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Sports >  NHL

Kraken lose Philipp Grubauer to illness, drop key divisional matchup to Evander Kane, Oilers

March 18, 2023 Updated Sat., March 18, 2023 at 8:48 p.m.

By Kate Shefte Seattle Times

SEATTLE – The Seattle Kraken’s latest high-scoring game against the Edmonton Oilers at Climate Pledge Arena had some goaltender drama mixed in.

Seattle starter Philipp Grubauer headed down the tunnel during a media timeout midway through the game after allowing three goals on 10 shots. The team later clarified he was doubtful to return due to a non-COVID illness.

Martin Jones came in cold and allowed the Oilers’ fourth goal on the first shot he saw. Late in the second period, however, Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his third in four games to bring the Kraken back within one. Jones helped the Kraken weather a third-period, too-many-men penalty, but the comeback push unraveled as the Oilers’ Evander Kane finished his hat trick and Connor McDavid scored a late power-play goal.

Seattle’s Eeli Tolvanen tacked on a last-minute goal for a 6-4 final score Saturday at Climate Pledge Arena.

Kraken forward John Hayden also exited the game with a lower-body injury after limited action. He was recalled Wednesday from the Coachella Valley Firebirds. He picked up his first fighting major of the regular season when he and Edmonton’s Klim Kostin squared off during the second period. They swung each other around for a few seconds before Hayden tackled Kostin, but the pair landed few blows.

On the first goal, Grubauer had a good look at Kane’s wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle and stacked his pads, but it squeaked through. Grubauer immediately looked behind him, knowing he’d been beaten.

Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn’s second goal in two games – he scored the overtime winner in San Jose on Thursday – tied the game at 1. Matty Beniers and Jaden Schwartz mucked the puck out of a cluster of bodies along the boards and Beniers tapped it to Dunn, who extended his league-, personal- and franchise-best point streak to 12 games.

The Kraken turned up the heat and pelted Stuart Skinner with shots, but on a rare occasion when the action moved to the other end, the Oilers went up 2-1. Spokane native Kailer Yamamoto drifted to the net, facing the play throughout, and tapped in a feed at the goalmouth.

Kane scored again 43 seconds into the second period. Jordan Eberle, who’d been looking at a wide-open Oilers net in the first period but couldn’t corral the puck, again found the rubber at his feet. He moved up, picked his shot and got the Kraken back within a goal.

The Kraken trailed 3-1 and 4-2, but the 6-3 deficit proved insurmountable. They fell to 1-3 this season against Edmonton and three points behind the Oilers in third place in the Pacific Division.

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