There’s an old saying that it’s hard to play hockey from behind, and Monday night the Kraken made sure they wouldn’t have to, scoring thrice in the first period and holding on for a 4-0 blanking of the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
“We had a great start to the game, we had a really good first period,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “[It’s] the way that you want to come out on the road, and we not only built a lead, but we played a really good first period that set us up.”
Seattle has won five straight and opened a tough seven-game road trip with four consecutive wins.
Martin Jones made a fifth straight start and turned away 21 shots for his second shutout of the season.
“They can be a dangerous team,” Jones said. “They definitely have skill up front and can be dangerous off the rush. We just had to play smart and make sure we were keeping guys in front of us, and we did a good job of that today.”
The Kraken had goals from four different players including defenseman Vince Dunn who has scored in three straight and added an assist tonight. Daniel Sprong, Eeli Tolvanen, and Matty Beniers each scored for Seattle (23-12-4), which will try for its sixth win in a row Tuesday night in Buffalo.
“We’re a deep team, we rely on everyone to win games,” Dunn said. “You see in the Ottawa game we had eight different players scoring goals, so that’s really big for the team right now, especially in the second half [of the season].”
Sam Montembeault made 37 saves for Montreal (16-22-3), who are 1-2-1 all-time against the Kraken.
The Kraken took 15 of the game’s first 16 shots on goal and scored three times to take early control of the game.
Tolvanen opened the scoring at 6:54 of the first period when he got a cross-crease pass from a pinching Dunn and slammed in his third goal with the Kraken to make it 1-0.
While that would be all the offense Seattle would need, it added on and went ahead 2-0 on the power play at 10:01 with a one-time slapper from the circle by Sprong who continues his hot stretch.
Dunn put the exclamation point on the period when he made it 3-0 with a big slapshot from the point at 14:20. It was his seventh goal of the season and 10th point over his last six games.
“Dunner’s just playing with confidence,” Hakstol said. “He’s doing a lot of the little things. When you look at the way he’s getting us out of the zone, he’s defending well, but he’s using his feet, he’s playing fast.”
He has also had the primary assist on all three of Tolvanen’s goals with the Kraken.
“For me, it’s just finding open space,” Dunn said. “A lot of my goals right now are coming from the forwards doing a lot of work down low and finding me, or off the rush. A lot of credit to them, I think our forwards are working really hard as a group right now.”
Beniers found the empty net to make it 4-0 at 18:57 of the third to finish the scoring.
Martin Jones stays hot
Jones didn’t have much of a workload in the first period but did make 15 saves over the final two periods and helped kill off two Montreal power plays.
Jones has been the goalie in all five games of this Kraken win streak and allowed only eight goals. Hakstol started going with the hot hand once Philipp Grubauer was healthy, but Jones has been as hot as you can be over the last five.
“We’re just playing really fast and we’re kind of smothering teams,” Jones said. “We’re not giving them a lot of time and space. We’re checking hard and it’s resulting in a lot of O-zone time for us.”
He has an 18-5-0 record this season, which is the most wins he’s had since he won 36 for the San Jose Sharks during the 2018-19 campaign. All that being said, Grubauer most likely will start Tuesday in the second of back-to-back road games against the Sabres.
- The Kraken are 5-0-0 since the New Year and lead the NHL in wins and points over that span.
- Dunn leads all NHL defenders in scoring over the last five games.
- The Kraken are 26 points better than they were at this point last season.
- Jones picked up career shutout No. 27 in the NHL.
- Jared McCann had his three-game goal scoring streak snapped.