Seattle, WA – To close out a five-game homestand and send themselves into the All-Star break positively, the Seattle Kraken were able to dictate play nearly all night long against the Columbus Blue Jackets. While it wasn’t a blowout effort like we have seen this Kraken team be capable of, Seattle hardly ever looked like they were challenged and had their way in the offensive zone. A turnover in the neutral zone gave Columbus their only goal, but otherwise Seattle controlled this contest all the way through.
Kraken forward Alexander Wennberg, playing in the 600th NHL game of his career, has been a key part to this homestand for Seattle. Impacting the game on both ends of the ice, Wennberg has had his name all over the stat sheet in every single game of the homestand. Although his scoring production isn’t the biggest part of his game, Wennberg was able to make his 600th career game just a bit sweeter as he scored the second Kraken goal of the night. Seattle had kept Columbus hemmed into their own zone, cycled the puck around, and it was Jordan Eberle passing to a wide-open Wennberg in the crease for the score. Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol discussed Wennberg’s goal in the postgame press conference.
“We found a play inside, we had some really good looks inside tonight and that one, we finished off the play. It was an important goal in the
hockey game, nice to see Wenny get a little momentum offensively,” Hakstol said.
Seattle’s story of getting contributions from all over their four forward lines continued in tonight’s matchup, as two unheralded skaters helped start the night offensively for the Kraken, as well as solidify the result. Morgan Geekie, a player that’s seen his playing time fluctuate throughout the season, lit the lamp first for Seattle as his wrist shot in stride was able to beat Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins. Eeli Tolvanen, a player claimed off of waivers just a few short weeks ago, took advantage of a turnover and was able to use his nasty release on a wrist shot in the slot to beat Merzlikins. Teammate Alex Wennberg discussed Tolvanen’s impact on the team.
“He’s had a hell of an impact. That line has really been playing well, he’s also been scoring big goals. I feel like the goal today was a game changer. We got a little bit of breathing room right there, and he’s just that kind of player. If you give him one chance, he has that shot. He’s been really good for this team and we really like having him,” Wennberg said.
The Kraken will now head into the All-Star break, not playing a game until February 7th on the road. Kraken forward Matty Beniers was selected to the All-Star festivities, but it’s unclear whether he will participate or not due to the head injury he suffered against Vancouver. Seattle’s next contest is on February 7th against the New York Islanders with a puck drop of 4:30PM PST, as the Kraken kick off a five-game road trip.