Friday, February 3, 2023

Kraken deal blows Stars’ playoff push with 4-1 win

SEATTLE ( Associated Press) — In the final month of their first NHL season, the Seattle Krakens will face plenty of chances against teams fighting for positioning or playoff spots.

Kraken is looking forward to seeing more performances of what it got on Sunday night.

Jared McCann scored a short-handed goal in the first period, Ryan Donato converted a breakaway at the start of the third period, and the Kraken defeated the Dallas Stars 4–1.

Seattle didn’t give the Stars a chance to leapfrog to the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

“I have been impressed by the work ethic of our team, how many changes together we have been able to play through and have some individuals who have gone ahead and proved themselves and are doing good things night and night. ,” said Seattle coach Dave Huxtall. “So we want to keep it going. It’s a busy month. We have a long month ahead of us. But let’s try to have some fun.”

McCann’s opening goal was his 25th goal of the season, and Donato added a graceful finish five minutes into the third period to give the Kraken a cushion. It was Donato’s 14th of the season, which tied his career high.

Yani Gourde added a scoring goal with 2:13 and Carson Kuhlman scored a blank-neter in the final minute as Seattle broke a two-game losing streak. Chris Driger was brilliant in the net and finished his first shutout of the season with nearly 29 saves – which included several huge stops in the third period.

“I think there was a more capable hockey team. Things have been going a little bit more our way lately,” Drizzer said. “We are just playing better hockey and competing, no matter what the score. I really liked our effort tonight.”

John Klingberg scored with 5:35 remaining on the shot through traffic to pull the stars to within 2-1. It was Klingberg’s fifth goal of the season. Jake Oettinger had 25 saves in his last five games, losing for the second time as Dallas missed the opportunity to overtake Vegas and Nashville.

While Seattle is nowhere near the playoffs, the expansion squad will have an impact on how the playoff picture plays out in the final few weeks of the regular season. Seattle has nine games left against teams that are currently in the top three in their division or are fighting for a wild-card spot.

Vegas picked up four significant points earlier this week with a two-game win over Kraken. Stars couldn’t capitalize in the same way.

Dallas had won five on a straight road and were looking to sweep a four-game road trip to win a pair and beat San Jose in Anaheim on Saturday night. But the Stars looked like a team that was playing back-to-back challenging games and struggling to create decent scoring chances against the fresher Kraken.

“It stings a bit because you come in 3-0. You fully expect to go out 4-0,” said Dallas’ Joe Pavelsky. “Six points out of eight, the whole season you’re thinking this is a pretty good trip. But in this situation you’d want to be a little greedy or a little selfish and he wanted a fourth.”

McCann gave Seattle an early advantage with the season’s eighth short-handed goal for Kraken on a penalty kill. McCann and Alex Weinberg caught Dallas in a late change in the Stars’ power play and scored on the odd-man rush.

The Kraken also had two breakaway chances saved by Oettinger, while Dallas was on the power play in the second period. Oettinger was also helped by the crossbar in the first second when Gourde’s shot went off the goalkeeper and the crossbar.

Donato’s breakout came from a perfect stretch pass from Carson Sausi, who also assisted McCann’s goal. The goal came after an excellent two-save sequence by Drizzer to negate Miro Hiskanen in the second attempt.

Notes: Stars de Asa Lindell missed his fourth straight game due to an upper body injury. … Dallas beat Seattle 5-2 in the first match of the season. Pavelsky had five points in that win. … Seattle’s only shutout occurred on February 2 when Philipp Grubauer blocked 19 shots in a 3–0 victory over the New York Islanders. Drigger’s last shutout was on May 10, 2021, when he blocked 30 shots in a win over Tampa Bay while playing for Florida.


The Stars: Host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

Kraken: Wednesday night in St. Louis.


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