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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Kraken hand Canucks first home loss in regulation

Kate Shefte Seattle Times

VANCOUVER, B.C. — In their only meeting of the season at Rogers Arena, the Seattle Kraken rolled into town and handed the much-improved Vancouver Canucks their first home regulation loss, 4-3 on Saturday.

The Kraken put together consecutive wins for just the second time in 19 games.

Seattle’s Yanni Gourde didn’t need to remain upright to turn in his biggest shift of the game. From a sprawled position, Gourde swept a Canucks scoring chance safely toward the boards. He camped in front of the net at the other end and scored his third goal of the season while falling back to the ice.

Shortly afterward, while the teams were 4-on-4 for nearly two minutes, Seattle’s Matty Beniers raced in unhindered and scored his own third of the season to make it 4-2 Kraken.

A two-goal lead held up, a problem that’s plagued the Kraken (7-8-4). Vancouver scored with 11 seconds remaining to close the gap halfway.

“More than not, we’ve found ways to lose games in the third periods rather than find wins,” Kraken veteran Jordan Eberle said. “It’s nice to find a way to win here against a really good team that’s obviously been really good at home.

“Hopefully this kick-starts us in the right direction.”

A wonky goal gave the Kraken their first lead of the game. The puck deflected off Eberle’s stick and disappeared between the legs of Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko. It reappeared moments later, crossing the red line. The only one who seemed to notice was Eberle, who had made his way to the back of the net by that point and threw his arms into the air. The goal survived a review.

“It hit my shaft. I didn’t think it was a high stick — I’m not a big guy, I couldn’t have gotten it up too high,” Eberle said.

The puck’s strange journey took just enough time that the goal wasn’t credited to the power play. A hooking call to the Canucks expired in the meantime.

It was the Kraken alternate captain’s second goal of the season and first since returning from a scary cut from an errant skate blade. He’s on a four-game point streak that began before the injury, which happened in practice.

Seattle’s first lead of the game lasted all of two and a half minutes. Canucks captain Quinn Hughes beat screened goaltender Philipp Grubauer (21 saves) with a slap shot and tied the game.

Vancouver scored a dribble goal of its own in the first period. Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers fired at Grubauer 5:34 into the game. The puck slipped through the Seattle goalie’s stacked pads and Vancouver’s J.T. Miller took over. Seattle defenseman Will Borgen seemingly swept Miller’s bid off the goal line just in time, handing the Kraken a major break confirmed by the official behind the net signaling no goal.

But the Vancouver crowd roared at the replay, which showed the puck had fully crossed the line without a sliver of white ice to spare. A review confirmed it.

Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak’s first of the season was arranged by Beniers, who stalled the rush along the boards and waited for the trailer. Oleksiak sent the puck into the top corner to tie the game at 1.

The Kraken didn’t get a shot to the net on their first power play. Beniers had two shots blocked.

Beniers found the net later and has goals in back-to-back games after going scoreless in the first 13 of the season. Eberle didn’t seem to want to single him out.

“Our line in general hasn’t produced much,” Beniers’ linemate said. “Early in the year, it seemed like (goals only) came from (Jaden Schwartz), (Jared McCann) and (Oliver Bjorkstrand). We’ve really struggled.

“We win by committee, and it’s good to see some guys getting going a little bit.”

The Kraken caught an actual break when Justin Schultz attempted a slap shot and spun out, leading to a 3-on-1 in the other direction. Schultz’s defensive partner Brian Dumoulin managed to block the pass and break it up.

They didn’t hand the league’s second-best power play multiple chances. Before the game, the Kraken discussed having taken too many penalties recently. One or two are bound to happen in the course of a game, Dave Hakstol said.

“But we were giving out free ones. We didn’t do that tonight,” the coach said. “In fact I thought we could have had a clean slate throughout the game.”

Kailer Yamamoto canceled out a Kraken power play with a questionable tripping call of his own and created the 4-on-4 Beniers scored on. Tye Kartye gave the Canucks their lone, unsuccessful power play chance midway through the third period.

“We’ve seemed to put ourselves in tough situations,” Eberle said. “We talked about that and they did a good job.”