In a time of the season when all points are critical, the Seattle Kraken picked up one Tuesday night but could not get a second, falling 3-2 in a shootout to the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre.
Seattle is 0-3 in the shootout this year and wasted a top-notch effort from Philipp Grubauer who made 38 saves. Neither of the two Kraken shooters converted during the shootout, but Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mark Scheifele scored for the Jets.
“Tonight is a hard-fought road game for us,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “That’s a good team, a lot of respect for their ability and the way they play. We’re disappointed not to get two, but that’s a real important road point for us.”
Blake Wheeler and Dubois each scored a goal for Winnipeg (31-19-1), who became the fourth NHL team this year to win 20 home games. David Rittich made 27 saves after being a late starter when Connor Hellebuyk became ill during the day.
John Hayden and Jared McCann each had a goal for the Kraken (31-18-6), who return home after a 1-3-1 road trip.
Seattle was outshot 40-29 and was 1-for-4 on the power play, including three opportunities in the first period.
Grubauer was the star for Seattle, making big save after big save, especially during stretches where Winnipeg was controlling the play.
“He was awesome, he kept us in the game,” Morgan Geekie said. “His save at the end there, in the third. There were so many saves I can’t just pick one. He’s been awesome for us, and both our goalies have been great… good to see him have success. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it done for him tonight.”
Winnipeg broke a scoreless tie at 7:01 of the second period. Seattle defenseman Jamie Oleksiak tried to reverse the puck behind the net, but it was intercepted by Nikolaj Ehlers who got it to Wheeler, and he walked the puck in front and scored to make it 1-0.
Despite being on their heels for parts of the second, the Kraken struck back.
First, it was fourth-line magic at 13:20 when John Hayden scored his second of the season after attacking the net and deflecting in a Geekie pass to tie the game at 1-1.
“Would have been nicer to get the win, but my linemates have made it a pretty easy transition so far so we’ll look to keep it going,” Hayden said.
Seattle would break through on a late power play at 19:33 from McCann. It was a lucky bounce, and McCann’s shot rebounded off a defenseman before hitting former Kraken Mason Appleton and deflecting in to give Seattle a 2-1 lead after two periods.
Call it karma or whatever you’d like, but the Jets evened the game in a similar way. Josh Morrissey took a shot at 9:39 of the third period that Grubauer got a glove on but couldn’t hold for a whistle. Dubois shot the rebound wide, but it hit Vince Dunn in the shin and caromed past Grubauer to make it 2-2.
“They’re a good team over there, similar styles, they’re heavy, they’re fast, and play well at both ends of the ice,” Geekie said. “I think that’s something we do well too and two evenly matched teams tonight. Unfortunately, we came out on the wrong end but we got a point out of that.”
The point that the Kraken earned Tuesday night put them a point clear of the Edmonton Oilers for third place in the Pacific Division. The Oilers were idle, but Seattle has 66 points, one behind the Los Angeles Kings for second place and two behind the Vegas Golden Knights for first. The Kraken have a game in hand on the Kings.
Looking at other Western Conference races, Colorado has 61 points and is in third place in the Central Division and also lost Tuesday, 4-3, in a shootout to Tampa Bay. Dallas leads the Central and lost to Toronto in overtime Tuesday, so the Stars also picked up a point.
None of the other teams in the hunt for a Western Conference playoff spot were in action Tuesday night.
- Tuesday was Hayden’s 28th birthday.
- He has two goals this season in the NHL with Seattle in four games played.
- Seattle returns home for a rematch with the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday at Climate Pledge Arena.