The Seattle Kraken should petition the league to play all of their home games in the afternoon.
That’s my biggest takeaway from Seattle’s thrilling 3-2 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday afternoon. The Kraken came out swinging (metaphorically and literally) and put their foot down on the gas all day, save for the not insignificant minutes they spent killing penalties. That did not look like a team completely downtrodden by a 9-game losing streak.
Seattle outshot Chicago 37-27 on the day overall, and 24-11 at just 5-on-5. It was a game they probably should have led by a lot heading into the third period, but unfortunately there was a future Hall of Fame goaltender in net on the other side in Marc-Andre Fleury.
Credit where credit is due, Fleury is the reason the Blackhawks came away from that game with the loser point in the standings.
The opening period started great for Seattle. They held the Blackhawks without a shot for the first four minutes of the game, and drew the first two penalties of the day as well. The power play generated decent chances (especially relative to whatever that power play was doing during the Kings game) but ultimately couldn’t find the back of the net. Later on in the first they kept the energy up when Will Borgen (Will Borgen! I didn’t know he had it in him!) stepped up to defend the Kraken’s leading goal scorer after Jared McCann got leveled with a clean hit by Chicago’s Mike Hardman.
Borgen did get an extra 2-minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, which I assume came from the fact that he won the fight too handily. Nevertheless, the Kraken would kill that penalty and end the first period scoreless.
The second period began with-hang on wait IS THAT A PUPPY IN A KRAKEN JERSEY?!?!
The Kraken introduced the team dog during the intermission and his name is Davy Jones and I would protect him with my life. The Kraken partnered with Canidae to adopt the 4-month old husky mix through Dog Gone Seattle. He’ll be trained up as a therapy dog over the next several months and the team has promised he’ll make appearances at Climate Pledge Arena and the Kraken Community Iceplex as well, so stay tuned because there’s a lot more Davy content coming up the rest of this season.
Anyway, we can attempt to get back to the hockey game now. Chicago got on the board first with a Dominik Kuabilk goal halfway through the second period, which took the wind out a bit as Seattle had dominated the scoring chances up until that point and yet still couldn’t get the game’s opening goal. Fortunately Vince Dunn — playing in his 300th career game — had an answer goal in him that came less than three minutes later.
Seattle has had some rotten luck so far this year, so seeing a puck bounce off a defender and into the net and have that be in favor of Seattle felt like a long time coming — especially in a game they were actually playing well but just didn’t have a goal to prove it.
Seattle’s 3rd minor penalty of the game would set them back once again however, when Brandon Hagel banged home a rebound chance on the power play while Vince Dunn sat in the box for tripping. Seattle took 3 minor penalties in the 2nd period alone, and 5 overall this game. Aside from Fleury making every single save so long as a puck wasn’t redirected by his own defensemen, it was these penalties that kept Chicago alive in the game. Seattle outshot Chicago 10-9 in the middle period when they were at even strength, but because they spent 6 minutes in the box the Blackhawks ended up with 16 total shots in the period to the Kraken’s 10.
It took only two minutes after the third period started for Seattle to tie this one up, this time with Ryan Donato’s 9th goal of the season.
This whole sequence starts with that burst from Donato to get by the defender in the neutral zone. Caleb Jones does a good job taking away the passing lane at the end, so Donato opted to shoot and found his own rebound to tie this game early in the third. This one meant a little more to him personally too.
Donato and Colby Cave were close friends when they played for the Boston Bruins. Cave passed away unexpectedly in 2020 due to a brain bleed. His wife, Emily, remains close with Donato to this day, and she was in the stands cheering him on on Monday. This one was simply meant to be.
Later in the third, Jared McCann got tripped up on a semi-breakaway and Seattle was awarded their first penalty shot in team history. With under 7 minutes to play in a tie game, the leading scorer had a chance to put them ahead and salt this one away. And once again, Marc-Andre Fleury said we aren’t allowed to have nice things.
Seattle carried their strong play into a 3-on-3 overtime period, where they held possession of the puck almost the entire time. It was easily their best OT period of the season — whether that’s due to running it a bit more in practice, or just because they seemed to have Chicago’s number that day, it’s hard to say — but boy was it an exciting one. Seattle took 10 shots to Chicago’s 3 in that five minute span, culminating in Jordan Eberle ringing one off the post with about 2 seconds left.
In the shootout, McCann got a chance for redemption but again was denied by Fleury. Donato, on the other hand, would not be denied any more on this day. He’s easily the most comfortable shootout guy on the roster, and with moves like this why wouldn’t he be?
Philipp Grubauer did his job at the other end, stoning a pretty impressive shootout lineup that started with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. And then who else but Joonas Donskoi stepped up to bury the dagger in this one with his second shootout goal of the season. Just look at how happy is was to finally put one in the back of the net.
He’s still technically got no goals on the year, but real ones know that doesn’t matter any more. He’s got a game winner under his belt now.
The Kraken are now undefeated since adopting a team dog, and they’ll look to turn this into a winning streak on Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks back in Climate Pledge Arena.