Down 2-0, the Seattle Kraken ripped off four unanswered goals in the second period, and five overall, to rally and defeat the Edmonton Oilers in a 5-2 victory before 18,297 fans at Rogers Place on Tuesday night. The win put the Kraken back into third place in the Pacific Division over Calgary, who lost to Winnipeg.
The victory opened the door for success to start a season-long seven game road trip, and dish payback to an Oilers team that stung them just four days prior in a 7-2 defeat at Climate Pledge Arena, on the back of Connor McDavid’s wild five-point game. Leon Draisaitl, the league’s second leading scorer, didn’t even play with undisclosed injury.
“We were a little bit sloppy with the puck in the first ten minutes, but we were checking well,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “Then, we cleaned up our puck play.”
“The best part of our game and most important game, we checked through our lineup tonight.”
This time, the Kraken battled back after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ first period power play tally and McDavid scoring a trademark, high-speed goal off the rush in the second period to put the Oilers up two goals. They limited Draisaitl, though with an assist, in his return to a shot on net in 23:37 of ice time. Only defenseman Darnell Nurse played more (23:54).
Schwartz had a three point night, a season high on his side while Martin Jones won in his second consecutive appearance with 30 stops.
Matty Beniers’ power play goal, at the front of the net, and Schwartz’s ninth goal of the season from a Beniers dart-like feed in a span of 31 seconds tied the game. Yanni Gourde went to the net off a face-off win to bury a rebound and the Kraken first lead of the game with 7:18 left, and Jared McCann knocked goaltender Stuart Skinner out of the game with his 17th goal of the year and 4-2 lead with 4:12 left.
“There’s a lot of skill and mentality to that position,” Hakstol said of Beniers, who ended an eight-game goal drought. “The first goal of the game was extremely important to get us going. The pass on the second goal, that’s a hell of a play.”
Jack Campbell took over, needing only to make three saves, while the Kraken survived a scare from an Oilers power play goal in the third that was turned away after video review for an offside call, confirmed on Hakstol’s coach’s challenge to keep the game at a two-goal pace.
“That’s the guys in the back room, Tim (Ohashi) and Brady (Morgan) doing a great job,” said Hakstol of his video coaches.
“It’s a really tight call. But it’s clear. At the end of the day, that’s the right call. But for those guys to work through the process, give us a clear answer, that was important and a huge part of the game.”
Alex Wennberg buried an empty net goal to realistically seal the win with 2:31 left.
Defenseman Adam Larsson, who had an assist on Schwartz’s goal, extended his streak to a Kraken record-tying seven straight games.
1. Give Martin Jones a pat on the back next time you see him. He wasn’t named one of the three stars of the game. Though, his effort was deserving of the honor. Jones was solid for much of the night again, making 30 stops. Against a high-octane opponent like the Oilers, it isn’t an easy task. With his trademark poise, Jones gave the Kraken a chance with a majority of his workload coming on basic saves – but still had to come through with a couple of tough ones, including a door-slamming stop on Leon Draisaitl on a late-game third period power play. The game was already very much in doubt with the Kraken up by three goals, but any thoughts of an Oilers miracle went out the window after that, giving Jones his 16th win of the year – tied with another star netminder in the league (Andrei Vasilevskiy). The Kraken received stability in a position they have been craving for this season, and Jones, again, supplied security.
2. Props to just a good ol’ fashioned exercise in staying out of the box. The second period is where the Kraken broke away. Yes, scoring four unanswered goals is where the magic happened. But the Kraken stayed on the tracks but playing a completely penalty-free period against the NHL’s top ranked power play, already scoring in the first period, which opened the door to get into a rhythm at five-on-five. Taking a penalty against the Oilers might as well have the same effect as throwing a hanging curveball to Aaron Judge – it’s always a potentially lethal procedure in cause and effect. By the time the Kraken went up 4-2, starting with Beniers’ power play goal, the Kraken posted three more goals in a span of 10:33 from contributions on the scoresheet across three lines, forcing Edmonton to burn their timeout and institute a goaltending change. Second period: game, set, match.
3. Matty Beniers getting back on the board is a treacherous sign for the opposition. The ebbs and flows of a season put Beniers into a dry spell for eight straight games without a goal, and the league’s leading point-getting among NHL rookies needed a game like this. The Kraken won only three games in that eight-game span. When he scores a goal, the Kraken are 8-2-1. It’s a lofty ask for a 20-year old to be a centerpiece of a team. But in the mission for the Calder Trophy, he’s demonstrating a direct impact of affecting the Kraken, game-by-game. As a substantial element for their offense, Beniers’ 12 goals leads all NHL rookies, and are second overall on the Kraken, only bested by Jared McCann’s 17.
The Kraken will face Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs, up next, Thursday at 4pm PT (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network).
KRAKEN LINEUP VS. EDMONTON, 1/3: