Jordan Eberle delivered the second game winning overtime goal of his Stanley Cup Playoff career, and the first in Seattle Kraken history, to beat the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2 in OT before a sellout crowd at Climate Pledge Arena in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal on Monday.
The Kraken have turned this series in a best-of-three affair, with Game 5 set on Wednesday at 6:30pm PT from Ball Arena. Seattle is guaranteed to host an elimination game, in game 6, Friday with the opening face-off time to be determined.
COMPLETE RADIO GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Eberle finished a loose puck sequence at the goal mouth for the second Kraken power play goal of the night, right over a fallen Cale Makar and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev.
Will Borgen and Daniel Sprong put the Kraken up 2-0 by the end of the first period, while Mikko Rantanen single-handedly delivered Colorado back to a 2-2 tie by the end of the second period. The Kraken were also forced to move on without injured forward Jared McCann, who led them with 40 goals this season, after he took a late hit from Makar in the first period. Makar was issued a two-minute interference penalty and did not return.
Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol ruled McCann out for game 5.
Philipp Grubauer took the win in net with 20 saves. Georgiev took the loss with 38 stops.
1. THE SNARL OF PLAYOFF HOCKEY HAS ARRIVED. It’s officially a series. Not because the Kraken have answered the defending Stanley Cup champion punch-for-punch that’s turned a best-of-seven series into a best-of-three, but now we have the human element of emotion gone to full tilt. We have snarl. We have nastiness. We have abrasiveness. We have a villain. We have physicality. The Kraken hit everything that moved all night, but it took a massively wild turn upward after the Makar hit on Jared McCann, which seemed unleash a beast that was waiting to come out of the Kraken. They outhit Colorado 52-37. It’s a terrifying night for time and space when 6-foot-7 Jamie Oleksiak lays six hits, including one bone-jarring blast on Makar. Eeli Tolvanen, Yanni Gourde, and Oliver Bjorkstrand hit anything that moved, and combined for 15 hits.
Climate Pledge Arena was again driven to extreme volume levels as the Kraken rolled to a 2-0 lead, then hit the ultimate crescendo on Jordan Eberle’s game winner, which was long overdue. There was pain in losing Jared McCann, fear in an Avalanche comeback, and the relief after Eberle’s winner.
Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the most wonderful time of the year.
2. THE CALE MAKAR HIT ON JARED McCANN: SUB-OPTIMAL. Borrowing a phrase in that header from Kraken color analyst Dave Tomlinson, Makar’s hit was a vicious blow on a 40-goal scorer that happened well after the play concluded, could have been avoided, and in reality, should have been avoided. Makar, a generational talent, was a first time offender for a play that will be reviewed by the NHL department of player safety (update: he has been served a one-game suspension, and will miss Game 5). To see it go from a five-minute major to a two-minute minor for interference was baffling, with the puck completely clear of play even before Makar laid into McCann.
McCann missed the rest of the game and the loss is substantial. It had an effect on Makar, booed every time he touched the puck which turned the talented defenseman wearing number eight into public enemy number one. With Makar now out for Game 5, the Avalanche lose arugably the most talented defensemen of this generation, and are due to be without five of their top 11 point producers from last year’s Cup run: Makar, Gabriel Landeskog, Valeri Nichushkin, Nazem Kadri (free agency to Calgary), and Andre Burakovsky (free agency to Seattle).
3. GAME SIX IS HAPPENING IN SEATTLE. And it’s going to be loud again on Friday. Game 4 victory on the Kraken side meant avoiding a potential “win or go home” situation, and the narrative has completely changed to one of opportunity: win in Game 5 at Denver, and set up a potential chance to eliminate the Avalanche on home ice before a sellout crowd that’s been on-brand loud, and effective.
Who could have thought of this situation a week ago? We’ll start inside the Kraken dressing room, embracing an underdog mentality for weeks, and a few within the radius of the Puget Sound who have seen the Kraken rise as a second year team to 100 points, just nine behind Colorado. But the notion of this series ending in an Avalanche landslide has been completely exterminated, and the Kraken are now two wins away from authoring another remarkable achievement, sending the defending champs into the summer.
KRAKEN LINEUP VS. COLORADO, GAME 4