The Kraken took any drama out of their attempt at NHL history Saturday in the first period. Trying to win a record seventh straight game on a road trip, as well as a franchise-best eighth straight overall, Seattle scored six times in the first period on their way to an 8-5 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.
The Kraken became the first team in NHL history to win all seven games on a seven-game road trip. They head home after banking all 14 standings points available on the road and have not lost since the calendar turned to 2023.
“The two points are what matters,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “It’s a great accomplishment for the players to do that. It shows the consistency and work they’ve put in to start this road trip. For me it’s more about the players and accomplishment and consistency in play throughout the road trip.”
Opening the game by scoring six times on their first seven shots, the Kraken built a lead that was insurmountable and got all their players involved. All 12 forwards recorded a point in the first period. Defenseman Adam Larsson ended with a plus-seven mark and his partner had a plus-six rating.
“It was a crazy first period,” Hakstol said. “We had a couple of nice offensive plays, we had a couple that had eyes and found the back of the net, so obviously it’s a positive way to start a hockey game. There’s a long way to go from there. Our second period was pretty sloppy, our third was pretty good until the last couple of minutes. We don’t like giving up a couple of late goals.”
By the game’s end, 15 of Seattle’s 18 skaters had recorded at least one point.
Jared McCann recorded his first NHL hat trick, Matty Beniers and Oliver Bjorkstrand each had a goal and assist, and Yanni Gourde, Ryan Donato, and Alex Wennberg chipped in a pair of assists each. Martin Jones made 22 saves for the Kraken (26-12-4), who look to make it nine straight wins Monday afternoon at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“[The first period] was a tough period (mentally),” McCann said. “You can’t sit back, and we did in the second and third period. It showed in our play but mentally for players, it’s tough to go through something like that, when you have to just stick with it.”
Taylor Raddysh had a goal and two assists, and Jonathan Toews and Max Domi each had a goal and assist for Chicago (11-26-4), who had won three in a row. Defenseman Isaak Phillips scored his first NHL goal and Seth Jones had three assists. Petr Mrazek started for the Blackhawks but was replaced by Alex Stalock after allowing four goals on five shots. Stalock played 47:50 of game time and made 21 saves in relief.
It started early for Seattle who went up 1-0 at 2:50 of the first when Morgan Geekie sent Sprong in alone, and he slid in his 14th of the season.
Chicago tied the game 1-1 at 4:40 when a Toews shot went off Jamie Oleksiak’s stick and past Jones. But the game wasn’t close after that when the Kraken scored five unanswered goals.
Seattle scored five times over the next 3:59 on goals from Beniers, McCann, Andre Burakovsky, Eeli Tolvanen, and a second by McCann.
The Blackhawks scored the only goal in the second period, by Phillips, to cut the lead to 6-2 after two periods. Domi made it 6-3 with a power-play goal 51 seconds into the third period to get everyone’s attention, but McCann answered with his hat trick goal at 1:54 and Bjorkstrand followed with his seventh of the year at 2:37.
Raddysh and Patrick Kane scored cosmetic goals in the game’s final four minutes for the 8-5 final.
“Whatever we are doing out there, it seems to work,” Larsson, who did not know Seattle had set a record, said. “Obviously we’ve been having a lot of fun lately and moving forward, now we’ve got a lot of games in a short span, so 24 hours rest now and we’re back at it.”
With the hat trick, McCann upped his goal total to 22 on the season which is only five off his career best of 27 that he scored last season.
“My linemates created a lot of ice space for me,” McCann said. “Ryan [Donato] was huge, he’s a big boy out there, he was able to find me in the slot there and I was able to put it in. I’m very fortunate to play with two very skilled players.”
McCann has reached the second-best total in his career, and Saturday’s hat trick was the first of his career. He came into the game with a scorching 25.7 shooting percentage, and he’s doing it all by averaging 1.9 shots per game. With a deeper Kraken roster, that’s a little below last season when he averaged above two shots per game.
“His shot, I mean it’s world class,” Larsson said. “I don’t know how many he has but he’s having a career year already. We’ve had scoring from everybody in the lineup this year. It’s been nice but now and after the All-Star break, that’s when we really have to elevate our game.”
- McCann’s hat trick was the first for Seattle this season and the second in franchise history.
- Jordan Eberle has the other Kraken hat trick and Saturday played in his 900th career NHL game.
- Jaden Schwartz was a scratch Saturday. Hakstol said the winger was day to day but would not go into detail as to what the injury was.
- The Kraken scored eight goals for the fourth time this year which is the most in the NHL. The last team to do that was the 2011-12 Pittsburgh Penguins.
- Seattle outscored its opponents on the road trip by a combined 37-15 for an NHL record +22 goal differential for a road trip of seven games or more.
- After two straight shutouts, Jones’ shutout streak ended at 139:20, which is the fourth-longest streak in the NHL this season.