Progress in resilience: Kraken rally to beat the Canucks in OT

Seattle Kraken v Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 01: Ryan Donato #9 of the Seattle Kraken skates against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on December 01, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

As the Seattle Mariners fought, scratched, and clawed to peel one of the last layers to a postseason berth, the Seattle Kraken 142 miles north found a way to fight, scratch, and claw a demonstration of resilience. 

Among sitting out: Matty Beniers, Jared McCann, Jordan Eberle, Vince Dunn, Brandon Tanev, Jaden Schwartz, Yanni Gourde, and Adam Larsson. 

Among those playing for the Canucks: Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller, Quinn Hughes, Connor Garland, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Thatcher Demko.

The deck was stacked. The Kraken didn’t care. 

Ryan Donato finished off a rally that started with a two-goal third period deficit and beat Arturs Silovs on a breakaway with a backhander to cap a 4-3 in overtime and boosting for a 3-0 pre-season record on Thursday at Rogers Arena, a win of significance with several youngsters or hopefuls suiting up in their bid to make the team. 

“We were on our heels for the first 20-25 minutes of the hockey game, for sure,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. 

“That says a lot about the group in the dressing room. We got a little simpler. We started skating. We had a couple of good forechecks, and it’s little things that tend to turn momentum.” 

Kole Lind got the rally started by going to the net and getting a piece of Will Borgen’s shot, cutting the deficit to 3-2 at 4:06 of the third. 

John Hayden then arrived on the scene, already having logged a pair of fights in the game. This time, Hayden corralled a Cameron Hughes feed and rifled it past Silovs for a tie game with 7:27 remaining.

He tried to recall the last time he had a game with that much physical and offensive activity.

“I can’t remember,” said Hayden. “It was ugly. The fights were ugly. The game got ugly at times, but we stuck together and did a pretty good job.” 

“You look at John Hayden and the night he had, that’s a hard job,” said Hakstol. “He ended up in two scraps, fitting, and what justice to score the game tying goal. That’s big.” 

There was just one more hurdle to get through: sudden death overtime. The Canucks, not surprisingly, used their experience to conduct a puck possession clinic and it took an outstanding save from Martin Jones in the opening seconds to stop an outnumbered rush. 

Donato then scored his breakaway goal to extend the pre-season record to 3-0. 

“Give us credit,” said Jones. “We stuck with it, we battled hard all night, and kept chipping away.”   

It took a delicate and resolved effort to get out of the deficit, and early. Andrei Kuzmenkoite scored back-to-back goals, including the first shot of the game, to stake the Canucks to a 2-0 lead. An apparent Elias Pettersson shot that beat Daccord from long range was overruled after video replay confirmed the Canucks were offside. 

The Kraken took advantage, getting a rebound to Tye Kartye for a 2-1 deficit with 7:16 left for a power play goal. 

The guy who generated the play: Shane Wright. 

He wired a low shot that Demko struggled to control off his pads, and Kartye cleaned up the rebound for his first pre-season goal, and Wright’s first pre-season point. It was indicative of Wright's continued blend not very typical of an 18-year old center. There was of course, a rookie moment, when he allowed elite forward Elias Pettersson to cruise into the offensive zone for a potentially dangerous transition chance. But he also generated another good offensive look early in the first period, when he rushed the puck up ice, stopped on a dime, twisted defenseman Jack Rathbone off balance and created enough space to fire a firm shot on net that Gustav Olofsson just missed for a rebound.

“We continue to see progression,” said Hakstol. “I’ve got him in my mind having three good scoring chances. One of those will go eventually. That will loosen him up a little bit more. But it’s the little areas of the game he’s becoming more comfortable with.” 

“He’s playing against some good players. We didn’t hide him.”

Tanner Pearson scored with 3:05 left in the first to put Vancouver up by a pair of goals. 

Jones, who relieved Joey Daccord, earned the win with 15 saves. 

NOTES: The Kraken failed to capture a win in four tries against Vancouver, last beating them 4-0 in Vancouver last pre-season … Michal Kempny and Joonas Donskoi left the game due to injuries … Hakstol said no update was available. 

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