It took sixty seconds for a Kraken win to unravel.
Blake Wheeler was the Winnipeg Jets’ brawler-turned-savior, knocking a loose puck behind Seattle goalie Martin Jones with six seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
Fifty-four seconds into the extra period, the Jets scored for a 3-2 victory.
Seattle’s Brandon Tanev sank what would have been his third game-winner of the season on Sunday at Climate Pledge Arena. With the Winnipeg net empty for the extra attacker, the Kraken had to kill off a penalty to Carson Soucy with 25.2 left on the board.
They did not.
“Those are the ones that really sting,” forward Jordan Eberle said. “You never know what point is going to get you into the playoffs. When you make mistakes that keep giving good teams like that opportunities, that’s what’s going to happen.”Jones (27 saves) was consistently good and turned in a few stunners. His save of the night came when he’d drifted outside the blue paint. The action moved back toward the front. With his legs at a 90-degree angle around the post, he stretched one foot out to deny Winnipeg’s Pierre-Luc Dubois.
“Boy, we wasted a good performance there,” coach Dave Hakstol said.
Earlier, the Jets were six seconds away from killing off nearly a minute of 5-on-3. Eberle dived on a loose puck in the crease and came up with it, beating Jets goaltender David Rittich to make it 1-0. It was Seattle’s first 5-on-3 goal of the season.
Eberle then tried to share the love and set up Matty Beniers. Beniers shook himself loose from the pack and got a quick shot off, but it was turned aside.
During the third period, Eberle had a goal disallowed.
“I’m not too tall. It’s tough for me to get a high stick,” Eberle, listed at 5-foot-11, said.
“I was on the fence, obviously. They waved it off right away, so you don’t usually get a call back and a review from Toronto. It is what it is.”
The Kraken hadn’t allowed a power-play goal since Oct. 29 and had killed off 18 straight. The Jets ended the streak when Mark Scheifele one-timed a perfectly angled bounce off the boards midway through the second period to tie the game at one.
Scheifele also scored the overtime winner for Winnipeg. Andre Burakovsky gave up the puck as he wove toward the Jets net, leading to a 2-on-1 the other way.
“We’ve gotta stay out of the box more and turned too many pucks over,” Jones said. “A point is probably what we deserved tonight.”
The Kraken are 0-3 in overtime this season. They haven’t yet made it to a shootout.
During the second period, Tanev got loose on a short-handed breakaway, appeared to have Rittich beaten and hit the cross bar, one of multiple iron strikes for Seattle.
The Jets didn’t like the look of an unpenalized Burakovsky hit from behind on Nate Schmidt. Adam Lowry and Brenden Dillon each addressed it with Burakovsky as he headed for the bench. Will Borgen dived in and the gloves flew. Every skater on the ice was involved by the end. Wheeler and Borgen kept the mess churning before landing on the ice in a tangled tackle, together.
As the players sorted through their dropped gear, the officials debated and decided on a double minor for roughing to Wheeler and a regular minor for Dillon. Borgen was the only Seattle player sent to the box and his team got a four-minute power play. The Kraken couldn’t capitalize.
There was something of a make-up call about five minutes later when Mason Appleton appeared to catch himself with his own stick and Soucy got the blame.
Soucy fully deserved the penalty in the final minute, however. He punched Dubois in the back of the helmet to the left of Jones after Dubois bumped into him.
“We just need to close that game out. We don’t need to settle any scores at that point in time,” Hakstol said.
Oliver Bjorkstrand joined two of the Kraken’s energy providers, Tanev and Yanni Gourde, on the third line, moving down from the first. He was a 20-goal scorer three of the past four seasons in Columbus but hasn’t found the net for the Kraken (8-5-3) since the season opener.
The new group connected for the go-ahead goal. Tanev took the puck up the ice with Bjorkstrand and beat Rittich (19 saves) low glove side for a 2-1 lead.
“That was a good fit. Bjorky had a couple of good looks tonight. Once one goes in for him, things are going to start going his way a little bit more,” Hakstol said.
“He’s got one, right? But the next one has been hard to come by.”
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