Kraken end homestand with 5-1 loss to Canucks

Vancouver Canucks v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 24: Teddy Blueger #53 of the Vancouver Canucks fights Yanni Gourde #37 of the Seattle Kraken during the third period at Climate Pledge Arena on November 24, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Thatcher Demko turned away 23 shots while the Vancouver Canucks pulled away from a close game with three goals in the third period, en route to defeating the Seattle Kraken, 5-1 before a sellout crowd on Friday night at Climate Pledge Arena. 

Tye Kartye scored the only Kraken goal late in the second period, forcing their way back into the game with a 2-0 deficit. Kartye’s goal broke a 14-game goal drought. 

Joey Daccord took the loss on 22 stops. 

1.     The power play short circuited in the first period.

This is where the issues began for the Kraken on an evening where they let a game start to get away early. Not only did they squander four chances in the first period, including a four-minute double-minor, but they also surrendered a shorthanded goal to Teddy Blueger – their second breakaway in a matter of seconds on the same power play.

“Awful on all of our parts,” said Vince Dunn, who quarterbacks the top unit. “If we’re not going to score goals, we need to create momentum and be making the right plays.” 

Instead, the Kraken dug a hole they were ultimately unable to recover from. Matty Beniers appeared to tie the game after a J.T. Miller tripping penalty that occurred over a minute after the Blueger goal, but the Canucks successfully challenged the play for offside, and the Kraken exited the first period with a one-goal deficit.  

“Our execution wasn’t good enough,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “We had too many guys below the bar tonight. That’s the bottom line. Both individually and collectively, this is not a part time league. It’s a full 60 minute league.” 

2.     Tie Kartye needed that goal. 

Kartye was a bright spot – and a second star – in a game that was struggle for the Kraken during much of the evening. His third goal of the season with 2:31 left in the second elevated the Kraken back into the game, needing just 20 more minutes to find an equalizer. 

For much of the night, the issues also included solving Thatcher Demko, who looked dialed in and was stopping everything he was seeing. Kartye solved the issue with use of a light screen in the slot and tucked a wrister past the Canucks goaltender to complement a physical night where he also had three hits and two blocked shots – returning to form of an edgy winger who made his mark with that kind of branding in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year. 

3.     The Kraken lose Brandon Tanev and Oliver Bjorkstrand separate on hits. 

Where the Kraken go with their lineup will be a major question because of two players who were knocked out by separate hits in the game – Brandon Tanev on a hit from Nils Hoglander, and Oliver Bjorkstrand on a late blow by Tyler Myers (who also took a run at Matty Beniers last year). 

Whether you want to debate the merits of a fight after those hits is up to you, but neither hit came with an immediate confrontation afterward, while Hoglander scored – ultimately – a backbreaking goal in the third period to put the Canucks up 4-1. With just 1:24 left in regulation, and the game already academic, Yanni Gourde took matters into his own hands and dropped the gloves with Teddy Blueger, 

There is an obvious risk with quick-twitch policing of such hits, such as going on the penalty kill in a tight game, but losing a high-energy forward in Tanev and a top scorer in Bjorkstrand drew questions after the game on the matter. Hakstol ultimately declined to discuss it. 

“It depends on the situation, I won’t get into that one,” said Hakstol. 

The Kraken, still three points into a wild card spot after Anaheim lost to Los Angeles, will rest until the start of a four-game road trip next Tuesday, 5:30pm PT at Chicago (93.3 KJR-FM / Kraken Audio Network). 

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