The Kraken’s top affiliate did what the Kraken fell just short of doing, they advanced to their western conference final. Andrew Poturalski scored for Coachella Valley at the 7-minute mark of overtime to give the Firebirds a 6-5 win in the deciding 5th game of the American Hockey League Pacific Division final.
The Calgary Wranglers, the AHL affiliate of the NHL Flames, got bounced after finishing the regular season as the circuit’s top team with 106 points. The Firebirds finished the regular season 2nd best overall, just three points behind.
The dramatic victory sends the Firebirds to the best-of-7 Western Conference final in their first year of existence. They’ll take on the winner of the best-of-5 Central Division final between the Texas Stars and the Milwaukee Admirals. The deciding game of that series is Sunday.
The Kraken’s Talented Affiliate
The Kraken’s top affiliate had an opportunity to power up over the last few days. Poturalski, the team’s leading scorer when he suffered an injury and missed 34 games, returned a couple of games ago to give the club a boost. That, along with the arrival of Tye Kartye, fresh off ten Stanley Cup playoff games with the Kraken, and Jesper Froden, a playoff reserve for Seattle, didn’t hurt.
Froden tallied the primary assist on Poturalski’s OT game winner, added another assist, and opened the scoring with a goal at the 13:28 mark of the 1st period. Kartye had an assist in the game.
Partly because they’ve played more games than the rest of the AHL playoff clubs, having gone the full distance in their first three rounds, three games, five games, and five again, the Firebirds dominate the top of the Calder Cup playoff scoring statistics.
The theme of balanced depth scoring for the NHL Kraken continues with the AHL Firebirds at a somewhat elite level.
Former Vancouver Canucks 1st-round draft pick Kole Lind, acquired by the Kraken in the expansion draft in 2021, leads the Calder Cup playoffs with 17 points. Team captain Max McCormick is next with 15, followed by defenseman Ryker Evans and winger Cameron Hughes with 13. Winger Jeremy McKenna rounds out the top-5 with 11 points, tied with three other AHL’ers.
— The Texas Stars finished atop the Central Division in the regular season with 92 points, three ahead of the second place Admirals.
— The Kraken’s 1st-round, 4th-overall NHL Draft pick in 2022, Shane Wright, didn’t dress for game-4 or for game-5.