Takeaways from Kraken season finale, win at Minnesota

Seattle Kraken v Boston Bruins

Photo: Winslow Townson / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

The finish line of the season had one thrilling race for the finale, that was befitting of a roller coaster that define the 2023-24 campaign. 

The third period defined that final chapter. Yanni Gourde scored two shorthanded goals, including an empty netter that held up as the game winner, sending the Seattle Kraken into the summer with a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center. 

The win was a mere consolation prize to wrap up a season that will have the Kraken missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in three seasons, hitting a regression that ended with a frustrating 7-13-2 record since the start of March. 

“I mean, there's a lot,” forward Jordan Eberle told 93.3 KJR-FM when asked about his thoughts going into an off-season that could be dictated by change, starting with free agency that is likely to start with $22 million of available cap space.” 

Eberle will be around, recently signing a two-year extension. But the disappointment of missing the playoffs has made downtime, soon, a complete necessity. 

“You try and take a week away and then you take time to reflect,” said Eberle. “I feel like that's the best way to do it. You know, obviously this is a disappointment. It's not where we want to be.” 

Kirill Kaprizov and Matty Beniers exchanged goals in the first and second period on the power play, respectively, then the levee broke with the game tied, 1-1 in the third period. 

Brandon Tanev blocked a pass and sprung Gourde for a shorthanded  breakaway goal to break the tie with 13:22 left in the game, normally a lead in the third period that would be good enough to hold with strong defensive habits. Instead, the two teams aired it out, combining for four goals in a wild span of 7:42, in the last half of the period. 

Mats Zuccarello’s breakaway goal with 8:47 left was answered by Tye Kartye’s deflection at the net for a 3-2 lead, followed by Gourde’s second shorthanded, empty net breakaway with 1:46 for a 4-2 lead. 

Of course, at times, no two-goal lead is safe. Minnesota made a game out of it again when Brock Faber bagged his eighth goal with 1:05 left on the same power play, but the Wild ran out of time on last heave at the Kraken net, wrapped up by Joey Daccord’s 21 stops. 


1.        Veteran presence: For the last week, we’ve heard from Yanni Gourde and Jared McCann get vocal about frustration, disappointment, and accountability. McCann went as far as to say after the Sunday loss in St. Louis that the rest of the season is an extended tryout for next year. 

While the game carried miniscule consequence, the veterans showed up akin to the Tuesday loss in Winnipeg. Gourde scored twice while shorthanded and went 14-for-23 in face-offs. McCann had an assist. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, in his 700th career NHL game, went 5-of-6 in face-offs. 

2.        Fit to be Tye’d:  While the Kraken are struggling with offensive holes throughout their four lines, Kartye emerged quietly with a strong finish in the last week and scored in back-to-back games. 

After bursting onto the scene in the playoffs last year where he scored in his debut, Kartye finished the season with goals in back-to-back games, complimenting a season where he led the Kraken in hits, and forged a rebellious streak, at times getting under the skin of opposing namesakes such Kevin Fiala and Connor McDavid. 

It’s a pure blueprint for the type of abrasiveness the Kraken can find useful in their bottom six of the forward corps.

3.        High note: Whatever stench of the final month and a half of the season couldn’t be erased in one final spurt of 60 minutes. It appeared the Kraken were well on their way to another quiet offensive night to punctuate a frustrating season in the goal scoring department until they were opportunistic in the third period.  

The veterans showed up, Daccord made key saves, Kartye had a strong finish, and Matty Beniers scored a goal that bucked a trend for this season: front of the net presence. As they say in this game, only the strong survive in that area. Beniers’ willingness to hunt deflections or rebounds helped the Kraken tie the game, and perhaps provide a hint of where more of his offense can come from next season, in addition to a summer where adding strength will be a massive aid.  

Based on Eberle’s words, the end of the season wasn’t a cause for celebration, but for relief. It’s over. The summer is here, leading to a clean slate, one where the Kraken must capitalize on opportunity for change. 

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