How about a little déjà vu?
The Seattle Kraken (10-5-3, 23 points) did it again, carrying a tight and tense game in overtime for the eventual heroic winner, this time delivered off the stick of Jordan Eberle in a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings before a sellout crowd of 17,151 at Climate Pledge Arena on Saturday.
“Every divisional game is so big, so that extra point is important,” said head coach Dave Hakstol.
“Hard fought, right down to the wire, big extra point for us.”
The Kraken, 7-1-1 now in the last nine games, were knocked back on their heels mathematically and psychologically after a Sunday loss to Winnipeg in overtime. They had a win 3.9 seconds away, then squandered it on a six-on-four goal followed by a Mark Scheifele winner. The next two practice days were tell-tale. The Kraken vehemently went to work improving their three-on-three skill.
The end result: back-to-back overtime wins against the Rangers and Kings.
“Last two, we put a lot of work and emphasis into (overtime),” said Eberle. “When you go into those games those are huge points, you never know when you need that extra point to get in.”
He came down the left wing and buried a snap shot off the rush against Cal Petersen, while helping set up Justin Schultz’s overtime winner on Thursday. Hakstol said the formula was a pretty simple one, though delivered tongue in cheek.
“All we had to figure out was 7 and 13 on the ice, that’s the formula,” said Hakstol.
Jared McCann opened the scoring with his seventh goal of the season at 4:42 of the first period. Phillip Danault tied the game on an impressive mid-air smack of a rebound to Martin Jones’ glove side, while Trevor Moore delivered a shorthanded breakaway goal for 2-1 Kings lead, just 35 seconds into the third.
The lead was short-lived and lasted a whopping 18 seconds. Daniel Sprong tied the game, next shift on a missile from the left circle.
Eberle then delivered the winner to put the Kraken 4-1-2 in games when tied after two periods. They’re playing in tight games and are confidently delivering in tight games.
“This is blueprint, we’re going to be in a lot of these,” said Hakstol.
1. Martin Jones. The end: These days, you can’t spell a Kraken win without the letters “J-O-N-E-S.” What else can you say? Another solid effort from Jones delivered 27 saves, on a night where he was handed the starting reins in the first eligible outing for Philipp Grubauer off injured reserve, who instead filled the backup role. Jones hasn’t been dictated to make the routine flop or highlight reel save every game, but he did this time in period three, turning away former Spokane Chief Jaret Anderson-Dolan at the right circle. Otherwise, it was another calm, cool, and technically-sound effort. Never mind the recent October run that’s impressive. He’s been so good, that his save percentage overall now is fourth league at .913. Jones is 21-7-3 lifetime against the Kings, his former team.
2. Overtime, over and done with: For the second straight game, maybe it was productive to get another sweat with a close game, a measuring stick of playoff contenders. The Kraken were selective with their shots, though as Dave Hakstol pointed out, they weren’t blistering Petersen from every angle in the overtime period. They only put one shot on net. But it was the right one. Jordan Eberle waited out an up-ice rush and buried his eighth goal of the season over Petersen’s shoulder. Since they started this season 0-3 in overtime and 1-8 in franchise history, the Kraken have won two straight games in overtime. Alluding to the above, practice makes perfect.
3. Perfect response: Ah, last year’s Achilles heel – the response goal (scored within a minute after the Kraken score one, or an opponent scores one). It was an issue again that crept up in the Kraken game as late an October loss at Chicago. It’s been virtually non-existent ever since. The Kraken refused to sag emotionally and mentally after Trevor Moore’s potentially backbreaking shorthanded goal, only 35 seconds after puck drop into the final period. The Kraken wound back up immediately 18 seconds later still on the power play and found Daniel Sprong and his blistering shot at the left circle. Tie game, order restored, and a foundation built to win it in overtime.
Honorable mention: Oliver Bjorkstrand, credited with an assist on Sprong’s game-tying goal (eventually changed to Matty Beniers), delivered six blocked shots and was third star of the game.
KRAKEN LINEUP, 11/19:
The Kraken will end the homestand on Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks, 7pm (93.3. KJR / Kraken Audio Network) at Climate Pledge Arena.