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Kraken fight for huge win over Bruins in shootout

Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times on

Published in Hockey

A “Let’s go Kra-ken!” chant emanating from the stands early in Monday night’s second period seemed more of a pleading command by that point than any desire to pump-up the home squad.

These are desperate times for the Kraken, so a little urgency from the Climate Pledge Arena crowd was understandable given their team was trailing the Boston Bruins at the time and could ill-afford another home defeat. And while Jordan Eberle did indeed score a bit of a fluke tying goal moments after the chant began, this eventual 4-3 win would take a seesaw range of emotional twists before it was finally decided in a shootout.

Kailer Yamamoto opened the shootout with a Kraken goal that was the only one either team would manage. Philipp Grubauer would close it out by stopping David Pastrnak with the final Boston chance on a night he’d scored all three Bruins goals.

The Kraken had multiple chances to score in the overtime session, with Jared McCann just missing a tap-in at the lip of the crease. At the other end, Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer stopped Jake DeBrusk on a clear-cut breakaway.

Pastrnak completed a hat trick for the Bruins to tie the game with 2:52 to play in regulation, fewer than three minutes after a go-ahead Kraken marker by Oliver Bjorkstrand on a redirect in front of a Will Borgen slap shot. Vince Dunn had tied the game 2-2 just more than five minutes into the frame on a wrist shot from the left point that found its way through traffic.

But nothing about this night came easy. With just more than nine minutes to go, former Kraken forward Morgan Geekie appeared to score a go-ahead Boston goal. Geekie had gotten in alone on Grubauer but then crashed into the goalie as he completed his deke move.

The Kraken challenged for goaltender interference and — after a very long review — the goal was indeed overturned.

Pastrnak had scored his second goal of the night off a bang-pass out front from behind the net by Pavel Zacha late in that second period to put the Bruins in front 2-1 at intermission.

This game was far more heavily contested by the Kraken than the lopsided affair Saturday night’s defeat to the Minnesota Wild eventually became, but style points count for little these days for a Kraken team needing victories in a hurry.

 

They’d entered Monday seven points behind Nashville in the race for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

With the Kraken front office waiting on whether to potentially trade away multiple unrestricted free-agent players for draft picks by the deadline, the team might not be capable of narrowing the standings gap by enough points to make calling off those deals a realistic possibility.

For a while, it looked as if the Kraken in that second period had caught the lucky break so badly needed to get their playoff push back on-track. Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, made a rare mistake by clearing a puck right on to Eberle’s stick and watching him fire it into an empty net for a tying power-play goal.

Eberle has been on fire since the New Year, popping 10 of his 14 goals — five of them in his last five games alone.

His resurgence as a scoring threat — and a potential Kraken trade candidate — was one of several things the team needed to go its way down the stretch. But overall, in taking a third loss in four games this homestand, the Kraken — now 3-4-1 since the All-Star break — have not converted scoring opportunities at a high enough rate to keep pace with other wild-card contenders.

The Kraken, hard-pressed to score at the best of times, appeared to seize on the momentum of Eberle’s goal and pressed for the go-ahead marker the remainder of the period. In fact, they had Ullmark beaten on one shot, only to have the puck hit the post and roll through the crease untouched.

Boston had opened the scoring in the opening six minutes when Kevin Shattenkirk’s stretch pass sent Pastrnak in on a clear-cut breakaway. Pastrnak has 38 goals and is about the last guy any team wants to face on a breakaway and he showed why, easily beating Grubauer with a quick snapper to his glove side.

In fact, the Bruins were all over the Kraken the opening half of the first period and then some. The Kraken had just a lone shot on net the first 12 minutes and it wasn’t until a late offensive flurry that they began showing signs of life.


©2024 The Seattle Times. Visit seattletimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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