A 3-2 game wasn’t going to tell the story.
It had one more unwritten chapter in the third period, with more twists and turns than a thick novel.
The Seattle Kraken though were unable to author a winning end, fighting back twice to tie the game in the third period but falling 6-4 to the Calgary Flames before a sellout crowd on Thursday at Climate Pledge Arena, their final home game of the 2021 calendar year.
Mark Giordano, facing his former team for the first time, littered the Flames all night with a goal and two assists, also opening up the scoring with a first period blast from the top of the left circle.
But the night would end with the teams trading a four-goal blitz in a span of 3:49, and three goals that saw the Kraken twice fall behind in a span of 43 seconds. Like Wednesday against Philadelphia, the next shift after a goal haunted the Kraken, surrendering a 4-4 tie to a 5-4 deficit on Matthew Tkachuk’s 13thgoal of the season.
“Our guys fought extremely hard tonight,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “Playing in back to back, there’s no excuses and no consolation prizes they were looking for. But call it for what it is – our guys battled extremely hard, continued to fight back, dug out of holes and came back and tied the game.”
“But on the game winning goal, we failed to make a play to get out of the zone and we didn’t get a save on it.”
“Frustrating way to lose a game,” said Giordano. “Your mentality after you score a big goal is you’ve got to find a way to get the puck into the other team’s zone and grind it out. It’s got to be, ‘all out defense’ mentality. The shift right after a big goal, we let them get to the inside and they made us pay.”
Giordano’s spirited effort got the Kraken an early lead which was answered by Johnny Gaudreau’s first of two goals for the Flames, who also tied the game on a second period power play goal after Calle Jarnkrok’s rebound nine seconds after puck drop put the Kraken up 2-1.
Jarnkrok’s goal became a new standard for fastest goal to begin a period in Kraken history.
But Calgary moved ahead with back-to-back goals from Gaudreau’s power play marker and a left circle blast by Milan Lucic with 5:04 left in the second period.
“We were really resilient,” said Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. “Our special teams were really good; it was something we talked about for the last two games.”
Yanni Gourde, playing together with Jarnkrok and Colin Blackwell for the second straight game, ignited a 3-3 tie with a dazzling backdoor finish at 4:59 of the third period, but Andrew Mangianpane’s power play rebound put Calgary up 4-3 with 3:09 left.
Not to be outdone, Jared McCann got a piece of Giordano’s point shot at 17:21 for a 4-4 tie, but Tkachuk’s 13thgoal of the season was followed up by Noah Hanifin’s empty netter with 20 seconds left.
The Kraken, playing without Jaden Schwartz (day-to-day), got 34 saves out of goaltender Chris Driedger. They next face the Vancouver Canucks, 7-0-1 in their last eight games since hiring new head coach Bruce Boudreau, on New Year’s Day in Seattle.