They did it for their dads (and mentors and brothers). On the first night of their first fathers and mentors trip, the Kraken came up with a big effort to down the red-hot Detroit Red Wings, who came in on a five-game heater. 

The Red Wings had plenty of speed and jam to their game, but Seattle played off a boisterous home Saturday night crowd and got another good performance from Philipp Grubauer and a huge game from linemates Jordan Eberle and Matty Beniers. That was enough to push them over the top for a 4-2 win. 

The two points the Kraken earned did not get them any closer to Vegas or Los Angeles in the tightly packed Pacific Division standings, as both of those teams also won Saturday. But it did create a three-point cushion over idle Edmonton, at least temporarily. Seattle remains in third place, one point behind the Kings with a game in hand and two points behind the Golden Knights. 

Regardless, that was a hugely important victory, and we’re starting to feel like the Kraken are ready to go on another run. Since their three-game stinker through the New York metro area, the Kraken are 3-0-1 and face a bad Sharks team Tuesday in San Jose before two tough home games against Boston and Toronto. Is the team rolling again? 

“I think it started a couple games ago,” said Grubauer. “We’re doing the right things, and it’s looking more like playoff hockey where we make the right decision in that moment for the team, and we’re not making any selfish plays… There’s not much hockey left, and our division is pretty tight, so we need every point.”  

Here are our Three Takeaways from an impressive 4-2 Kraken win over the Red Wings. 

Takeaway #1: Matty Beniers and Jordan Eberle showing chemistry

In Thursday’s game against Philadelphia, Jared McCann and Yanni Gourde were the standouts for Seattle. As has been standard with this team, though, it’s almost never the same guys that play the starring role two games in a row, a testament to the depth of the lineup. 

“It’s nothing new,” said coach Dave Hakstol. “We do have that. I mean, you have everybody in here that feels like they need to contribute on a nightly basis, and we don’t win if we don’t get that. That’s not overplaying it, and I’m not underplaying it. That’s just how it is.” 

Saturday, it was Matty Beniers and Jordan Eberle that stepped up. The duo seemed to be sending telepathic signals to one another to let the other know where to pass the puck. There was a definite “sixth sense” feel to their connection on this night, an indication that both are playing with a ton of confidence and that the chemistry between them is high. 

“The biggest thing for me is trying to get him to turn off his brain,” said Eberle of his young linemate. “He’s a very cerebral player, and sometimes it gets in the way. Sometimes, turn your brain off and play. That’s the biggest thing. He’s got some confidence right now.”

The sequence at the end of the second period that ended with Jamie Oleksiak banging home his sixth goal of the season was a prime example of the pair’s chemistry. With the teams skating four-on-four, and the clock winding down, Eberle lunged to catch a 150-foot stretch pass from Carson Soucy that looked to be way out of Eberle’s reach. But he got just enough of the puck to slow it down, then dished a cheeky little offering under the stick of Filip Hronek, right onto Beniers’s tape in the slot. Ville Husso came up with a big save and deflected it behind the net. 

That killed the play, right? 

Wrong. Eberle was on the puck in a flash and twisted it around the boards to Beniers. The rookie laid a perfect pass for a crashing Oleksiak, who extended the lead to 3-1 as the teams headed to their dressing rooms after 40 minutes.

Said Beniers, “I had a mini-breakaway before that. Ebs got the puck in the corner, dragged two guys to him, made a great play, and then I kind of had some time and just got my head up.” 

We’ve been generally impressed with Beniers since he returned from his head injury after the All-Star break. He’s been one of Seattle’s best players almost every night, and on Saturday, he may have been the best player. Well, it was either him or Eberle. Either way, the duo is working really well together on their line with McCann right now. 

“We’re doing the right things,” Beniers explained. “We’re getting on pucks, playing fast, playing north-south, so a lot of things that we’ve been talking about… I think we’re getting back into consistently doing it all the time and not just sometimes. It helps when [Eberle] is putting everything in.” 

Takeaway #2: This is the Philipp Grubauer we expected when Seattle signed him

When Philipp Grubauer signed his six-year, $35.4 million contract at the opening of free agency two summers ago, we thought Seattle had pulled off a big coup. They were getting a guy coming off a Vezina-finalist-caliber season in Colorado, and he was the top goalie on the free-agent market. In fact, general manager Ron Francis said the Kraken didn’t even expect Grubauer to get to free agency, and all of a sudden, they had him in the fold. 

Things obviously did not go as planned for Grubauer in his first season with the Kraken, and the second season didn’t start off all that remarkably either. He got injured in his fourth appearance of the season and missed more than a month, and along the way, he lost his starting job to Martin Jones. 

Well, since a stinker against Edmonton on Dec. 30, Grubauer has been somewhere between good and great in each of his nine starts. He has now played four games in a row, and it’s no coincidence that the Kraken have points in all four. 

“He was unbelievable tonight,” said Eberle. “He made some amazing saves, and the past— I don’t know how many it is, but he’s been great. He’s finding his game, and we’re feeling confident with him back there.” 

Grubauer only faced 23 shots against the Red Wings, but there were a few stretches in the game when Seattle couldn’t get the puck out its zone. The Kraken netminder stood tall in those periods and bailed out his mates, particularly late in the game.

“He was awesome, especially in the third when they had a big push,” said Beniers. “We didn’t have a good answer sometimes, and he was able to come up with the big stop. Those are the kinds of stops that change the momentum of the game.” 

It is safe to say Grubauer has re-taken the starter role. This is the guy the Kraken thought they were getting when they signed him for $5.9 million per year.

And, hey! He hit .900 for his season save percentage!

Takeaway #3: Doing it for the dads

Saturday’s morning skate was one of the most fun practices we’ve witnessed for this team over the last two seasons. With the dads and mentors present, the energy was elevated, the mood was light, and the comedy was flowing

At that skate, we privately said to a colleague in the media, “They are 100 percent going to win tonight.” They just had to do it. The vibes were simply too good for Seattle to lose to Detroit.

Sure enough, the group did what it had to do to get the two points and get the event off on the right foot. 

“When you can win when they’re here, it makes things a lot lighter and a lot better,” said Eberle. “It makes the car ride home a lot better too.”

“I think I can speak for the group,” said Grubauer. “Once the dads, mentors, brothers are here, we don’t want to lose those games because they’re a huge part of why we get to play. And to get this win means a lot to us.” 

The dads and mentors will now accompany the Kraken on their road trip to San Jose.