Seattle Kraken top Sharks, win back-to-back games for first time since November

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For the first time since November, the Seattle Kraken have won back-to-back games.

After beating Chicago in a shootout on Monday, the Kraken defeated San Jose, 3-2, at Climate Pledge Arena on Thursday. The last time Seattle earned two straight victories was Nov. 27 and Nov. 29 against Florida and Buffalo, respectively.

Thursday’s game didn’t start well for Seattle, and head coach Dave Hakstol was openly critical of his team’s first-period performance. It took just 38 seconds for the Kraken to fall behind as Tomas Hertl scored off a turnover to put the Sharks up 1-0.

“I think we just looked at ourselves and said that’s unacceptable,” said defenseman Carson Soucy, who finished with two goals. “There wasn’t much said in the locker room after a period like that, but I think the right things were said and like I said, it’s unacceptable for our group.”

Whatever was said during the first intermission clearly worked as Seattle responded with a strong second period. Soucy tied the game at the 4:18 mark. Then, shortly after a Ryan Donato goal was waived off due to an offside violation, Soucy scored again to give the Kraken a 2-1 lead.

At the 6:27 mark of the third, a goal from Calle Jarnkrok put Seattle up 3-1. Three minutes later, Timo Meier’s power-play goal pulled the Sharks back within one goal. But despite ending the game with another power play, San Jose couldn’t get the puck past Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer again. He finished with 23 saves.

“We just got to realize what we can do when we’re playing the right way,” Soucy said. “You know, even getting down a goal and not having the best first period, we know in the second that we could come out play better and that’s encouraging. That being said, we know we got to just be more ready. I think hopefully it’s just a one-off game where you know, we thought after winning it was gonna be a little easier even against a good team here.”

Before Monday, Seattle had lost nine straight games and 12 of their last 13. It was a frustrating stretch for the Kraken, and the second lengthy losing streak of the season. Now that Seattle has won two straight games, the question is whether they can add a third for the first time this season.

So far, the Kraken haven’t been able to string together enough wins to counter their losing stretches. They’re still in last place in the Pacific Division, 10 points behind seventh-place Edmonton.

“New day tomorrow,” Hakstol said. “You got to find ways to win. We had a complete 65-minute win a couple of nights ago. Tonight, we found a way. We scratched and clawed. … We found a way and that’s awesome. We love to be able to do that in front of our fans here. That’s important.

“It’s important when (captain Mark Giordano) is out there fighting and blocking shots and doing everything that shows how much he cares about getting in a win in this building. We’ve got a new challenge (Friday) against a real good hockey team that’s going to be rested. Let’s take that challenge on tomorrow. We’re going to have to be a little more complete. We’re going to have to make sure we have a little better start tomorrow.”

It will be a difficult turnaround for Seattle, who will face the St. Louis in less than 24 hours. The Blues are in third place in the Central Division with 51 points. Hakstol said backup goalie Joey Daccord will likely get the start, but didn’t run out Grubauer returning to the net.

“I think it’s a good thing if you think about it,” forward Ryan Donato said of the quick turnaround. “I mean, obviously, we’d like to rest but we’re coming off oft wo big games. I think we have a lot more to give at the start. Obviously, we’re right back at it and hopefully we can carry the momentum.”