Just when it seemed Wednesday night was slipping away, the Seattle Kraken found a way to get it back on track.
Down 3-1 by the middle of the first period and forced to use their timeout, the Kraken rallied back with a pair of goals from Ryan Donato and Adam Larsson in the second - then came so close on a hit post by Shane Wright in the third – eventually en route to a 4-3 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues at Climate Pledge Arena.
The Kraken salvaged a point in the rally but had far greater plans then coming up winless in the three-game homestand (0-2-1). Vladimir Tarasenko dished out three assists and has five points in his first two games.
Wright would eventually bag his first career NHL point, a secondary assist to Donato’s goal, and a work of art in grit. Brandon Tanev threaded a long stretch pass to Donato, who got behind the Blues defense. Armed with one of the most gifted set of dangles on the team, his backhand deke was enough to draw Jordan Binnington down to the ice, but Binnington made the left pad save and tried to squeeze the puck between his pads.
No dice. Donato kept jamming at the loose puck, shortly before the behemoth 6-foot-6 Colton Parayko arrived on the scene to check Donato. The puck was jammed in by Donato, cutting the deficit to one, and restoring energy amongst the sellout crowd at Climate Pledge Arena.
Adam Larsson tied the game on a point shot that skipped off Torey Krug with 1:29 to go in the second period.
The Kraken outshot the Blues, 12-6 in the third period and nearly seized the lead on Wright’s attempt near the front of the net for his first career NHL goal, misfiring off Binnington’s blocker side post.
That gave the Blues a lifeline. Matty Beniers and Oliver Bjorkstrand opened overtime with a pair of high-grade chances, but the Kraken misplayed a puck to the slot where it awaited Justin Faulk, who buried his second goal of the game for the winner at 2:10.
Will Borgen added a first period goal for the Kraken, and Jordan Kyrou and Brayden Schenn also scored for St. Louis.
1. THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX: The Kraken improved their approach to discipline after four minor penalties taken in the first period and committed just one more (a tripping penalty to Will Borgen at 9:15 of the third) for the remaining 42 minutes. It enabled them to establish tempo at five-on-five, where they were dominant in shot quality for the third period (owning 70% over the Blues, per naturalstattrick.com). The penalty kill – much stronger on Wednesday night – enjoyed their first clean sheet of the season, keeping the Blues at an 0-of-3 clip.
2. ANSWERING THE RESPONSE: The first shift or minute after a goal is routinely tell-tale for effectiveness of keeping a game on the tracks. It hampered the Kraken to get back into the Carolina game on Monday (Andrei Svechnikov scored two goals in a span of 1:10, starting just 18 seconds after Andre Burakovsky got the Kraken to within a goal). It nearly hampered them again Wednesday night, tying the game on Borgen’s goal in the first period. St. Louis followed with two goals in 17 seconds, starting just 1:04 after the game was tied, and the Kraken were forced to use their timeout to regain composure.
That span ultimately proved costly from a win, and the Kraken will look for more clean shifts such as the one produced after Larsson’s game tying goal, with a quick trip into the offensive zone and Jared McCann delivering a clear of the defensive zone to thwart any kind of Blues response.
3. THAT’S WRIGHT: Shane Wright – the name and developing journey – will draw attention, no matter what. It’s the hockey world we live in. It can be a lot to handle at age 18. Since training camp began, all signs have pointed to Wright staying with the Kraken for the entire season as the best case scenario to fast track his development (remember, he’s ineligible to be sent to the AHL until he’s 20). His time was limited out of the box, deployed for just over six minutes in each of his first two games – none on the power play. He found more quality ice time in the second period and contributed to Donato’s goal, earning his first career point – and as the first player from the 2022 NHL Draft class to earn a goal or assist.
He didn’t go back into the mothballs – early third period, his line with Tanev and Donato produced a high-danger chance that Wright hit off the post. Earlier in the game, head coach Dave Hakstol tried Wright on for size with a pair of offensive heavy hitters, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Andre Burakovsky.
His ice time didn’t increase much more on Wednesday night, at 6:36. But guess what? There might be more in store.
“Now I’ve got to get him on the ice for a couple of more minutes a night, just to continue letting him grow,” Hakstol said.
The Kraken keep the string of tough opponents coming Friday. They’ll visit the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche that night, 6pm PT at Ball Arena in Burakovsky’s first game back in Denver since leaving for free agency.