After two years of waiting, the Seattle Kraken finally played their first official NHL game in Las Vegas on Tuesday night. The results were not as Kraken faithful wished for, but it was a memorable night nonetheless.
The Vegas Golden Knights were host to the Kraken for their inaugural game and wasted no time jumping out to a lead. Max Pacioretty scored two goals and Jonathan Marchessault scored one in the first 30 minutes of the game to give the Golden Knights a 3–0 lead before the Kraken showed signs of life.
The second half of the game was a whole new experience for fans, as forward Ryan Donato scored the first regular-season goal in Kraken history following the midway point of the second period. Just over a minute later, Jared McCann was credited with a goal after a centering pass was redirected past Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner through a sea of sticks, bringing the score to 3–2.
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The Kraken momentum carried into the third period when Morgan Geekie tied the game at 3–3 eight minutes in following a blue line turnover by Pacioretty. Geekie’s shot was deflected by the stick of Vegas defenseman Zach Whitecloud and beat Lehner, but the joy was short-lived.
Less than a minute after Geekie’s game-tying goal, Vegas center Chandler Stephenson used his skate, rather than his stick, to put the home team back in front. The goal was reviewed to determine if the puck was kicked in with a distinct kicking motion, and determined to be a good goal, putting the Golden Knights back on top at 4–3.
With some sloppy play in the final five minutes of the game, there could have easily been another goal either way. When the horn sounded, the Kraken left Vegas with their first loss in team history.
⚓ Despite playing the favorite to win the Pacific division, the Kraken showed some pushback and held the game relatively even. Shots were 31–30 in favor of Vegas, each team was 0–3 on the power play and the game ended with a one-goal difference.
⚓ Even though it was announced Monday that Joonas Donskoi, Calle Jarnkrok, Marcus Johansson, Jared McCann and Jamie Oleksiak were in COVID-19 protocol, everyone but Jarnkrok was on the ice for puck drop.
⚓ Philipp Grubauer played well after a mediocre start, but certainly had the help of some goalposts.
⚓ The Kraken are off today. They will face off Thursday in Nashville against the Predators. The puck drop is scheduled for 5 p.m. PDT.