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Kraken jump out to fast start against Sabres, win fourth game out of last five

Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times on

Published in Hockey

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Leave it to forward Brandon Tanev to epitomize this winning Kraken stretch by stealing a puck at his own blueline and racing the length of the ice with an opponent draped all over him.

That Tanev, who makes hard work a habit, somehow got a shot off and then more impressively converted his own rebound for a first-period, short-handed goal told the story of Monday night’s contest and the past week-plus of games. A fourth win in five games by the Kraken, this one 7-4 over the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center, was the result of plenty of second and third efforts all-around that got goals coming in by the bucketload.

The Kraken had actually scored an earlier short-handed goal that same period, the first in franchise history on a Carson Soucy slap shot from the high slot between faceoff circles that beat onetime Spokane Chiefs goalie Dustin Tokarski.

And for the Kraken, now 8-13-1 and looking nothing like a team that lost six straight earlier this month, an early 3-0 cushion that opening frame from both short-handed markers and the first of two goals on the night by Jared McCann left plenty of room for miscues later on.

And there would be a few.

Kraken goalie Chris Driedger struggled to find a couple of pucks that bounced off the end boards in the middle period and both wound up in his net when he was slow to recover. But though the second of those late in the period briefly made it a 4-2 game, Mason Appleton would restore his team’s three-goal margin with his first of the season on a goal mouth scramble just 42 seconds later.

 

Jeff Skinner then scored his second of the game just 37 seconds into the third period to narrow the margin to two once again, but Jaden Schwartz restored the three-goal lead 14 minutes through the frame. The Sabres added one on a Dylan Cozens deflection with 1:33 to go but Appleton added his second of the game into an empty net to clinch it.

Along the way, Kraken center Morgan Geekie demonstrated his own bit of hard work in the second period. Geekie outfought an opponent for the puck near the end boards and then one-handedly muscled a pass out to McCann all alone in front for his second goal of the game.

That made it 4-1 at the time, countering an earlier Buffalo strike at the beginning of the middle frame. The Kraken, throughout this winning stretch, have scored timely goals when needed and the season-high seven notched in this one tended to snuff out any real Sabres comeback hopes before they truly got started.

It was a credit to the Sabres that they managed to stay in the game, given how demoralizing the Tanev goal should have been. Tanev’s flowing hair locks likely tickled the face of Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlen as he desperately draped himself atop the Kraken penalty killer’s back trying to atone for his own blueline giveaway.

Alas, Dahlen allowed Tanev to beat him twice: First in stealing the puck and then and outbattling him to the Sabres net for a shot. Tanev then completed the trifecta by beating Dahlen to his own rebound and tucking it past Tokarski as the stunned home fans groaned in disbelief.

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