Final Buzzer: Eight is Great

Final Buzzer: Eight is Great

CHICAGO, IL – A piece of history was made tonight. The Kraken went into their final game of a two-week road trip and defeated Chicago 8-5. And what a poetic score it was. It matched the total number of wins the Kraken have in this current streak (8, a franchise record) and marked the first time an NHL team has won every game on a road trip of seven games or more. Seattle still remains the only undefeated NHL team in 2023.

“The two points are what matter,” said Dave Hakstol. “It’s a huge achievement for the players to be able to do that. It shows the consistency and the work they’ve put in since the start of this road trip. So for me, it’s more about the players and achieving the consistency of playing together as they move along the entire road trip.”

It was the fourth time this season the Krakens have scored at least eight goals and the third time they’ve done so on the road. It was also the 20th time in 23 road games that Seattle has scored at least three times. Speaking of playing away from home, Seattle increased their road record to 16-4-2.

15 different Kraken skaters scored at least one point in this game including every forward. Before tonight, that had only happened seven times for road teams in NHL history. Six skaters had a multi-point game.

What stood out? Let’s dig in.

This is the first

One of the things that Dave Hakstol has liked about his club during this streak is his ability to get off to a good start, and they certainly did that in Chicago. The Kraken scored first and by the time the clock struck zero in the first period, Seattle had scored five more times.

How impressive is that?

He sets a new franchise record for goals scored in a period (6) and ties the record for most goals scored in a period this season (Buffalo, Dec. 7). The goals came off five different skaters’ sticks on just seven shots on goal. Each of the Kraken’s four forward lines scored at least once, and every Kraken forward earned at least one point.

The first goal of the game exemplifies what is working so well with the Kraken’s attacking depth, as linebacker Morgan Geekie combined for the score. Brandon Tanev crossed the ball out of the defensive zone connecting with Morgan Geekie. From the center of the ice, the center sent the puck to Sprong accelerating into the offensive zone. The number 91 was pulled close to the net by drawing Petr Mrazek at the near post. This created space behind the keeper and Sprong slotted the ball behind him. It was Sprong’s fourteenth goal of the season, tying a career high for him.

Video: [email protected]: Speeds up and slides the ball inside

Chicago would get on the board thanks to a bad shot on net before a Jonathan Toews layup, but then, at the 3:41 mark, the Kraken slammed the door on the Blackhawks’ hopes of winning the game.

First, Matty Beniers retook the lead for the Kraken with a goal after an unmarked shot from the top of the penalty area. 1:16 later, Jared McCann scored off a layup. 1:22 after that, Andre Burakovsky reminded Kraken fans why he was such a valuable addition to the team with Seattle’s third goal of the game, knocking Mrazek out of the game.

Video: [email protected]: Beniers shoots from the spot

Alex Stalock fared no better after coming on in relief. 37 seconds after Burakovsky’s score, Eeli Tolvanen scored his second straight game and fifth in eight games. And 26 seconds after that, McCann got his second of the game.

According to StatsCentre, that flurry marked the third-fastest five-team goals by an NHL team playing on the road.

“This is a crazy first period,” Hakstol said. “We had some really nice plays offensively. And we got a couple that had eyes and fell to the net. That’s a positive way to be able to start a hockey game.”

McCann Do you believe it?

The Kraken would sit down a bit. Chicago added four more goals. But the Kraken wasn’t done either.

Chicago added four more goals, but the Kraken also fell short.

1:03 into the Blackhawks’ third goal, Adam Larsson drove the puck up the ice in the offensive zone before releasing it to McCann, who moved to his favorite spot in the right circle and finished for the goal. Kraken’s seven in play.

Video: [email protected]: McCann scores three from the same spot

“Obviously my linemates created a lot of space for me,” McCann said. “Obviously playing with Ryan (Donato) tonight was huge and he’s a big guy who can control the ball down low and he found me there from the slot and I was able to put him in. I’m very fortunate to play with two players very capable”.

It was the first hat trick of the Kraken season and the first of McCann’s career, and McCann now has 10 points (7-3-10) in his last eight games against Chicago. The forward has been so valuable to Seattle this season scoring more even goals per 60 this season than any other NHL player (with at least 10 games played).

After McCann restored the four-goal lead, Oliver Bjorkstrand decided to add another after settling in the slot to beat Stalock for the eighth time in the game.

Beware of the Couple

This season, Adam Larsson and Vince Dunn have played every Kraken game together as a pair and have been fantastic. Going into this game, according to Sportlogiq, the duo ranks second in the league in steals (280) this season, behind only Carolina’s Brent Burns and Jacob Slavin. They were both also on the ice for each of the Kraken’s first six goals and each had an assist. Larsson’s came off a nice rush that preceded a pass to McCann for his third goal of the game. Dunn put Beniers on his score. With that, Dunn extended his point and assist streak to six games.

“Every time he and Dunner got on the boards in the first half, they were on the positive side,” Hakstol said. “You do things the right way, and good things happen. That’s probably the best way I can describe his game. He does things the right way, and more often than not, when you do things in the right way, you are rewarded.”

Both have been so productive and so balanced between defensive and offensive impact. Piper Shaw of ROOT Sports NW asked Larsson during the game why the two worked so well together.

“(Dunn) brings a lot of offensive elements to the game,” Larsson said. “This year, he’s stepped up his defensive end, so I try to be that part to back him up when he wants to (join the offensive attack).

Watch: Youtube Video

By the numbers Although the Kraken said their play slipped a bit in the second period and late in the third, they still controlled the game overall. In 5-on-5 play according to Natural Stat Trick, Seattle won 56 percent of all shooting quality and 53.09 percent of all shooting volume.
Daniel Sprong knows how to make the most of his time on the ice. Among skaters who have played at least 10 games this season, he is second in the NHL in points per 60 minutes of play. Tonight he led all Kraken skaters in individual shot quality (.53 expected goals).
Martin Jones’ shutout streak was the fourth-longest in the NHL this season (139:20)
With an assist on Bjorkstrand’s goal, Jamie Oleksiak scored his 100th career NHL point.
Jordan Eberle played in his 900th NHL game and had an assist on Burakovsky’s goal – a highlight-reel pass from under the goal line to set up the scoring play.
Adam Larsson led all skaters in the game in scoring (6.86). This marks a season high for the player.
There were SEVEN answer goals in this game: five SEA-SEA goals, a Kraken goal after Chicago scored, and a Chicago goal that came within two minutes of a Seattle score.

Here’s a look at our data-driven Instant Analysis from Sportlogiq (click HERE to read this chart):

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