Kraken beat Blackhawks 7-3 for 4th straight victory
SEATTLE - Jordan Eberle, Jared McCann and Daniel Sprong each had a goal and an assist and the Seattle Kraken beat the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3 on Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.
The second-year Kraken, who clinched their first Stanley Cup playoff spot Thursday, also got goals from Eeli Tolvanen, Yanni Gourde, Adam Larsson and Morgan Geekie. Jamie Oleksiak had three assists.
Martin Jones made 15 saves two periods, then was replaced by Philipp Grubauer at the start of the third. Grubauer had 11 saves.
Seth Jones scored twice for Chicago, which lost for the 10th time in the 11 games and is tied with Columbus for the fewest points in the NHL with 56. Lukas Reichel also scored and Petr Mrazek made 24 saves.
Tolvanen put Seattle on the board just 4:48 into the game, firing it in from the middle of the left circle for his 18th. The Blackhawks tied it just 57 seconds later when Jones scored from low in the slot.
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Eberle, with his 20th, and Gourde, with his 13th gave the Kraken a 3-1 lead by the end of the first. Eberle’s goal made him the fifth Kraken player this season with at least 20.
"That’s been our situation all year, and our strength all year," he said. "Every line, we’re getting contributions from different guys, different lines different defense pairings, whatever it may be. That’s obviously a big skill to have going into the playoffs."
With a postseason berth already secured, Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said some of what he termed "sloppy" play was bound to happen Saturday.
"Some of that is inherent, coming off a big win the other night," he said. "You can talk yourself out of that as much as you want, but really, some of that leaked into our game tonight. It cost us some zone time. It looked sloppy, it felt sloppy at times, even though we didn’t give up a ton of chances. The guys know it, and we’ve got to make sure we clean that back up."
The Blackhawks were still down just 5-3 and kept the pressure on through a good portion of the third period before McCann, with his 39th goal, and Geekie with his ninth, scored just three minutes apart to put the game out of reach.
"I thought the first 12 minutes of the third period, we were the better team," coach Luke Richardson said. "We were really putting pressure on them. Then about a minute before they scored their sixth goal, we started turning pucks over and started going sideways on our game plan. They’re too quick a team to turn pucks backward. That’s what happened on the last two goals."
NOTES: Jujhar Khaira appeared to score for the Blackhawks with 3:14 left in the second period. but Seattle challenged it immediately for offside and the goal was waved off. … With 98 points, Seattle is just two behind the third-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. L.A. has two games left; the Kraken have three. … Seattle killed off two of its three short-handed situations on Saturday, and now has killed off 61 of 69 since Feb. 14.
Blackhawks: Host Wild on Monday night.
Kraken: Visit Coyotes on Monday night.