The Seattle Kraken grew their win streak to a franchise-best four straight games Saturday night with a 3-2 win against the slumping Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. Of the four wins in the streak, Saturday’s was the most dramatic.
Facing a Pittsburgh team that lost its previous six games (0-5-1), the Kraken absorbed an early onslaught, got timely scoring, and 36 Martin Jones saves to pick up two more standings points.
“The goaltending has been really good throughout this road trip,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “It started with Joey [Daccord] in Calgary, Jonesy picked right up where he left off from his home performance a week ago. So, you have to have to have that for a chance to have success on the road, especially in a game like this. You know, [Jones’s] performance is critical for us.”
It was a former Penguin who struck the ultimate blow for the Kraken. Tied at 2-2 late in the third period, Brandon Tanev was parked in the slot when Yanni Gourde got the puck to him at 16:21 for Tanev’s second goal of the season.
“Obviously, that’s great for me, but I think it’s more important that the team got all six points on this road trip,” Tanev said. “That’s the mindset and the goal we had setting out to this road trip, and the three games we played, we beat three good teams.”
Gourde had a goal and two assists, and Morgan Geekie had two assists for the Kraken (7-4-2) who swept all three games of the trip.
Sidney Crosby had a goal and picked up his 900th career assist while Jake Guentzel had a goal with an assist for the Penguins (4-6-2), who lost to Seattle for the second time in a week. Tristan Jarry made 25 saves in defeat.
The Penguins opened the scoring when Guentzel found Crosby in the high slot at 5:24 of the second period.
Vince Dunn tied the game 1-1 at 7:48 after a Gourde faceoff win. Dunn took two strides and leaned into a slapper that beat Jarry through traffic for his second goal of the year.
Gourde would give the Kraken a lead when Geekie backhanded a pass that hit Tanev’s shin and bounced to Gourde in front of the net.
“You create your own luck,” Gourde said. “Most of the time it doesn’t work, but tonight it worked. We defended pretty well, Jonesy had an incredible night, there were big blocks in front of him as well, [Carson] Soucy played a great game tonight.”
Penguins came out hard
Desperate for a win, the Penguins were flying in the first period. They earned two power-play chances and flung 13 shots at Jones but none got past him. After the initial push, the Kraken did create their own chances and had righted the ship.
“We bent but we didn’t break and that’s the biggest thing. We spent a lot of time in our in our D-zone tonight,” Hakstol said. “But we expected them to come hard and they did. We had to survive a couple extended shifts in our zone. We weren’t able to close as quick and as well as we would like. Give them a lot of credit as well, they made it hard on us.”
After struggling earlier in the season, the Kraken penalty kill was perfect again, not allowing a Penguins goal in three power-play attempts.
“We’re playing fast on the penalty kill,” Gourde said. “We’re trying to kill plays fast and we’re bearing down on the clears. That’s a big part. When those clears don’t go out you give them extra life.”
- Kraken forward Jared McCann was out again due to a lower-body injury.
- Geekie extended his point streak to four straight games (three goals, two assists).
- Seattle has beaten Pittsburgh three times, joining the San Jose Sharks and the Buffalo Sabres as the only other teams the Kraken have defeated thrice in franchise history.
- Shane Wright played his seventh game of the season and had 8:42 of ice time. What kept him from having more? His first NHL penalty, a holding call, in the first period.
- Seattle returns home on Tuesday when they host the Nashville Predators at Climate Pledge Arena.
Martin Jones 6-3-1. .901
Terrific team-first mentality from the Kraken players. Easy to love this team right now!