Another Kraken rally, another OT loss: 4-3 in Dallas on Monday

Seattle Kraken v Chicago Blackhawks

Photo: Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

The month of December can be characterized as the streak of “close, but not close enough.”  

One thing’s for sure: ever since an eight-game winless skid, you can’t even count the Seattle Kraken out.  

But there are points on the table, and Monday night, the Kraken left another one hanging around for good. Eeli Tolvanen put them in position for another rally, falling 4-3 in overtime on Thomas Harley’s game winning goal, for the Dallas Stars on Monday night at American Airlines Center.  

Matty Beniers had a goal and an assist helping the Kraken rally out of two separate two-goal deficits, while new linemate Tomas Tatar scored his first goal with the Kraken. Matt Duchene ran wild with a three-point night for Dallas, scoring twice and setting up Harley’s game winner. Jason Robertson also scored in the first period.  

The evening characterized a habit: it was the 17th one-goal finish this season. They are rarely out of games. Yet they are typically finishing as the runner up, falling for the ninth time this season in overtime or a shootout. It put them closer to the wild card spot: the Kraken went to bed three points out, though they have played the most games in the NHL (33) and will have to jump Calgary, St. Louis, and Arizona, who have, at most, three games in hand.  

Takeaways from the game:  

1. Another hard-fought point:  

You have to admire the fight. For the second straight night against a division title contending team, the Kraken were down, but not out. They had to recover from a slow start, a rash of third period penalties, and the injury bug – emerging fourth line center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and leading goal scorer Jared McCann each left the game with lower body ailments, with no immediate timetable for recovery.  

It took a fortuitous and late delay of game penalty against the Kings to strike on the power play and create a chance to win. On Tuesday, they earned it through a clutch six-on-five play. Eeli Tolvanen scored during a scramble at the net, fighting through traffic to tie the game with just 21 seconds left. The Kraken were eventually stunted by Matt Duchene’s feed to Thomas Harley for the game winner, on a play that snuck past a defending Ryker Evans at the net. It was the second straight game the Kraken forced overtime with less than three minutes left in regulation.  

"The positive side is digging out of a hole with a short bench, and finding a way to get back in,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol, who also reference two straight nights the Kraken were shortchanged an overtime power play for too many men on the ice.  

“Guys were not rattled in any way, did the job, and found a way to get through the kill, and tie it up late.” 

2. Odd man rushes, late penalties stunt the Kraken effort: Go back to the first period, and it brings up the matter of chasing games: it will cost energy to play catch up, and often, valuable points. The Kraken spent a ton of time in that position, trailing for all but less than two minutes combined before overtime hit. Odd man rushes were the early culprit, despite eye popping metrics that backed up the fact that the Kraken controlled the game with puck possession. They owned a whopping 72 percent edge in shot quality at five-on-five play, per  

Their chances increase with more five-on-five time, rather than being stuck in the box for four penalties under 13 minutes which bled into the third period.  

"First period was sloppy,” said Tolvanen. “A lot of misreads, I don’t think we were ready to play today.”  

“We just kind of turned the switch and decided these points matter. It sucks not to get two points, but big to get the one.”  

3. Could Matty Beniers be rounding into form? This was a game from Beniers the Kraken need on a more consistent basis, to consistently be in the playoff conversation. Beniers helped set up Tatar’s first goal with Kraken, then beautifully finished off a rush chance for his first goal in ten games in the second period.  

Beniers did not get an assist but was trusted enough to be deployed for the six-on-five situation that Tolvanen scored on, while causing enough havoc at the net to generate a loose puck chance. He finished with two points and showed a glimpse of returning to form. Perhaps, we’re seeing a revelation with instant chemistry between Beniers and Tatar, also joined by Jordan Eberle (who had an assist in his return to the lineup).  

"He’s a very smart centerman,” said Tatar. “He can distribute the puck so that helped us out a lot today. I think us three, we’re close and supporting each other, we’re winning battles.”  

The Kraken will visit the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, 7pm PT (93.3 KJR-FM / Kraken Audio Network).  

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