Rivalry on? Fists fly as Kraken dominate in 1st win over Canucks

Jan 25, 2023, 9:38 PM | Updated: 10:54 pm

The first six times the Seattle Kraken met the Vancouver Canucks after joining the NHL, they fell short. And after the last of those saw the Kraken blow a two-goal lead in the third period and eventually lose 6-5 in a shootout, it was looking like Seattle was snakebit when it came to playing their neighbors from the north.

The Kraken didn’t look snakebit in the seventh meeting Wednesday night at Climate Pledge Arena, though. They looked angry, determined and dominant as they buried Vancouver 6-1 (box score). And the win may have finally sparked a rivalry between the two teams separated by less than 150 miles.

“That’s a great win for our club. We definitely owed them over the past two years,” defenseman Vince Dunn said after the game, per the Associated Press.

With Seattle already leading 2-0 in the second period, Vancouver’s Tyler Myers traveled some distance to level rookie Kraken All-Star Matty Beniers. The hit knocked Beniers out from the game and earned Myers a trip to the penalty box for interference, but Seattle had an answer. Make that two.

First, Jared McCann scored just 22 seconds into the power play for Myers’ hit.

Second, Jamie Oleksiak threw hands with Vancouver’s Luke Schenn immediately after the ensuing faceoff, coming out the clear winner.

That wasn’t the last time tempers flared on the night. Seattle’s Brandon Tanev was in the middle of a skirmish on the boards in front of Seattle’s bench in the third period, which resulted in roughing penalties for both Tanev and the Canucks’ Conor Garland.

While those showings of physicality may be proof of bad blood brewing between Seattle and Vancouver, especially after Beniers sat out the entire third period (despite having returned to play some in the second following Myers’ hit), the real story was another big night for the Kraken’s offense.

Oliver Bjorkstrand delivered a pair of goals for his first multi-goal night of the season, including the icebreaker 7:57 into the game with a pretty back-foot rebound shot that he sent while falling backwards.

As sweet as that looked, the niftiest goal of the night belonged to Ryan Donato, who sent an unreal backhand shot past Canucks goalie Spencer Martin for Seattle’s sixth tally 2:36 into the final period.

Also scoring for Seattle were Eeli Tolvanen and Alex Wennberg. McCann had three points on the night, while Jordan Eberle, Yanni Gourde, Adam Larsson and Dunn each had two assists.

Martin Jones stopped 19 of 20 shots to get the win for the Kraken in goal.

The win was big for the Kraken in the standings. With Vegas and Los Angeles off for the night, Seattle’s two points puts it above the Kings (60 points) and in a tie with the Golden Knights for first in the Pacific Division at 61.

Wednesday also marked a couple of milestones as Seattle’s 28th victory and 61st point in its 47th game of the season, which surpasses the Kraken’s totals in win and points from their expansion season. In 2021-22, Seattle finished with just 27 victories and 60 points.

The Canucks, meanwhile, are reeling. They’re just days removed from firing head coach Bruce Boudreau, who they replaced with Rick Tocchet, and have won only three of their last 14 games. In the standings, Vancouver (41 points) is sixth in the eight-team Pacific.

The Kraken play next on Friday when the Calgary Flames (55 points, fifth in Pacific) come to Climate Pledge Arena.

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