Seattle, WA – With a Vincent Trocheck goal deep into the final frame, the New York Rangers were on the verge of handing the Seattle Kraken a second consecutive loss due to a blown lead. Thanks to practicing their three on three the past few days, the Kraken were better equipped than their past game, a loss to Winnipeg after a blown lead in regulation. That practice paid off, as the Kraken were patient and smart with the puck, eventually finding a rebound to punch home past Vezina-winning Igor Shesterkin to secure their first overtime win at home in franchise history. The win displays Seattle’s resiliency and ability to adjust, characteristics that will serve them well all season long.
For most of this contest, both goaltenders were on full display. Vezina-trophy winner Igor Shesterkin of the Rangers made incredible saves time and time again as if that was the standard for him, rejecting multiple Kraken attempts that may normally go in. In the other net, Seattle’s Martin Jones continued his rock-solid form, practically matching Shesterkin save for save. A highlight of Jones was on a breakaway, as Kaapo Kakko took a turnover to point blank range, and it took the toe of Jones’ skate to block the puck and a potential Rangers lead. Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol reflected on the goaltenders in the game.
“Both goaltenders were good. The second period, we had an excellent twenty minutes, generated a lot of opportunities, but that’s what Igor does. He’s a great goaltender, he’s that for a reason, but ya know what? Our guy was pretty damn good tonight as well, and really timely,” Hakstol stated.
The star of the night was an unlikely one, as defensemen Justin Schultz came up big throughout the course of the game and scored the game winner in overtime. A veteran free agent signing that has had an inconsistent start to the season, Schultz helped provide unlikely offense against one of the best goalies in the NHL. His first goal of the night came halfway through the third period, as a shot from nearly center ice deflected off of a Rangers skater and just past Shesterkin to give Seattle the lead. His second of the night and the goal that gave the Kraken a win came on a deflected shot by Jordan Eberle that whizzed right to Schultz, who had to simply whack it past Shesterkin to win. Schultz reflected on the win, postgame.
“Shesterkin made some big saves on us, he’s one of the best in the league. We find a way to get a few by him tonight. I wasn’t trying to score on the first one, just trying to get it to the net. I think we got a tip on it, great to see it go in… on the winner, Ebs did a great job driving them wide, and I hoped they would call it to me. Then, I just found a way to get in there,” Schultz reflected.
While numerically this wasn’t a huge, dominating win by Seattle, and the team had to avoid blowing the lead for a second straight game, this is a measuring-stick type win for the Kraken. The Rangers are a talented team from top to bottom, with arguably the best netminder in the world between the pipes. New York, having reached the Eastern Conference Final last season, may still be searching for their form this season, but this sort of win may get the Seattle ship back on course following a few tight losses. The ability to adjust is necessary for this team to grow, and that was shown with the play in overtime.
Next up, the Kraken will near the end of their six game homestand as they welcome the Los Angeles Kings to down for a Saturday, November 19th matchup. The fifth game of six in this stretch at home, Seattle will play host to the team that sits right above them in the Pacific Division standings. A win following their 7PM PST puck drop on Saturday would push the Kraken back into second place in the division.