EDMONTON, Alberta – Coughing up leads has become an important part of this early season Seattle Kraken stumble and they couldn’t avoid doing it again even on a night in which they largely controlled play.
Two goals by Evander Kane in the final 6 minutes, 42 seconds of regulation had sent what looked to be a certain Kraken victory toward another overtime Wednesday with the visitors trying desperately to hold on to any momentum. Then, just about 3 minutes into the extra session, Kane handed the Kraken a 4-3 loss by capping his hat trick with a shot in close from the right side of the net.
For the longest time, it looked as if some fortunate Kraken bounces and tips on goals by Jared McCann and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in the middle period would decide the outcome.
Alex Wennberg scored his first goal of the season right before the second period ended to cap the three-goal Kraken outburst in the middle period and give them a 3-1 cushion they held until the game’s latter stages.
The Kraken had entered the contest with just one win in their past five games and having scored two combined goals in defeats the prior two contests. They’d been implored by coach Dave Hakstol earlier in the week to shoot more pucks toward the net any way they can, and that strategy definitely paid off.
They’d managed just 18 shots in a loss Saturday to Edmonton, then 19 in being defeated two nights later by Colorado. But this time, they had 36 and the barrage certainly had the Oilers reeling not long after Edmonton had scored the game’s opening marker.
But Kane got the Oilers back within a goal by redirecting an Evan Bouchard shot with 6:39 to go. Then, with goalie Stuart Skinner pulled for an extra attacker, Kane redirected a Leon Draisaitl pass with 46 seconds to go and tied it.
The Kraken argued vociferously that Draisaitl had interfered with a defender just before the goal but to no avail.
Kraken goalie Joey Daccord was strong throughout, keeping Edmonton’s shooters in check. He’d given up the game’s opening goal when the Kraken found themselves on the wrong end of a rush by forwards Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. Draisaitl drew an extra defender his way, then slid a pass to McDavid, who waltzed in alone on Daccord from the left side before beating him with a deke move.
That opening goal at 5:21 of the middle period certainly had the potential to turn the game and prolong the Kraken’s early season woes. Until, that is, McCann changed the tenor of the contest just 2 minutes later, heading hard toward the Edmonton net front as a Jordan Eberle shot came in on goal.
Oilers goalie Skinner made the initial kick save but the puck popped straight out, hit McCann and wound up in the net. Edmonton’s goaltending this season has been borderline atrocious and Skinner didn’t exactly distinguish himself with the somewhat lazy kick-stop attempt with the hard-charging McCann parked right on his doorstep.
The Kraken gladly accepted the 1-1 tie and proceeded to take over the rest of the period.
Just 2:04 after the tying goal, Vince Dunn corralled a loose puck at the left point and flung another puck toward the goal with a pile of bodies in front of the net. Somehow, the puck found its way past everybody and deflected off Bellemare’s stick and in behind Skinner to put the Kraken ahead 2-1.
The Oilers were reeling from there, and the Kraken continued to press.
With just 2:39 to go in the period, Wennberg was working hard at the net front as Eeli Tolvanen put a shot on goal.
Wennberg came up with the rebound, feinted going in one direction with a defender all over him, then spun and fired the puck in the completely opposite direction past a stunned-looking Skinner for a two-goal Kraken lead.