The Seattle Kraken welcomed the Calgary Flames to Climate Pledge Arena for the first time this year on Thursday. Overall it was a good, hard-fought, and at times quite chippy game that could’ve gone either way. But as it has seemed all year, the Kraken ended up with the short end of the stick.
Seattle opened the scoring in this one in the first 5 minutes. We love to see it, don’t we folks? But even better than Seattle scoring first was the guy that got the goal. We got ourselves a Mark Giordano revenge goal!
rekindling an old flame. pic.twitter.com/JrSWk8Oe9d— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) December 31, 2021
Gio spent all of his first 15 years with the Flames, eight of those years serving as the team’s captain. I know it’s early in this one, but this was probably the highlight of the night, especially if you’re into narratives and that sort of thing.
The lead didn’t last too long though, as Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau tied it up 5 minutes later. Chris Driedger got pulled way out of position anticipating a shot from Nikita Zodorov, only to see Zodorov find Gaudreau alone in the right circle instead. Gaudreau buried it in the wide open cage without too much trouble, as he tends to do.
The Kraken began the second with 23 seconds of power play time, hardly enough to really get set up in the zone and cycle the puck at all, but that didn’t matter because the boi boi Calle Järnkrok popped in a rebound just nine seconds into this one.
Calle Jarnkrok GOALLLLL‼️— ROOT SPORTS™ | NW (@ROOTSPORTS_NW) December 31, 2021
He finds the back of the net 9 seconds into the second period! pic.twitter.com/OZSBXQvP4M
And don’t let Gio’s aggressive play down the right wing to set this up go unnoticed — that’s 2 points (and counting) in this game for the former Flame.
The rest of the second period didn’t really go Seattle’s way. They spent most of what is usually their best period chasing the play, largely due to the fact that they took four minor penalties. It was Gaudreau again who would capitalize on that first power play for the Flames, tying the game at 2 with an absolute snipe.
Things got a bit testy throughout this period, and as you might expect Calgary’s Milan Lucic was often found in the middle of it. He and Will Borgen (who did nothing wrong in this writer’s humble opinion) got offsetting minors for this scuffle after a whistle halfway through the frame.
HOT MIC HOT MIC!!— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) December 31, 2021
Milan Lucic was ready to eat all 5 Kraken alive pic.twitter.com/vJvawXaDOX
Lucic must’ve been feeling good after this because a short while later he gave Calgary their first lead of the night. The bad news for Seattle wasn’t done yet in this period either. They took two minor penalties in the final five minutes, giving up a 5-on-3 man advantage to the Flames for nearly a full minute towards the end. The penalty kill came up strong though and kept Seattle within one heading into the final period.
Seattle came storming back at the start of this one and it paid off early with one of the prettiest goal sequences you’ll see all year. Starting with a pass from behind their own net from Carson Soucy, it’s a tic-tac-toe play from Järnkrok to Colin Blackwell to Yanni Gourde to tie this one up with plenty of hockey still left to play.
That new line of Järnkrok/Gourde/Blackwell showed a lot of promise in this contest. They were actually outshot while on the ice together (as were most Kraken lines in this one) but the shots they allowed weren’t all that dangerous. The 2 shots for Seattle with all three of these guys on the ice both found the back of the net, while Calgary didn’t score on any of their 5 shots on with them on the ice. This line was the only Kraken forward grouping to have a positive expected goals differential all night. The search for a steady second line might have to stop here, at least for a little while.
The last 3 minutes of this game probably deserve their own heading. Gourde went to the box for a high-sticking penalty towards the end of the game, sending the Flames out for their fifth power play of the night — and Andrew Mangiapane took advantage of it. The next minute of ice time was a whirlwind, so I’ll just let the ol’ Twitter account give you the vibes of the end of this one — don’t forget to note the timestamps here too.
Flames take the lead on the power play with 3:09 to go— Davy Jones' Locker Room (@DavyJonesLR) December 31, 2021
PICK UP THE PHONE IT'S ANSWER TIME, JARED MCCANN TIES IT— Davy Jones' Locker Room (@DavyJonesLR) December 31, 2021
calgary scores to take a 5-4 lead 10 seconds later I don't even know man— Davy Jones' Locker Room (@DavyJonesLR) December 31, 2021
The Kraken have been bitten with this weird bug where they can’t tie a game late without immediately giving up another goal in the ensuing minute. This time it felt like that was turning the other way, with Jared McCann tying the game only 30 seconds after the Mangiapane goal. But then, just like the night before in the game against Philadelphia, they gave the lead right back. It’s a real problem, and Gio summed up the frustrations best in his postgame interview.
“We had a great shift, we got a lot of pucks to the net, we scored and then again, it happened to us last game, it happened to us tonight. Those bounce back shifts are huge. It’s a frustrating way to lose a game, obviously...we’re finding ways to lose. You can’t give up those goals, bottom line...It sucks to lose like that.
Noah Hanifin scored an empty netter with 20 seconds left to make the final score 6-4 in this one. Seattle will get back at it on New Year’s day with another home game against the Vancouver Canucks.