For about 45 minutes, the Seattle Kraken did virtually everything at will.
Then, the familiar main cast of the Edmonton Oilers willed their way.
Leon Draisaitl, Evander Kane, and an empty netter by Connor McDavid capped a rally of three goals in the final 4:33 to lift the Edmonton Oilers over the Kraken, 5-3 in the preseason finale before 17,328 fans at Rogers Place.
So close to a sweep of the rising power Edmonton Oilers, the Kraken settled for a 4-2 pre-season record. Now, the wait begins for the final roster cuts, due Monday afternoon to the NHL. There are 28 players on the active roster. The maximum limit is 23, before the Kraken open the regular season next Wednesday at Anaheim.
“There were a lot of good pieces,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “Tonight, was more complete than we’ve been in the first four (games). Throw the Calgary game out. But we have work to do.”
Work equated to a 1-0 lead on Daniel Sprong’s rebound at 12:50, continuing a terrific camp for a Kraken forward who began two weeks ago on a professional tryout offer. It’s since morphed into a full two-way deal with the Kraken, an important step in fighting for a roster spot on opening night.
“I think I had a good camp,” Sprong said.
“I think the message was loud and clear what I got into in the offseason. I think everyone knows I can provide offense but in the other three games, in the practices, I’ve shown I’ve listened and matured in that.”
Sprong is forward built with a frightening shot, useful for the power play. But his two-way game was the subject of improvement in the offseason, while getting a stronger sense of playing around the net.
“If you want to score in this league, you have to find some of those on the inside,” said Hakstol.
“It was a good goal by him.”
The Kraken limited a veteran heavy Oilers lineup to just one shot in the first nine minutes before Edmonton stormed back to lead the period, 11-10. But Will Borgen’s late tripping penalty proved costly, and Tyson Barrie went bar down on Philipp Grubauer with 33 seconds left in the period to tie the game.
“You have to manage the game,” said Hakstol. “Even the first goal against: power play goal by them. We played a hell of a period on the road - and we have a defenseman take a penalty with a minute to go, 200 feet from our net.”
Matty Beniers finished his scorching preseason with his fourth goal in four games with 8:49 left in the second period on a rebound, and the Kraken had a seemingly healthy 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
But Connor McDavid finished a highlight reel one-touch feed to Jesse Puljujarvi at the net with 4:56 elapsed, and Grubauer misplayed a rolling puck to the leg of an oncoming Leon Draisaitl, ricocheting into the net for a 3-2 Oilers lead with 4:33 left.
A wild ride continued on a Jared McCann power play blast at the left circle to tie the game with 2:18 to play, but the score lasted only 20 seconds before Evander Kane scored off the rush on the next shift.
McDavid finished the rally with an empty netter at 19:25.
Jack Campbell went the distance in net for Edmonton with 28 saves.