Kraken edge Blackhawks in Seattle’s first-ever shootout win

  

In the first-ever matinee matchup at Climate Pledge Arena, the Seattle Kraken hosted the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks entered the contest on a four-game winning streak, while the Kraken were riding a nine-game losing streak.

First period

In the first period, the Kraken controlled the early play against the Blackhawks. With two early penalties, the Blackhawks had to rely heavily on their defense and their goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury stopped all eight shots he faced in the period. In addition to Fleury stopping eight shots, the Blackhawks blocked eights shots, with Calvin de Haan leading the way with two.

Despite controlling the play early, Seattle was unable to score, but was able to hold the Blackhawks scoreless as well. For the Kraken this season, goaltending has been a huge issue, as the Kraken lead the league in goals allowed at 135. Despite their goaltending woes, Philipp Grubauer saved all five shots on goal in the first period.

The first period ended with the Blackhawks on the power play after Mike Hardman leveled Jared McCann with a clean hit. Seattle’s William Borgen fought Hardman after the hit and bought himself an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Second period

The second period began with the Blackhawks on the power play, but Seattle was able to stymie any offensive chances. After their penalty kill, the Kraken started to control the play once again.

The game was scoreless until midway through the second period when Erik Gustafsson broke up a Seattle rush and then connected on a stretch pass to Dominik Kubalik. Kubalik received the pass and beat Grubauer for the first goal of the game. For Kubalik, it was his third goal in the last three games. The Blackhawks desperately need Kubalik to start heating up in order to provide depth scoring.

The Blackhawks’ lead was short-lived, as with under five minutes to play, Seattle’s Vince Dunn fired a shot from the point that deflected past Fleury. The Dunn goal ended Fleury’s shutout streak at 119:09, just shy of two games’ worth of action.

With less than three minutes to go in the period, the newest Blackhawk, Sam Lafferty, used his speed to draw an interference penalty on Seattle’s Jamie Oleksiak. On the power play, Patrick Kane found Kubalik in front of the net. Kubalik tried to stuff it home, but Grabauer fended off the attempt. In the mad scramble, Brandon Hagel found the puck and buried it in the back of the net for the Blackhawks’ second goal of the game.

The second period ended with the Blackhawks leading 2–1.

Third period

In the third period, the Kraken came alive and took over the game.

Early in the period, Seattle’s Ryan Donato willed his way into the Hawks’ zone and beat Fleury with a great shot to tie the game at 2–2. The goal was caused by a defensive gaffe from Jake McCabe, who got caught flat-footed in the neutral zone.

With more than 12 minutes left in the period, Caleb Jones committed a costly penalty. Jones was in the lineup despite being outplayed by teammate Jakub Galvas. Galvas had been good in his last two games for the Blackhawks. On the Jones penalty, Fleury made a potential save of the year candidate, robbing McCann at point-blank range on a cross-crease pass to keep the game tied.

With 6:26 left in the period, Gustafsson could not clear the zone, which lead to a breakaway for McCann. McCann was tripped by Riley Stillman, which resulted in a penalty shot. Fleury rose to the challenge again and stopped the McCann shot with another great save.

For the third period, the Kraken had 16 shots to the Blackhawks’ six. Seattle also had nine high-danger chances while the Blackhawks had zero.

Overtime and shootout

In overtime, the Kraken dominated the entire period. They controlled the play and created several chances. Fleury was excellent in the overtime, getting help from Connor Murphy and the crossbar in addition to making nice saves of his own.

In the shootout, Seattle was able to bury two goals, and the Blackhawks got nothing, sealing the 3–2 victory for the Kraken. The Blackhawks’ four-game win string ended and Seattle snapped its nine-game losing streak.

Analysis

Seattle dominated the third period of this game with strong play and good puck possession. The team still lacks an elite goal scorer, which hurts them in close games. Despite having a poor goaltending number coming into the game, Grubauer was good enough to win. Do not be fooled by their record, as Seattle needs better goaltending play and one elite scorer in the offseason to be a playoff competitor in the Pacific Division.

The Blackhawks did not play a complete game and did not show up for anything after the second period. Their winning streak might have been a bit of fool’s gold because two of their wins came against bottom feeders in Columbus and Montreal. They also got a win against Anaheim, who finished in the bottom four last season.

The Blackhawks return home to face the Minnesota Wild on Friday. Seattle’s next game is against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

Center Ice Forums Kraken edge Blackhawks in Seattle’s first-ever shootout win

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