It took them three tries and three quarters of the season, but the Seattle Kraken have finally beaten the Arizona Coyotes with a 4-2 win at Gila River Arena on Tuesday. The Kraken broke a 2-2 tie in the second period and added an insurance goal in the third period to win for the second straight game.
Carson Soucy continued his career season with a banner night scoring two goals. Daniel Sprong, playing in his first game since being traded Monday to the Kraken from the Washington Capitals, chipped in with a power-play goal and Morgan Geekie had a goal and an assist as Seattle (20-38-6) avoided a season sweep at the hands of the Coyotes to escape the Western Conference cellar.
“The group worked hard, it was a hard-working game for us,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “Pretty consistent effort throughout. We got a little bit sloppy with the puck during the second period and that cost us a couple chances against. But guys did a really good job of regaining that composure and did a good job in the third period playing with the lead by playing hard, playing smart.”
Philipp Grubauer made 24 saves and the Kraken shut down any Coyotes comeback ideas in the third period by holding them to 5 shots. Seattle outshot Arizona 39-26 on the night.
The Coyotes (20-39-4) were led by Nick Schmalz and Nick Ritchie, each of whom scored a goal, and Karel Vejmelka stopped 35 shots. It was the 16th time this season, in 35 starts, that he’s faced 35-plus shots.
It was a good team win for the Kraken one day after the NHL Trade Deadline brought a major roster shakeup, but the night belonged to Soucy.
“I just tried to get it there when I see numbers in front,” Soucy said. “On that first goal, I don’t know if we had two guys and one of their guys in front, but their goalie obviously didn’t see it. I just think that’s a good job by our forwards for getting to the net.”
His second goal, at 17:18 of the second period, put the Kraken ahead for good. It came after Geekie pried the puck free on a forecheck and Ryan Donato got it to Soucy up high where he scored on a wrist shot to make it 3-2.
“[Soucy] just doesn’t try to do too much,” Hakstol said. “He’s a real solid presence there. Tonight, he did a nice job up top, and there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that. And, you know, he’s got a good calming effect up there.”
Geekie added an insurance marker at 12:38 of the third period to put the Kraken up 4-2.
The goals came fast in the second period
The game heated up in the second period where the two teams combined for five goals, the first three of which came in a span of 62 seconds.
Soucy’s first came 18 seconds after Schmaltz put the Coyotes ahead with a power-play goal that he fired at 8:11 of the period. Nine seconds later, Soucy got a pass at the point from Jordan Eberle and took a wrist shot that scored for his eighth of the year, setting a new career high.
Ritchie finished the scoring flurry at 9:13 when the Kraken defense lost track of him in the neutral zone and he got in alone and fired a shot past Grubauer to give Arizona a 2-1 lead.
As they did earlier, the Kraken responded to make it 2-2 with a power-play goal from the newcomer Sprong.
He told the local media during his introductory press conference that he had a good shot, and he put that on display at 13:39 on a Kraken power play. He found room along the boards after Geekie and Jaden Schwartz skated to the net, drawing the penalty killers with them. Sprong took advantage and scored on a wrist shot.
“You can see [his shot] is a weapon,” Hakstol said. “In the first period he had one that he put off the pad, there was a live rebound there. We just couldn’t get to it, and a second one in the first he just missed… It’s a nice way of him to take some of the pressure off the power play.”
New lines yield good early returns for the Kraken
With the trades that sent six players off the roster, Hakstol had to find new lines. It was an opportunity for players who had been relegated to fewer minutes and lines to show their worth.
One of the more impressive lines Hakstol came up with was made up of Jared McCann, Geekie, and Kole Lind. Not only did that trio find the insurance goal in the third period, but they drove play and possession all night.
With the Geekie line on the ice at five-on-five, they took 12 unblocked shot attempts while only allowing two and had 59.63 percent of all shot quality. It’s just one game and a small sample size, but the early returns suggest that line should get another game, at least.
+ With an assist in the game, Vince Dunn extended his streak to five games in a row with an assist. He has six over that stretch.
+ Yanni Gourde was held off the scoresheet for the first time in seven games.
+ The Kraken end the season series with Arizona with a 1-2-0 record.
+ Defenseman Haydn Fleury left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury and did not return. Hakstol did not have an update after the game on Fleury’s status.