This was one to remember, for a long time.
The Seattle Kraken won their seventh straight game and in impressive fashion, sent a shockwave statement through the hockey world with Martin Jones’ 27 save shutout in a 3-0 victory over the juggernaut Boston Bruins on Thursday, before 17,850 fans at TD Garden.
“We blocked shots, we picked up sticks, we cleared pucks out,” said Jones, earning the 28th bagel of his NHL career. “That was probably the biggest thing, we were really strong at the front of our net tonight.”
“Our most complete game of the season.”
Improving to 6-0 on the franchise long seven-game trip, the Kraken did more than just win another road game, their 15th of the season. They handed the Bruins, who are ripping off wins at a record pace (now 32-5-4), their first loss in regulation on home ice all season and the first since last April, covering both regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Kraken are now 25-12-4, halfway done with the regular season.
“We played a really good road game tonight,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “This is a tough place to win – obviously. Not a lot of teams have been able to do that this year. So, for our guys, they should be proud of that.”
“We did the little things you have to do, to win.”
They also moved to within two points of idle Los Angeles and stayed four points back of the first place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.
Brandon Tanev’s deflection off a Daniel Sprong shot put the Kraken up 1-0 at 7:14 of the first period. Eeli Tolvanen sniped his fourth goal in seven games since joining the Kraken for a 2-0 lead with 39 seconds left in the second period, and Jaden Schwartz’s empty netter put the game away with 1:50 left in regulation.
“Our group understood the challenge and we wanted to come out here and play our best game,” said Tanev. “Great 60 minute effort, and a great two points for us.”
Linus Ullmark, who was 22-1-1 entering the game, made 28 saves and took the loss in net for Boston. Jones, who flashed several big saves as the game progressed, including a breakaway stop on David Pastrnak, is 6-0 with a .946 save percentage since New Year’s Day.
“Our goaltender played incredible,” said Tanev. “Jonesy played awesome for us.”
The Kraken will visit the Chicago Blackhawks next, on Saturday at United Center, in a 5pm PT face-off (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network) to finish the seven game road trip.
1. It was a game for the ages and a win for the ages. They had two days to soak in the possibilities and prepare. The Kraken, with another stroke of 60-minute mastery to shed their expansion season skin, knew a showdown was coming against the Bruins, serving as the ultimate measuring stick. Boston is on a record-pushing season and loaded, from top to bottom with talent – still with David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand.
The Kraken passed this latest ultimate test with flying colors, in a three-act play. Getting the first goal of the game, in the first period, was huge. Martin Jones no longer is delivering “vintage” performances. He’s looking renewed, and fitting of a goaltender who serves up big games in big moments. He’s 13-1-1 in the last 15 games and earned his 28th career NHL shutout. He kept the Bruins quiet in an intense playoff like environment, with the game very much in doubt until Schwartz’s empty netter.
2. Here’s Eeli Tolvanen, another growing success story. Like the revelation of Daniel Sprong, it’s unbelievable to consider how he was discarded from the Nashville roster, then revealed to hopefully pass through waivers per Nashville brass in an interview with a local radio station. Eeli Tolvanen isn’t just scoring goals, he’s scoring big ones. They’ve come at a rate in four of the last seven games since he joined the Kraken lineup.
His goal in the second period about nearly broke the Bruins. He had enough space to fire a trademark snapshot under the crossbar for a 2-0 lead. With seeds of doubt planted, the Kraken held off the Bruins in the third period and after surviving an extra attacker buzz at the net, Schwartz heaved an empty netter. But Tolvanen made the difference, giving the Kraken breathing room.
3. Have you recognized the Kraken (yet) as a real threat? Now’s the time to believe it. They just beat a Boston team that was nearly invincible on home ice. They’re at the halfway point of the season where they just aren’t good, they’re historically good. Since the expansion boom of the 90’s which has introduced 11 teams, only two teams exist with a winning record out of that group in their second season, at the halfway mark: the Kraken and Vegas. The Kraken own the best record.
They are nine points into a playoff spot. They are four points off the division lead with two games in hand on Vegas, and four games in hand on the Kings. The only two teams with a better goal differential in the Western Conference are Dallas (+34) and Winnipeg (+29). The Kraken are at +25. They are on the verge of taking a seven-game road trip that was frightening from the outset and transforming it into legendary. They are passing every test thrown their way.
The Kraken visit the Bruins at TD Garden, 4pm PT (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network) on Thursday before ending the trip on Saturday at Chicago.
KRAKEN LINEUP VS. BOSTON, 1/12: