Seattle, WA – A battle between two teams that have impressed this season, and both named after cryptids, it was the Seattle Kraken that emerged victorious once the ice had settled. Seattle opened the game with an energized effort, as Ryan Donato led the way with two goals in the first two frames. New Jersey lurked around though, as goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made numerous remarkable saves to keep the Devils within striking distance. A shorthanded goal and score with their own net empty meant that the Kraken had demons to exercise in overtime. Andre Burakovsky broke out of his slump, slamming home the game winner.
Tonight’s driving force out of the gate was winger Ryan Donato, who flirted with a hat trick as he scored two goals in the first two periods. The Massachusetts born man was on a mission against New Jersey, firing off a career high seven shots on the night. The veteran wings goals were stellar, first a laser beam from the faceoff circle and then a missile on a two on one from the faceoff circle. Donato’s excellent night was yet another example of Seattle’s depth, a key component to their success this season. Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol discussed his team’s depth, postgame.
“Donny, those two goals… that’s the story of our year, right? The story of our team, somebody stepping up and scoring goals at the right time. We had a ton of good opportunities at that point in time, both in tight and some different looks. That first goal was a big one in the hockey game in order to break through, it was a hell of a shot,” Hakstol stated.
A common theme for this years Kraken squad has been that they are overall solid defensively, but their key mistakes here and there allow their opponents back into games. Tonight, Seattle’s mistake was not being careful with the puck in the neutral zone. New Jersey’s first goal came as Yanni Gourde failed to get a pass up ice, and Devils defensemen Damon Severson took advantage of tired legs, beating Martin Jones top shelf. The second Devils goal was shorthanded, as Andre Burakovsky tried to get a pass back to Vince Dunn, but Dunn never collected the puck. New Jersey’s Erik Haula took it the other way for an easy breakaway, beating Martin Jones at point blank range. Despite making those mistakes, the Kraken were able to remain resilient and battle back. Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol discussed his team’s character, postgame.
“That’s credit to these guys, the next group up has to go out and push back. To realize the moment of the game, and to be able to push back. We did that, when we gave up the shorthanded goal. In overtime, we had a little bit of patience. We got a good opportunity,” Hakstol remarked.
Seattle will get a day off prior to a Saturday, January 21st meeting with the Colorado Avalanche. The Kraken will host the Avalanche for the first time this season, having previously beaten the team in Colorado when the teams met back in October. Puck drop for this contest is at 7PM PST, as the defending Stanley Cup champions continue their pursuit to regain last season’s form, while Seattle looks to take sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division.