Eight different players scored a goal and 13 players hit the scoresheet, led by Jordan Eberle and Andre Burakovsky’s three point games, to help the Seattle Kraken win their fourth straight game and steamroll the Ottawa Senators in an 8-4 victory on Saturday night before 19,347 fans at Canadian Tire Centre.
“Reality is we were able to build a 3-1 lead and that’s a good start in this building,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “It’s a hard building to play in.”
Proving again that offense and depth is their growing identity, the Kraken chased starting goaltender Anton Forsberg, coming off a shutout, in just five shots for a 3-1 lead in the first period and pulled away enough to make Tim Stützle’s hat trick a mere footnote, improving to 2-0-1 lifetime against the Senators. Even more importantly, they’ve taken a seven-game road trip, full of landmines and season derailing caution, into a springboard by winning the first three games.
“We’re more of a mature group,” said Eberle. “All together, we’re a better hockey team. We’re obviously a little more comfortable with the system for the guys coming back, and the guys who we’ve added have been a big addition to the team.”
With a second period goal to lead all NHL rookies (14), Matty Beniers scored for the third straight game after Daniel Sprong answered a Senators rally with his 12th goal of the season, 22 seconds after Ottawa tied the game in the second period. The Kraken scored four unanswered goals to put the game out of reach.
“That’s the story of our group especially over the last little while,” said Hakstol.
“That shows a little bit of poise, lot of belief. A guy goes over the boards and makes a play to put us back in a good spot.”
Provincial native Vince Dunn, playing before a swarm of friends and family in attendance, opened the third period scoring and completed a multi-point game in a final 20-minute span, where the Kraken avoided putting Ottawa’s third-ranked power play (who went 1-of-2) to work and stayed out of the penalty box.
Martin Jones made 19 saves while Cam Talbot, taking over for Forsberg, took the loss for a 14-save effort.
The Kraken will visit the Montreal Canadiens on Monday at 4:30pm PT (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network) to close the two-game series.
1. The game is going to a good place offensively. We’ve heard it. How, “will beats skill.” How, you have to win in a 3-2 league. How, offense is sexy, but defense wins championships. There is a kernel of truth to all of those philosophies, laid in the game’s foundation for years. But what we’re witnessing is the explosion of offense that has catapulted the game into levels unseen since Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux were the headline attractions, and the game underwent a transformation with its popularity and exposure. The game’s going to a good place. We have Jack Hughes, we have Trevor Zegras, we have Auston Matthews embracing personality and supplying offense at will. We have this year’s Seattle Kraken, sending 20-year old Matty Beniers to the All-Star Game, who just scored eight goals again. This is becoming the norm again. It’s fun to watch.
2. Oh yeah, the Kraken have scary depth. Through roughly half of a season in the NHL, there is only one team who has scored eight goals in a game, three times. That would be the Kraken, who again reared forward as a 16-headed monster (covering all four lines) who have the ability, especially with the bottom six to “tear you apart,” as Ottawa head coach D.J. Smith put it Saturday morning. It was warning that the Kraken turned into a promise. Anton Forsberg, fresh off a 22-save shutout, was reduced to a mere mortal and given the hook after three goals on the first five shots. The Kraken didn’t stop there. Eight different players scored a goal, 13 total hit the scoresheet, and all four lines had at least one goal. Want to trade chances with the Seattle Kraken? Good luck.
3. Keep believing. The Kraken are becoming more real by the week. So, you wanted to look at the Kraken back in October, see them beat the Kings and Avalanche, and ask for more. That’s fair. So, you wanted to look at the Kraken back in November, see them go on a 10-1-1 run, grab a “in progress” playoff spot and ask for them to keep it up. That’s fair. You wanted to look at December where they hit a speedbump at 4-7-1 and challenge the validity of their status. Fair enough. But now, we’re almost halfway through the season – and the Seattle Kraken haven’t gone away. Matter of fact, they’re continuing at a pace that’s light years ahead of schedule as a second year team. Five points into a playoff spot, they responded from a bumpy holiday slump with four straight wins, scoring four goals or more. That gauntlet of a seven-game trip is turning into an eye-opening revelation, slaying the first three games against McDavid and the Oilers, Matthews and the Leafs, and a scuffling Ottawa team but dangerous with Brady Tkachuk and Claude Giroux. They’re +17 in goal differential, tied for fourth best in the conference. They’re hanging around, and they’re on the cusp of making March and even April hockey very meaningful, and very memorable.
What a way to make a statement, in year two.
KRAKEN LINEUP VS. OTTAWA, JAN. 8: