The Seattle Kraken relied on some of their veteran leaders in a 4-3 win against the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday morning, a win that ended a three-game slide and dampened the Super Bowl Sunday euphoria in Philadelphia.
Jaden Schwartz scored his second of the game, 1:03 into the third period to make it 4-2 and give the Kraken much-needed cushion when he snapped a shot from the right face-off dot.
“I’d say tonight my jump felt better,” Schwartz said. “With how tight the standings are right now, every game’s important. The two points feel bigger sometimes. You win a couple you’re in a great spot, you lose a couple you might be on the outside looking in, and we’re no different.”
The goal turned out to be the game-winner after Patrick Brown scored a short-handed marker to cut the Kraken lead to 4-3 at 16:40 in the third. Philadelphia then made a late push with the extra skater on but the Kraken stood tough, highlighted by a shot block from Matty Beniers just before the horn.
“We stopped playing after Schwartzies goal,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “I really liked the way we played for 41 minutes and we’re a team that skates and checks, we possess the puck, we transition quick, and we forecheck. We stopped doing those things, and they took advantage… we stopped doing the things that make us successful. We got safe and it almost killed us.”
Beniers was hobbled by the shot and needed help off the ice.
“He blocked a shot but nothing that I know of,” Hakstol said afterward when asked if there was an injury.
Jordan Eberle had a goal and assist, Eeli Tolvanen scored a goal, and Alex Wennberg had two assists for the Kraken (30-18-5), who won for the first time on their five-game road trip. Philipp Grubauer got the start and continued his strong play of late by making 16 saves.
Owen Tippett had a goal and assist and James van Riemsdyk scored for the Flyers (22-23-10), who lost a night after dropping a 2-1 game against the Nashville Predators. Felix Sandstrom made 17 saves.
The finish was nice but with a 10 am Pacific start, it looked glum for the Kraken early on.
It took 31 seconds for the Kraken to get into penalty trouble as Vince Dunn was called for a trip. Sporting the NHL’s 31st-ranked power play Philadelphia cashed in at 2:11 when Tippett was left alone to fling a Grubauer rebound into the net and give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
Just a minute later, Will Borgen took an elbowing penalty. But the Kraken killed off that penalty and then everything clicked at even strength.
They tied the game 1-1 at 12:53 after Jared McCann stole the puck in the neutral zone, creating a 2-on-1 counterattack with Eberle. McCann floated a perfect pass across and Eberle scored top shelf. It was Eberle’s first goal in 13 games.
At 17:01 it would be Oliver Bjorkstand who lifted a stick, swiped the puck, and got it to Eeli Tolvanen, who scored to give the Kraken their first lead on the road trip at 2-1.
“At the start, we take a couple of penalties and we’re on our heels a bit,” Eberle said. “But after that, I thought we settled in real well. We created some opportunities and obviously had a lead.”
Van Riemsdyk tied the game 2-2 at 3:33 of the second period with a great hands play. He deflected a shot up in the air while in front of the net and then whacked the puck out of midair.
Eberle then set up the first goal by Jaden Schwartz to make it 3-2 at 18:59 in the second. Ebele carried the puck from in deep, he waited out the defense, and then sent a perfect pass to Schwartz in the slot for his 11th goal of the year.
“For us, it’s a good win,” Hakstol said. “There are some things that we have to take and fix in that third period.”
Once again, the Kraken used a strong defensive effort to snap out of a downtick in the season.
Eberle’s goal came directly after McCann stripped a puck and Tolvanen’s goal came after Bjorkstrand did the same. On top of that, Seattle only allowed 19 shots.
They bent some in the third period when they carried a two goal advantage, but overall Seattle had a 62.9 percent shot attempt advantage at 5-on-5 and 57 percent of the total shot quality.
- Seattle’s Ryan Donato played in his 300th NHL game.
- Eberle’s first-period goal was the 55th time this season Seattle has scored in the opening frame which is the fourth most in the NHL.
- Sunday was the first time that the Flyers hosted a game on the same day that the Philadelphia Eagles played in the Super Bowl.
- Sunday’s win was the first victory over the Flyers in Kraken franchise history.