PHILADELPHIA — Fewer than five minutes into Saturday night’s resumption of their season, the Kraken had yielded a turnover and breakaway chance, taken an ill-advised penalty that same sequence and surrendered a power-play goal.
Though they’d eventually tie things late that opening period, a rusty-looking group gave up the go-ahead goal just 65 seconds afterward in a night they’d spend chasing their Philadelphia Flyers opponents. After the Kraken tied things yet again early the final period, Sean Couturier would held send them to a 3-2 loss by redirecting home a Travis Sanheim point blast for another go-ahead marker just five minutes later.
It was the Kraken’s seventh loss in nine games.
The Kraken were one of only seven remaining teams that had yet to play since the All-Star break, with a half-dozen of those squads back in action Saturday ahead of the San Jose Sharks ending a 15-day layoff next Wednesday. St. Louis and Nashville, each two points ahead of the Kraken in the wild-card hunt entering the day, finally ended their breaks with Saturday contests.
Jared McCann and Tomas Tatar scored the tying Kraken goals that were erased soon after. After McCann’s equalizer just 36 seconds into the final period, Couturier put the Flyers ahead soon after and a pair of Kraken penalties in rapid succession made it difficult for the visitors to sustain any offensive momentum from there.
They went 19 minutes from there without a single shot on net before McCann put another on goal with just 30 seconds to go in regulation.
Kraken goalie Joey Daccord also showed signs of rust early on, appearing to have trouble seeing the puck on shots and corralling it after initial saves. But he improved the latter half of the game, keeping his team in it by stopping 35 of 38 shots sent his way.
The Kraken knew heading in that they’d be challenged by a Flyers team with two games under its belt already this past week. It showed early on with Vince Dunn attempting a cross-ice pass in the offensive zone three minutes in that was intercepted by Garnet Hathaway for a clear cut breakaway the other way.
Hathaway attempted a backhanded deke move, but Daccord made the save. Then, as Hathaway looked for a rebound, Dunn, hustling back on the play, made the ill-advised decision to cross-check him from behind and was assessed a two-minute penalty.
Philadelphia capitalized on the man advantage as Scott Laughton one-timed a slapper from the right circle that beat Daccord short side.
The Kraken nonetheless hung in and got what appeared to be a huge tying goal in the final three minutes of the opening period. Matty Beniers, back on the team’s top line, did a good job entering the zone and working hard down low to keep the puck in before it came to Tomas Tatar in the shot.
Tatar got his shot off through traffic created by Beniers in front to tie the game with 2:51 to play in the period. The Flyers challenged unsuccessfully that the zone entry had been offside and were assessed a two-minute minor when — after a long consultation — that the goal was good.
Alas, a potentially game-swinging series of events nonetheless bit the Kraken just 65 seconds after the tying goal when a short-handed Ryan Poehling carried the puck deep into the Kraken end and snapped a shot between Daccord’s pads from the right circle. Daccord was clearly not happy with giving up the goal so late in the period in such fashion.
The Flyers took their one-goal lead into intermission, and it stood up from there in a scoreless second period. But McCann gave the Kraken new life just seconds into the final period, floating a high shot from close range that eluded goalie Cal Petersen from close range.
But that would be one of the only shots the Kraken managed all period.