The Seattle Kraken had no intentions of in-game mercy.
By jumping all over a taxed St. Louis Blues squad playing on back-to-back nights and missing leading scorer Jordan Kyrou, the Kraken scored three goals in a span of 9:16 in the second period, cruising to a 5-2 victory over the Blues before a sellout crowd of 17,151, many who braved blustery and snowy conditions to attend the game at Climate Pledge Arena on Tuesday night.
The Kraken kept pace at two points back of the second place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division (who won Tuesday night) but are now one game away from heading into the holiday break with a solid grip on a playoff spot.
After losing five of six games, they have won back to back contests.
“It’s cliché to say, but we played simple,” said Ryan Donato. “Against a good team like that, you can’t give them too much or they’re going to capitalize.”
Donato ignited the scoring where the Kraken got to work early on the Blues zone in the first period and buried a remarkable stretch pass by Adam Larsson on a breakaway with 3:33 left.
“We stretch the zone well,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “Ryan Donato’s was off a line change. That’s an unselfish play for a guy coming to the bench and a really good read by Ryan coming off the bench, to know the situation and read the possession.”
“(Adam Larsson) made a really good pass, caught him in stride.”
Carson Soucy, Daniel Sprong, and Jared McCann added second period goals to put the Blues on the ropes.
St. Louis nearly climbed back into the game with back-to-back goals from Colton Parayko and Pavel Buchnevich in the third period, but Brandon Tanev put the game away with an empty netter with 4:13 left.
Martin Jones, getting his first win in ten days, stopped 22 shots while Thomas Greiss had 28 saves for the Blues.
1. Back-to-back games between Vancouver and Seattle are a gauntlet. It’s not so much for the competitive façade, but more so because of the travel involved. It’s not as easy to say, “play a game in Vancouver, hop a plane, and into Seattle you go in 25 minutes.” For whatever reason, teams have found the second leg of the back-to-back nearly impossible to maneuver: the Kraken now own a convincing 5-1-1 record this season against teams on their second leg of back to back games. Definitive proof, like the last two games: the Kraken have outscored their opponents 6-3 in the final half, the infamous phase where fatigue begins to kick in. Tonight, the Kraken showed no mercy, pounding the Blues into submission with three second period goals in the final ten minutes.
2. The Kraken showed up on time. A good start, translating into an early lead, was going to get them in the right direction. Ryan Donato’s breakaway goal with 3:33 left in the opening period was the spark they needed. They had momentum (18-8 in shot attempts), but nothing to show for it before the Donato goal, who completed a master class outlet feed from Adam Larsson. The Kraken had not scored the first goal at home since beating the Kings, back on November 19. They won that night, and they won again this evening. Dave Hakstol wanted an effective checking game in the middle of the rink, limiting the Blues transition game. St. Louis never got it going.
3. Daniel Sprong has been a complete revelation. One listener replied on Twitter asking about the timeline of a potential Daniel Sprong extension. Regardless of when that’s going to be seriously kicked around, one thing’s for sure: there’s maybe no comparison to a player who’s maximized his starting position, and progression than Sprong, who started training camp on a mere professional tryout offer before signing an upgraded one-year contract for the league minimum. Sprong has paid back the Kraken with eight goals and 17 points in 24 games: numbers equating to 58 points and 27 goals (27 GOALS!) in the course of a full 82-game season.
Do you need to be reminded he’s been played mostly on the fourth line? What. A. Bargain.
KRAKEN LINEUP vs. ST. LOUIS, 12/19: