Just 3.9 seconds. That’s all it took to seal up victory.
It didn’t happen, and the Winnipeg Jets shockingly defeated the Seattle Kraken, 3-2 in overtime before a sellout crowd on Sunday night at Climate Pledge Arena. Blake Wheeler tied the game with less than four seconds on the clock on a six-on-four power play goal, and Mark Scheifele ended it, finishing a two-on-one just 54 seconds into overtime.
After the game, the gravity of the situation was heavy. The following two words will fulfill the description:
“It stings,” said Jordan Eberle.
Martin Jones, well on his way to a first star effort with 28 stops, and a resilient effort against a surging Jets team were barricaded from another win when Carson Soucy’s coarse exchange at the net with Pierre-Luc Dubois was flagged for roughing, on a sucker punch to Dubois’ head with 26 seconds left.
It was the eighth penalty the Kraken took in the game, leading to seven power plays (and two goals) for Winnipeg.
“That’s too many,” Hakstol said.
He said the exchange could have been interpreted as a potential four-on-four situation, but still acknowledged accountability in the moment.
“It’s an undisciplined penalty on our part, that’s the piece we can fix,” Hakstol said.
“The rest of it, I’m a little confused how that whole sequence happened, why the play was blown down in what it was, if both guys weren’t going to the box. Again, it’s nothing I can control. My focus is 30 seconds to go, and we need to close that game out. We don’t need to settle any scores.”
Behind a first period two-man advantage goal by Eberle and Brandon Tanev’s electrifying snipe off the rush in the third period, Jones put the Kraken in position for the win with another quality performance, marking a .936 save percentage, fifth best in the league since October 25, and a league low 1.64 goals-against-average.
“We wasted a good performance there - his performance was good enough to get two points,” said Hakstol.
Jones, working through his 11th appearance in 12 games, took an approach in the scope of collective results.
“A point is what we deserved,” said Jones.
The Kraken will not skate Monday, returning for practice on Tuesday at Kraken Community Iceplex. Up next, they will host the New York Rangers on Thursday, 7pm (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network).
1. Penalties and discipline: It’s unlike the Kraken to take many penalties. They are in the bottom half of the league in minors taken and penalty minutes per game. One minor penalty was highly questionable, when Mason Appleton’s stick became caught in a stanchion and the Kraken were whistled for interference. Yet, the penalty box door opened too frequently on Sunday, spending energy to keep the game in the balance and preventing any necessary flow with their new look line combinations at even strength. Soucy’s interference penalty put Winnipeg up two men with goaltender David Rittich pulled with 26 seconds left, enough time to tie the game and beat the final horn.
2. Martin Jones: At this point, we’re running out of superlatives for Jones’ impact, night after night in the absence of Philipp Grubauer (who could return as early as Thursday against the Rangers). Jones hasn’t just delivered quality goaltending over the last month, he’s in the early clubhouse lead for half-season Kraken most valuable player. According to naturalstattrick.com, Jones has a goals-saved-above-average mark of 5.86 (if you want a comparison, an NHL’s goaltending similarity of Major League Baseball “WAR” statistic – more here). That’s fifth best in the league since Jones began his run, late October.
3. The power play: Helpful, that Jordan Eberle popped a first period power play goal on a five-on-three situation. It was their first situation this season, and first goal converted. But then in what could have been a crushing turn against the Jets, instead gave them new life. Blake Wheeler, nailed for a roughing double-minor in an altercation with Will Borgen, gave the Kraken a four-minute power play in the second period. Jaden Schwartz barely missed at the net. Jared McCann fired a shot off the post. Nothing else happened. The Jets got an important kill, a renewed sense of energy, and an extremely vital sign with the game tied at 1-1.
KRAKEN LINEUP VS. WINNIPEG, 11/13: