The Minnesota Wild played the perfect road period in the first against the Seattle Kraken. It set the stage for a long 60 minutes for the home team’s offense. The Kraken’s winning streak narrowly came to an end at five games with a 1-0 loss.
The Wild were much more diligent and conscientious defensively than they were eight nights ago in the 4-0 loss to Seattle at home, they took the Climate Pledge Arena crowd out of the game early by limiting chances, and they cashed in on a break late in the first period to take a one-nothing lead.
The boards, not just the end boards, are very lively at the CPA, and the Wild goal was reminiscent of something not so pleasant. The Kraken’s last loss prior to their five-game winning streak came at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks who received the benefit of three friendly bounces that led to goals.
Minnesota defenseman Jon Merrill’s cross-ice pass from the left point in the offensive zone was so far off the mark that it missed his D-partner, caromed off the far boards, hopped over the stick of Wild forward Freddie Gaudreau, and ended up in the high slot on the stick of teammate Mats Zucarello. “Zook” took full advantage and a couple of steps to bury one past Kraken goalie Martin Jones high glove.
Not exactly how you draw ’em up.
The Wild’s only drawback was taking three minor penalties in the first period, the last one a high sticking call to D-man Matt Dumba as time expired.
Would it be a turning point as the second period began? Nope. The Minnesota penalty kill, coming in ranked 17th in the NHL at 78.6%, utterly shut down the Kraken power play on all four occasions.
The Seattle power play came in ranked 8th at 25.5%.
Kraken More of the Same
The pace and chances increased in the second period but the score stayed the same. The Kraken found more opportunities on Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, with nothing to show for it.
At the other end, the Seattle penalty kill continued to shine, killing off both minors in the period and all three in the game to make it 17 consecutive successes.
Shots were even after two periods, 15-15.
The third period was reminiscent of the first. The Kraken tried to open things up but couldn’t. The Wild marked their men all over the ice. They also blocked 22 shots on the evening.
Fleury ended up with his 72nd career shut-out, the most of any active NHL goalie, and he became the first NHL netminder in history to shut out 28 different teams.
The Kraken will try to start a new winning streak at home on Sunday against the surprisingly good 8-3-and-1 Winnipeg Jets.