken in the draft last summer after months of speculation that he would go first, Wright shook off any potential jitters quickly and got to work with generating scoring chances in the first period.
“A lot of fun,” Wright said.
He was matched with wingers Jordan Eberle and Schwartz, elder statesmen in the NHL who have bulked up on experience to enhance Wright’s confidence throughout the game.
The words were simple and to the point, to Wright, during the game that helped him settle in.
“They said, ‘just go and enjoy it, I’m here for a reason’,” Wright said. “Just go have fun, play confident.”
Wright nearly enjoyed his first goal or assist in the first period, deployed along the right half boards on the top power play unit. He uncorked a sizzling snapshot that Flames goaltender Dan Vladar had trouble with, and the rebound kicked out to Eberle, stationed at the top of the crease. It took Vladar’s scrambling effort to deny Eberle’s rebound attempt.
“Shane had a good, solid night,” Hakstol said. “First night, starts in the face-off dot, and from there goes out with the 200-foot game.”
“He played a pretty simple, hard game.”
Sprong hammered a one-timer past Vladar from the slot with 7:30 left in the second period, and Schwartz finished a nifty give-and-go with Jared McCann for a shorthanded goal with 2:59 to go in the period.
Poturalski finished the scoring with an empty net heave near center ice with less than a minute left.