Kraken show sense of urgency in 5-2 victory over Canucks

Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times on

Published in Hockey

SEATTLE — It wasn’t desperation to the Seattle Kraken’s middle period game Thursday night as much as a sense of urgency evident in how aggressively they attacked the team atop the league standings.

This 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks before a delighted Climate Pledge Arena crowd might ultimately go down as the Kraken’s biggest all season. For now, the important home win, fueled by a three-goal second period, changes the complexion of a homestand that could prove key to any Kraken playoff push.

Justin Schultz and Jordan Eberle scored 69 seconds apart to snap a tie score and put the Kraken ahead to stay in a second period they dominated from start to finish. Jared McCann had scored his 25th of the season earlier that frame on a blistering wrist shot that picked the top corner on Thatcher Demko in one of the best shots taken by a Kraken player all season.

Brandon Tanev followed not long after by thrashing Connor Garland in likely the most lopsided fight win by a Kraken player in franchise history. Tanev landed about a half-dozen consecutive uppercuts on Garland before throwing him to the ice to really get the crowd and his team fired up against a Canucks squad that’s bashed the Kraken around plenty in previous meetings.

And though Sam Fletcher would ultimately tie it 2-2 on a fluke goal that deflected in off Schultz and Brian Dumoulin, that reprieve for the Canucks would be short-lived. Later on that period, with the Kraken pressing, Schultz fired home a blast through traffic from the right point to put the home team back in front 3-2.

And then, before the Canucks could really gather themselves, the Kraken aggressively forechecked in Vancouver’s end and saw McCann come up with a puck behind the net. McCann backhanded a pass out front to Eberle, whose first shot was stopped but then the rebound came right back to him and he fired it home.

Eberle would add his second of the game on an empty net with 2:09 remaining and Demko pulled for an extra attacker.

With the victory, the Kraken and Calgary Flames leapfrogged the idle Minnesota Wild by a point and each remained three points out of the final Western Conference wild card spot after an earlier victory by the St. Louis Blues.


Equally important, the win gave the Kraken three points out of a possible four to start this homestand against contending opponents, with the Wild due in on Saturday. Defeating a Canucks team that entered the night with a league-leading 80 points helped offset some of the sting of an overtime loss to Detroit on Monday and gives the Kraken potential to really get rolling if they can follow up with a win over Minnesota.

The night didn’t start off as quickly for the Kraken, who got a bit careless in their own end and left J.T. Miller all alone with a loose puck in front of goalie Philipp Grubauer. Miller calmly gathered the puck and fired it past Grubauer all in one motion to put Vancouver on top at the game’s 4:34 mark.

But later on that period, just as a Kraken power play was expiring, McCann fed a puck back to Vince Dunn for a one-timed slapper past Demko to tie it 1-1.

The Kraken actually began taking over the game the latter half of that period, at one point hemming the hapless Canucks in their own end for more than a minute with fatigued Vancouver skaters desperate to get off the ice. The crowd roared its approval as the Kraken kept preventing Vancouver clearing attempts before they finally got the puck out for a line change.

Not long after that, the Kraken again had the Canucks reeling in their own end and this time drew a penalty with four seconds to go in the period. They didn’t score before intermission, but the penalty carried over to the middle frame and McCann quickly put the home team ahead on the power play just 39 seconds in with his turnaround wrister from 30 feet out that picked the corner on Demko.

It marked the third consecutive season in which McCann has reached the 25-goal mark.

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