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Kraken take down Flames to keep hope alive

Kate Shefte, The Seattle Times on

Published in Hockey

CALGARY, Alberta — Under the shadow of Friday’s trade deadline, the Kraken were knocked around at Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome, particularly their top defensive pairing. Still, Seattle took a 4-2 road win from the Flames, one of the teams ahead of them in the wild-card race.

Just six seconds into the game, Calgary’s Martin Pospisil drove Seattle defenseman Adam Larsson into the boards headfirst. Larsson was a short distance from the glass and settling the puck, bent over slightly, when Pospisil drove him in so hard his feet flew up and over his head. Pospisil landed on top of him, the players untangled themselves and play continued without a penalty call. Larsson, who has appeared in 329 consecutive games and every single one in Kraken history, remained on the bench and played a team-high 23:44.

In almost certainly related news, Tye Kartye dropped the gloves with Pospisil in the second period. It was quickly broken up by the officials and each player received a roughing minor. While the teams played 4-on-4, the Flames tied the game at 1.

Larsson got sweeter revenge on his own, scoring 21 seconds into the third period. Larsson moved up, accepted the puck from Matty Beniers and casually scored his fourth goal of the season. It turned out to be the game-winner.

In terms of where Larsson was on the ice, it was similar to Oliver Bjorkstrand’s earlier goal that gave the Kraken the lead for good. Behind the net, Jared McCann found Kraken All-Star Bjorkstrand wandering alone and fed him. Bjorkstrand tucked his 16th goal of the season inside the far post.

McCann was the one to add an insurance goal, scoring on a breakaway with less than eight minutes left in the third period.

 

McCann, usually a winger, has mostly played with the top line since the All-Star break. He was pressed into action at center when Alex Wennberg was held out of the game despite making the trip to Calgary. After the morning skate, Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said the reason was “trade-related issues,” a strong indication that pending unrestricted free agent Wennberg is in the process of being dealt to another team before Friday’s trade deadline.

For context, during the inaugural season, the Kraken’s first and only captain Mark Giordano was scratched from a game at Climate Pledge Arena, during which he was honored for playing in his 1000th NHL game. The Kraken front office didn’t want to risk an injury to Giordano while they finalized things. He was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs days later.

While that is seemingly happening again, McCann centered Wennberg’s usual line with Jaden Schwartz and Bjorkstrand.

“He’s played well when we’ve had him there,” Hakstol said of McCann Monday afternoon. “It’s an adjustment that he has the ability to make.”

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