Laine scores in OT, Blue Jackets down Kraken

Warm-ups Saturday night at Nationwide Arena between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Seattle Kraken

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Seattle Kraken entered Saturday night’s contest at Nationwide Arena against the Blue Jackets with a 1-1 record. The Kraken opened their season with a 4-3 loss in Vegas to the Golden Knights. But two nights later, they clinched their first victory in franchise history at Nashville slipping by the Predators 4-3. The Blue Jackets meanwhile entered Saturday night’s game with a resounding 8-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

For the Blue Jackets, in net, they started Elvis Merzlikins while Seattle countered with Philip Grubauer. Grubauer entered the contest with a 1-1 record, 3.44 GAA and .883 save percentage with Merzlikins bringing a 1-0 record, 2.00 GAA and .947 save percentage into the matchup.

Opposing fans are expected at whatever game you might attend, but for Kraken fans, this game is special being their inaugural season in the NHL. Just like in Vegas and Nashville, Kraken fans showed out in Columbus for their brand new NHL team. It was sure to be an intense matchup with both teams coming off victories and for the Blue Jackets, their fans were particularly pumped after drubbing Arizona. Not only that, the Blue Jackets held a pregame ceremony before their first game for the late Matiss Kivlenieks. Kivlenieks was a goalie for the Blue Jackets the last couple seasons and passed away in a fireworks accident last summer.

The first period was filled with a flurry of shots with both teams having great chances to score, but neither team was able to break through. Shots on goal ended with the Blue Jackets leading 6-5 and 11-9 in hits.

Second Period

Just 17 seconds into the first, Columbus’ Cole Sillinger went off to the penalty box for two minutes for cross checking, giving Seattle their first power play of the game. But the Kraken were unable to capitalize on it.

With 5:28 to go in the second, the Kraken took the lead with a goal by Brandon Tanev, his third of the season with an assist from Ryan Donato.

The second period ended with Seattle leading 1-0 on the scoreboard after a total of 13 shots to Columbus’ 15 shots. In the hits category, Seattle led 23-18 after the second.

Third Period and Overtime

With 9:50 left to go in the third, the Blue Jackets struck when Eric Robinson netted it to tie the game at one. Assists came from Gregory Hoffman and Scott Harrington. The defense on both sides was stellar and made for a pretty even matchup. After Robinson’s goal, neither side could strike to end it in regulation, so to overtime we went. With 2:44 left in overtime, Patrick Laine scored for the Blue Jackets to end it and claim their second victory in a row and improve to 2-0. Assists came from Zach Werenski and Max Domi.

Next up for Seattle, they travel to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers Monday at 7pm est/4pm est.

The announced attendance at Nationwide Arena was 17,593.

Brandon Tanev

Brandon Tanev picked up two goals in Seattle’s game against Nashville and continued his scoring with a goal against Columbus. Despite the team picking up a point, he wasn’t satisfied and touched on importance of points early on in the season.

“Obviously it’s not the result we wanted, you’re coming into a tough building to play a good team and these are important points early on in the season,” Tanev said. “You take some good away from that game, there’s some stuff we didn’t like, but at the end of the day we want to come out here and get as many points as we can and ultimately this is a learning experience for our group.”

He touched on the team needing to continue to play their game, stay confident, trust in one another and communicate with each other. With it being early on in the season, he said these are big learning points for their group.

“We had some good line changes, we had some good plays, I think we managed the game well, we fed off our leadership group, the coaching staff did a great job for us,” Tanev said. “As a group, we’ll continue to push, and continue to get better and push for the next two points here.”

Ryan Donato

When it came to the third period and giving up the lead, and eventually the game to Columbus, Ryan Donato, touched on what it’ll take for the team to really get going and improve.

“We just gotta find an identity for the third period and I think that comes with time, we have a lot of guys with experience, so we just know we can’t sit on our heels and gotta keep up the pressure,” Donato said.

Despite the loss, Donato said they’re a team that really wants to win and when it comes to those moments with the lead, they just need to grip the sticks a little bit tighter rather than just sitting back. He said they have a great group of guys in the locker room and they’ll just watch the game and learn from it.

Dave Hakstol

Head coach Dave Hakstol pretty much summed up the game touching on their lead, and losing it in the third, but still coming away with a point. He said it was a good road point, but that you’re always disappointed when you have the opportunity going into the third period with a lead and something like that happens. He said you want to push and extend that lead and close out the game, that they didn’t do that and that there are reasons for that.

When it came to the chances they gave up to the Blue Jackets, Hakstol touched on giving up too many chances on the rush. Hakstol said they didn’t track and hold their gaps well enough against some of their pace with those being the chances that were the most dangerous, especially in second half of the game. When it came to overtime, Hakstol simply said they got tired on that odd man rush and everything that goes on in overtime.

“There’s so many different things going on in overtime, whether or not it’s an opportunity then transition the other way, that’s a big part of it, but we got tired on that one,” Hakstol said. “We tried to get a guy off the ice and that turned into the outnumbered rush against.”

When it comes to the one goal games they’ve had to start the season, he said every night is close and competitive. Those are the kinds of games where they’ll be comfortable playing in and that they’ll be involved in a lot of them Hakstol noted.