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Sports >  NHL

Justin Schultz’s OT winner helps Kraken put an end to mini slump

Nov. 17, 2022 Updated Thu., Nov. 17, 2022 at 10:02 p.m.

Geoff Baker Seattle Times

Facing a goaltending nemesis that’s had their franchise’s number wasn’t the easiest way for the Kraken to try to end a mini slump.

Wins and goals have been hard to come by for the Kraken their past two home games and seeing Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers between the pipes Thursday night meant scoring would likely again be at a premium. And it was throughout most of this one until Justin Schultz slammed home a loose puck with 1:21 to go in overtime to deliver a 3-2 win to a Kraken team that had dropped its two prior games at home.

The second goal of the period by Schultz came after a nice, driving rush down the left side by Jordan Eberle. The puck slid through a maze of players in front of the net and right to an incoming Schultz, who buried it for his team’s first overtime victory — and only its second all-time — in four tries this season.

Schultz had given the Kraken a lead with just over 10 minutes to play in regulation, but then a late hooking penalty on Carson Soucy led to a tying power play marker by Vincent Trocheck with 1:54 remaining and sent the game to overtime.

It was the second straight game in which a Soucy penalty in the dying minutes cost his team a lead.

Before the go-ahead Schultz snapper from the right point midway through the final period, netminder Shesterkin had stopped 95 of 98 lifetime shots directed his way by the Kraken over nearly 2 1/2 games of playing time dating back to last season.

Jared McCann getting stopped by Shesterkin on a breakaway fewer than three minutes into the game, but then recovering seconds later to redirect Will Borgen’s point shot seemed to signify the Kraken might get to Shesterkin in this one. But he began stonewalling them from there, the Rangers tied things by period’s end and another nail-biting finish was in order.

Down at the other end, Kraken goalie Martin Jones again helped his team keep pace until they found a way to score, making a leg stop off Rangers youngster Kaapo Kakko on a second period breakaway chance to keep the game tied.

Shesterkin had a somewhat slow start to his season before coming on of late and stopping 31 of 32 shots his previous start in a win over Arizona.

Last season, he’d waltzed into this arena on Halloween night and turned it into a horror show for the Kraken by also stopping 31 of 32 in a 3-1 victory by the visitors. Then, three months later in New York, he stopped 40 of 42 as the Rangers pulled out a late 3-2 win.

So, seeing him turn aside chance after chance by the Kraken in this one was nothing new. The Kraken enjoyed three power play chances and a 16-5 edge in shots in the second period alone, but Shesterkin would not be beaten.

New York had tied the game 1-1 on a power play of its own with 5:02 to go in the first period when Chris Kreider sent a goal mouth pass to an open Mika Zibanejad, who slammed it into an open left side of the net. New York had withstood an early Kraken barrage, largely due to Shesterkin, then turned the tables the latter half of the opening frame and kept the home side hemmed in their own zone.

But it was all Kraken in the second period, starting with Daniel Sprong being delivered a clear-cut breakaway chance just three minutes in. Sprong is one of the Kraken’s better players on breakaways given his penchant for nifty moves, but Shesterkin got his glove out to snare his late snap shot attempt.

The Kraken had scored just a pair of goals their last two home games and only five in their three prior contests. Part of that has to do with a power play that’s cooled of late and struggled again to finish off chances in this one.

Brandon Tanev had arguably the best scoring chance of the middle period, one-timing a pass from point-blank range only to be turned away by Shesterkin.

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