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Kraken steal a 2-1 win from Hurricanes

Ron Francis must be beaming

Carolina Hurricanes v Seattle Kraken Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Don’t look now, but the Seattle Kraken are on a winning streak! The Carolina Hurricanes came to town on the last leg of a West-coast road trip, much like their fellow Metropolitan division leader Washington Capitals. And much like the Capitals, they’ll leave Seattle empty handed. It was quite a night for possibly the biggest revenge game of the year for Seattle.

Revenge is a dish best served etc. etc.

There’s a chance we all overblow the “revenge game” aspect each week, as nearly every night there’s going to be a player going up against a team that left him unprotected in the expansion draft. But as the Seattle Times’ Marisa Ingemi pointed out earlier this week, it’s definitely not not something the players think about. Wednesday night had no shortage of revenge game storylines.

Morgan Geekie, left unprotected by the Hurricanes in July, had a solid all-around game, despite not registering a point. While Geekie was on the ice during 5-on-5 play, the Kraken outshot the Hurricanes 13-11 — translating to a CF% of 54.1% (13 shots for / 24 total shots). No other Kraken player was above 50%.

Then of course there’s the general manager Ron Francis, who held the same position in Carolina for five years. Starting fresh in Seattle, with an ownership group that reportedly is willing to let him spend to the salary cap ceiling, Francis finally got the chance to pay a goaltender. And boy did it work out this evening (more on that below).

And last but not least, we got to hear John Forslund, who rose to the top of the NHL play-by-play commentary world in Carolina, give us a grand “that’s Kraken hockey baby!” at the closing of this contest. Just a beautiful scene all around.

/”Gruuuu” chants intensify/

It’s no secret that Grubauer was not performing up to his contract for the first dozen games of the year. But we don’t need to rehash that today because GRU IS BACK BABY.

Grubauer allowed just 1 goal tonight and has now let in only 3 over the past 2 games. And those games were against teams with top-5 records in the entire NHL.

It was another stellar start for the netminder, and arguably the first win he’s really stolen for Seattle this season. The ‘Canes peppered Grubauer with 27 shots on goal in the final periods alone. Natural Stat Trick had Carolina notching 2.91 expected goals in those final two frames, and Gru allowed none.

Fiery Vince Dunn

Vince Dunn now leads the Kraken in fights. His latest couldn’t have come at a much better time either.

In the first 10 minutes of the third period, the Hurricanes took 14 shot attempts while Seattle took just 4. Shots on goal were 8-3 in favor of Carolina. It was looking more and more likely that the team that was going to break the 1-1 tie was not going to be Seattle. Then, after a great defensive break up in his own defensive zone, he went hard into the corner with Andrei Svechnikov and apparently really got under Svechnikov’s skin.

Carolina Hurricanes v Seattle Kraken Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Two things happened as a result of this fight: first, both Svechnikov and Dunn got sent to the box for 5 minutes apiece. Now, as much as I love Vince Dunn, having him and Andrei Svechnikov going to the box for an extended period of time at the end of the third period of a tie game is a win for Seattle. Svechnikov leads the Hurricanes this year with 19 points, and he’s 2nd on the team with 7 goals. The ‘Canes were dominating in the shot generation department at the time, and Svechnikov was one of the more likely candidates to bury the go-ahead goal. He can’t do that from the penalty box though.

The second result of this fight was that Svechnikov actually ended up with an extra 2 minutes for roughing and sent Seattle on the power play. While they didn’t manage to take the lead, that was enough to swing the momentum in their favor. Seattle went on to outshoot Carolina 6-5 in the final 10 minutes and eventually snagged the game-winner with just 3 minutes to go.

Throw it on net, good things happen

You know that old Wayne Gretzky quote about 100% of the shots you don’t take, don’t go in? It’s still true. As time winds down in a tie game, sometimes the best thing a player can do is throw pucks at the net and hope something squeaks through. Enter Marcus Johansson.

Jojo (apparently not Mojo? Will need further examination on nicknames) netted his first even strength goal as a member of the Kraken at a huge moment. Quite often we’ve seen this team take an opportunity like that and try to make the perfect pass across the slot to an open man, only to see it broken up before it gets there. This time, though, Johnasson took advantage of the Hurricanes’ defenders screening their own goalie and got one through the short side to give Seattle the win.

It’s odd to consider a game in which Seattle was so heavily outshot as a good team win, but this is the kind of grind-it-out victory that this team sorely needs right now. To go up against one of the hottest teams in the NHL so far this year and stand toe-to-toe with them for 60 minutes and steal a win can only send the confidence of this team soaring upwards. Let’s hope they can ride this wave through to Florida for the next tough 2-game stretch.