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Kraken cool off Flames with 4-2 road win

CALGARY — At a pivotal point in the game, and season, Seattle centre Jared McCann stepped up and delivered on Monday night.

McCann's short-handed goal late in the third period snuffed out Calgary's furious comeback attempt and the Kraken held on to win 4-2, snapping the Flames' five-game winning streak.

It was also the 100th win in franchise history for Seattle in 225 games, which ties St. Louis for the third-fastest expansion team to reach that milestone. The only teams that did it faster were Vegas (173 games) and Florida (223 games).

“For our team right now, we're in the fight here. The most important win is going to become 101,” said McCann. “That's not to take anything away from that milestone because I hope everybody in the organization that's worked extremely hard to make that happen feels their contributions and feels a lot of pride in it."

The Kraken pulled even with the Flames in the Western Conference playoff chase, both now seven points back of the idle Nashville Predators for the second wild-card spot.

Having cut its deficit to one earlier in the third period, the Flames got consecutive power plays in an attempt to pull even. However, after failing to score on the first, it was the Kraken that struck on the second.

Rasmus Andersson had the puck stripped off him by McCann and he raced in on Jacob Markstrom, burying his team-leading 26th goal at 12:29.

"I was pretty gassed so I just tried to get the shot off quick,” said McCann. “I like to go low blocker but decided to change it up at the last second. He's a big goalie, so I was able to find a spot."

Ryan Huska didn't blame Andersson, implying the pass back to him by Andrew Mangiapane might have been to blame.

“I thought Raz got put in a tough spot up top,” said the Flames coach. “Now he's flat footed with pressure coming out at him.”

Yanni Gourd, Adam Larsson and Oliver Bjorkstrand also scored for Seattle (27-23-11), which improved to 6-2-1 in its last nine.

Andrei Kuzmenko scored both goals for Calgary (30-26-5).

"There's still no quit in our team. We still see it as we can make it,” said Larsson. “We still believe. Every win now down the stretch is going to be big. Just going to keep believing."

Kuzmenko has 13 goals on the season and five in 10 games since being acquired from Vancouver on Jan. 31 as part of the trade that sent Elias Lindholm to the Canucks.

Philipp Grubauer made 36 saves for the win and improved to 10-10-1.

After going more than two months between starts, missing a bulk of that due to a lower-body injury, Grubauer has been excellent since his return to the crease on Feb. 13, going 5-1-0 with a .943 save percentage.

"Grubby's been good,” said Seattle coach Dave Hakstol. “Just the calmness that the provides. You can add up the big saves tonight at the right time.”

Markstrom had 26 stops for the Flames. He falls to 21-16-2.

“Disappointing effort in the first period. Liked our second and third, we tried to battle back, but when you're playing from behind, it's tough every time,” Mangiapane said.

At 13:41 of the third, Calgary rookie Martin Pospisil was given a major and a game misconduct for drilling Seattle defenceman Vince Dunn into the end boards from behind. Visibly shaken but leaving the ice on his own, Dunn went to the dressing room and didn't return.

"Garbage,” said Hakstol, asked about the hit. “But not really a whole lot different than the first hit six or seven seconds into the game. You run around like that you probably need to answer when somebody comes to you man to man and that didn't happen either.”

Pospisil also laid a heavy hit on Larsson on the opening shift of the game that went unpenalized.

After a listless first period in which Calgary fell behind 1-0 and were outshot 11-2, the Flames outshot the visitors 36-19 over the final 40 minutes.

“We didn't play to the game plan to start the first period, we were looking for skill instead of the work and that doesn't work for our team,” Huska said.

WENNBERG SITS

Seattle centre Alex Wennberg did not play, nor take the morning skate with the team, for what coach Dave Hakstol said earlier in the day was “trade-related issues.” A pending UFA at season's end, the 29-year-old Swede has nine goals and 25 points and before Monday had played in all 60 games.

ZARY SIDELINED

Flames LW rookie Connor Zary (upper body) did not play after leaving Saturday's game early. Zary has 12 goals and 29 points through 50 games and is tied with Ottawa's Ridly Greig for highest plus-minus for rookies at plus-17.

UP NEXT

Flames: Visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

Kraken: Visit the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2024.

Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press