In a game that marked the end of the preseason for both clubs, the old cliché about special teams and goaltending being the key to hockey popped up on Friday night as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Seattle Kraken 3-1 at Rogers Place.
Edmonton goalie Jack Campbell made 35 saves in earning 1st star honors.
As netminders have to be, he was one of the Oilers key figures on the penalty kill. The Kraken went 0-for-4 on the power play while Edmonton went 1-for-3. That aligns with season-long tendencies from 2022-’23.
Evander Kane put the game out of reach for the home team, scoring just four seconds after the Kraken’s final power play ended at the 2:04 mark of the 3rd period. Connor McDavid also scored for the Oilers, that seems to be a given in these match-ups, as did Zach Hyman.
The Edmonton goals came unanswered, one in each period, after Jared McCann opened the scoring for Seattle at the 12:57 mark of the 1st period. He snapped a shot past Campbell from the left wing circle.
McDavid tied things up 3:12 later, converting a 2-on-1 with D-man Evan Bouchard after Seattle blueliner Adam Larsson turned the puck over in front of his bench during a sloppy Kraken line change. Seattle prospect Ryker Evans then found himself in no-mans land trying to defend.
Hyman’s 2nd period goal was the power play marker.
It’s a two-game preseason sweep for Edmonton over Seattle, the Oilers also having beaten the Kraken on Monday night 4-1 at Climate Pledge Arena. Seattle wrapped up its exhibition schedule with a record of 3-2-and-1.
Now the question becomes, who ends up where?
Evans may have had a couple of tough moments during the last couple of games, but nothing speaks louder than the fact he clearly led the club in ice time Friday night with 21:13.
Minute munching says a mouthful. He led the Kraken D-men in ice time on Monday night as well. In Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Vancouver in Abbotsford, BC, ice time wasn’t logged.
After a tough first period Friday night, Evans appeared to improve.
“It’s always nice to see when the game doesn’t go well how a young guy’s gonna react,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said postgame. “He reacted well, he pushed back, and played with confidence in the second and third.”
Evans’s immediate fate may be determined by fellow-lefty Vince Dunn’s health. A top-pair defenseman and 2nd leading scorer for the Kraken last season, Dunn didn’t play in a game this week and saw limited skating. More from practice on Saturday.
Shane Wright didn’t play Friday. As it stands, we’d expect him to be headed to Coachella Valley for a season of serious ice time.
Tye Kartye, who played 13:14 with four hits and two shots against the Oilers, would be the young player most likely to stick in Seattle.
Team number-one Philipp Grubauer played the full game against the Oilers. The Kraken have apparently made their decision as to the back-up role. Joey Daccord filled that role, sitting on the bench Friday night.