Let's play the hits: Kraken defeat Kings for first win

Seattle Kraken v Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: Alex Wennberg #21 of the Seattle Kraken celebrates his goal with Oliver Bjorkstrand #22, Matty Beniers #10 and Ryan Donato #9 behind Phillip Danault #24 of the Los Angeles Kings, to take a 3-1 leadduring the second period at Crypto.com Arena on October 13, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

On Wednesday night, the Seattle Kraken established a two-goal lead against the Anaheim Ducks, only to see it slip away. 

The next night, they made good. 

The Kraken broke a tied game in the second period with back-to-back goals from Brandon Tanev and Alex Wennberg, while using 26 saves from Martin Jones to beat the Kings 4-1 at Crypto.com Arena. 

By putting foot on the gas, the Kraken pummeled their way through a physical game – they set a new single game record with 44 hits – and earned their first win of the season. 

“I thought we played a good game yesterday too,” said Jaden Schwartz, who scored his first goal of the season. 

“We stayed on our toes, stayed on the forecheck. We managed the game better. Guys were paying the price and sacrificing.” 

The technically sound Jones picked a good night to get his first win, against his former team that captured a Stanley Cup in 2014, when Jones backed up Jonathan Quick. 

“Good night for Jonesy,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “He was calm in there.” 

Trends continued to grow as the Kraken won for the third time in four games on the home ice of the Kings. The power play, 3-for-5 to open the season, scored again in the first period while Matty Beniers logged an assist, joining elite company. 

It’s hard to make in the NHL. It’s harder to make the lineup consistently. It’s even harder to be productive at an age where most individuals are barely into their college years. At age 19, he is the third teenager in NHL history to earn a point in 11 of his first 12 NHL games. 

The other two have had pretty fine careers: Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche. The latter is in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The former is well on his way. 

Hakstol picked a moment for deadpan humor, after Beniers logged an assist but didn’t score a goal. 

“Yeah, probably got to move him down the lineup, he didn’t score,” Hakstol said. “That’ll be it for him.” 

Granted, we’re talking about 12 games in for what could be a long career for Beniers. But so far, so good. 

“He played hard. He had some tough matchups tonight. For a young guy, you see him competitiveness. He’s only going to get better.” 

Jaden Schwartz and Brandon Tanev scored the first two goals to stake a 2-1 lead by the second period, and the Kraken wouldn’t let it go. It was also symbolic of missing pieces from last year that could make a major impact. Schwartz missed 45 games in an injury hampered season, and immediately his presence was felt as a net front option on the power play. 

Tanev didn’t play at all after being lost for the season, last year, after blowing his anterior cruciate ligament in a freak collision along the boards against Edmonton before Christmas. 

Tanev slipped a sharp angled shot over Jonathan Quick for his first goal in ten months. 

“We didn’t like the result yesterday, and today we came out and address the issues,” said Tanev. “We fought this one out.” 

Oh, did they ever. The Kings, frustrated after Adam Larsson paid back a Drew Doughty slash mid-way through the third period with an empty net dagger, and Brendan Lemieux went after Yanni Gourde with 45 seconds left. Both players traded punches. Ryan Donato and Gabriel Vilardi then got into a small tussle when time ran out, yet a piece of what was a developing line brawl before tempers cooled between both teams. 

As Jones looked on to survey the situation, Quick had to be restrained from entering the fracas and was issued a penalty for leaving the crease.

What do you know: both teams will meet twice next month. The Kings will have to come to Seattle for the next matchup, November 19. 

The Kraken, who could have easily walked away with a 2-0 record if not for the third period slip at Anaheim, stayed away from the emotional dressing of the game. Schwartz referenced “five and a half” good periods of hockey. 

“We’re happy with this road trip for sure,” said Schwartz. 

The Kraken now get the fruits of home ice, Saturday when they open the home schedule against the Vegas Golden Knights, 7pm PT (KJR 950AM, Kraken Audio Network) at Climate Pledge Arena. 



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