Stocking stuffers: Kraken charge into break with 3-2 win at Anaheim

Seattle Kraken v Los Angeles Kings

Photo: Harry How / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Oliver Bjorkstrand, Vince Dunn, and Tomas Tatar each scored to help the Seattle Kraken go wire-to-wire in a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday at Honda Center.  

The Kraken, shaking off a Frank Vatrano power play goal and a highlight reel goal by Trevor Zegras, got 32 saves from Joey Daccord to continue a surge into the holiday break, a 4-0-2 in the last six games while reaching within three points of the final wild card spot.  

“Guys are playing hard, regardless of what our lineup may or may not look like,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol.  

“Three days will be valuable rest time. We want guys to go home and enjoy Christmas with their families. We come back and quickly get back on the gas pedal on the 27th.”  

Vince Dunn led the Kraken with a three-point effort and earned his 100th assist with the Kraken, the first to reach that benchmark in franchise history.  

“I just try to take every opportunity that’s been given to me in this organization, and it’s been a lot,” said Dunn.  

“I’m really happy for the guys to end on a good note going into the break – that's a really big five points on the road trip.”  

Lukas Dostal took the loss on 19 saves.  

What’s in the stocking:  

1. The Joey Daccord “big save” 5000: It slices! It dices! It cuts fries in seconds, waffle or julienne!  

Maybe we’re getting too far ahead. We’re probably on the verge of regurgitating takeaways from Wednesday’s win at Los Angeles, but the same thing happened: Daccord showed up, and continued to provide the Kraken with quality goaltending that statistically has kept them around the developing playoff picture, and begging for more starts as the season gets deeper, and a return to health is closer for Philipp Grubauer. Two breakaways gave the Ducks game-defining opportunities, both that Daccord stopped in the first and second period, the former fueling Bjorkstrand’s power play goal. Dunn’s blocked shot led to the 2-0 goal. Daccord then stopped a taser by Brett Leason, shortly before the Kraken released Tatar for his big goal.  

The big plays emerged in the Kraken zone.  

“They start with a save or defensive play on our end,” said Dunn, who held himself accountable for the Leason breakaway. 

“I give up the chance on the power play, but we find a way to get it on net and get a big goal.”  

An update on his numbers since the start of December: nine games, 4-2-3 record, a miniscule 1.90 goals-against-average and (drumroll) a .936 save percentage.  

2. The three pack of deluxe Tuna: Tomas Tatar is here, and he’s cooking already. More evidence on Saturday night suggests the reformed “top line” is a good fit: Tatar with Matty Beniers in the middle, and Jordan Eberle on the right wing. While players and coaches will often rightfully preach the 10-15 game rule for full line chemistry, the production off the bat is undeniable. Tatar has two multi point outings in the last three games, and Beniers is on a three-game point streak. Eberle, though shut down Saturday night, was on the scoresheet each of the two previous games. He set up Beniers for the Dunn backdoor goal, and Tatar maneuvered to the right circle in transition for a filthy backhander and the eventual game winning goal.  

“Everything seems very easy again,” said Tatar. “We close support each other. We are talking. We communicate from the (defensive) zone. I feel we’re playing honest, two-way hockey and it makes this fun.”  

The results are modest, but the potential is encouraging. As four line depth is a demand for success, their top line’s presence is a non-negotiable necessity, and a delightful gift in the stocking. It’s a gift for Tatar, at least.  

"Hockey feels right again,” said Tatar.  

“It looks like me, Matty and Ebs are builing some chemistry, and we’re having a lot of fun.”  

3. Speaking of filthy, please enjoy the Trevor Zegras highlight-reel game controller. Push button “X” while holding the trigger for a between the legs play. Hold the trigger, the right bump button, with button “Y” to flip the puck over the net from the trapezoid. The lacrosse style goal, a.k.a. “The Michigan,” can be accomplished with a simple tap of button “A”.  

That’s how easy it looked: collect, skate, balance, and flip into a hole over Joey Daccord’s shoulder that was no larger than a dinner plate. While the goal bore little consequence besides the guarantee of placement on ten thousand highlight shows, tweets, and reels on Instagram and TikTok, Zegras deserved his flowers.  

It’s not just the fact he scored a goal like this, it’s the fact he had the audacity to pull this off in the third period with the Ducks trailing by two. It was a stroke of creativity, and a scream of entertainment. Even more mind-bending: the fact that Connor Bedard pulled this off against the Blues just earlier in the night. 

Let the kids play. They’re grabbing eyeballs for the NHL.  

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