It’ll be a very long, unpleasant flight home to Seattle for the Kraken after losing to the Canadiens 4-to-2 and falling four games below .500. They now face a long home stand, often a luxury for NHL clubs, but not for a Seattle team that seems to struggle at Climate Pledge Arena.
The Kraken will need a quick turnaround to keep playoff hopes alive.
Between generating a couple of quick shots in the first minute and some brief pressure in the offensive zone six-and-a-half minutes into the period, the Kraken were a gong show back in their own end, with blatant turnovers by D-men Brian Dumoulin, Jamie Oleksiak and Will Borgen.
The middle one led directly to a Montreal goal. Canadiens forward Josh Anderson picked up the turnover and fed the puck to Sean Monahan alone in front. He potted it into the empty net behind Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer at 4:03. The veteran center had his first goal in 14 games and the Habs had just their 14th first period goal of the season.
Seattle would generate four Grade-A chances in the period, all of them stopped by Habs netminder Samuel Montembeault. Meanwhile, more Kraken turnovers. an awful one by Matty Beniers, forced Grubauer to keep his team in the game with big saves.
Both goalies were the top stars of the first period. 1-0 Habs
All Canadiens, all the time, for the first half of the period.
Veteran forward Tanner Pearson scored his first goal in 20 games when he got position on Seattle D-man Brian Dumoulin in front of Grubauer and banged home a rebound at 3:12.
Not long after that, Adam Larsson went to the penalty box for tripping Montreal forward Juraj Slafkovsky near the Seattle net. The Habs would make him pay.
From the slot, Monahan ripped home his second goal of the night at 6:58. It was the Habs first ever power play goal against the Kraken, now 1-for-15 all time head-to-head. It was also the first PP goal for Montreal in eight games, breaking a 1-for-28 drought.
About 11 minutes into the period the Kraken seemed to undergo some type of exorcism. They forced Habs forward Brendan Gallagher, playing in his 700th game as a Canadien, and his linemates into a three minute shift, wrapped around an icing call. Fatigue set in for Montreal and Seattle took advantage off the tenacious forecheck.
Jared McCann fired in his team leading 12th goal of the season from the slot through traffic. The Canadiens lead was cut to 3-1.
Seattle carried some momentum into the third period. An early hooking call against Habs D-man Mike Matheson led to a Kraken power play goal, with Vince Dunn fitting a shot inside the far post with a slapper from the point.
That would be it.
Anderson scored his first goal of the season, an empty-netter at 19:28 to wrap it up.
Three Canadiens ended scoring droughts, the team snapped a five-game home losing streak, and they scored for the first time ever against Seattle on the man advantage, all while sending the Kraken home on a miserable flight following a 0-3-and-1 road trip.
Shots on goal ended up in favor of the Kraken 33-30: Power plays: Seattle 1-for-2, Montreal 1-for-1.
Kraken 3 Stars:
1) Vince Dunn – Goal, assist, five shots-on-goal and a team leading 25:06 of ice time.
2) Adam Larsson – The top pair was the only Kraken D to have their game together. 7 shots on goal and an assist.
3) Philipp Grubauer – Can’t fault the goaltender in this one. 27 saves. Made some biggies early.
— Kraken Dominate But Can’t Finish, Lose 2-0 To Senators