Kraken win fifth straight by dumping Canadiens 4-0

MONTREAL — A seven-game road trip to start the new year should be anything but a walk in the park. Nevertheless, the Seattle Kraken have powered through.

With a 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, Seattle recorded their fifth straight victory of 2023. The Kraken have also outscored the opposition 26-8 in the process while improving their record to 23-12-4.

“It's a difficult month, right?” said Kraken coach Dave Hakstol. “You're gonna get into rhythms like this where you're gonna be busy and play a lot of hockey, so it's nice that we've been able to start it off successfully. That feels good.

"Probably one of the bigger strengths of our group has been being able to enjoy the moment for a little while and then turn the page.”

With a fifth straight win on the road, the Kraken boosted their away record to 13-4-2.

“We've had a pretty busy schedule so the team bonding moments have been there, but I think maybe when we're on the road it's just all about hockey,” said Vince Dunn. “It's not distractions, maybe with family visiting town or things like that. It's always good to be home but I don't know why we're so good on the road.

“It's definitely important, especially those are big points to get whenever we can. We're playing really well right now. And I think it's just the confidence that's trickling through the lineup.”

Eeli Tolvanen and Dunn both had one goal and an assist. Daniel Sprong also scored while Matty Beniers bagged the empty-netter. In his return to his home province of Quebec, Yanni Gourde collected two assists.

Martin Jones recorded the shutout by stopping all 21 shots directed his way.

Montreal (16-22-3) had just snapped a seven-game winless skid with a 5-4 win against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. The Habs were brought right back down, trailing 3-0 at the end of the first period.

“After a big win like that, I don’t know, we seemed to take it really easy, thought it might be an easy night,” said Nick Suzuki. “There’s no easy nights in this league and especially with a team like that.

"A lot of guys are playing to prove something, they’ve been playing really well as of late and we dug ourselves too big a hole in the first period.”

Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis claimed that his team “didn’t start on time” and that their performance in the first 20 minutes was “unacceptable.”

“If you play a game where you’re involved, you compete and then you lose, that’s part of the game,” St. Louis said. “You won’t win them all but it’s performances like that in the first period that bother me.

"Nobody likes to lose but when you give your all and you lose you’re able to take it better than when you play a first period like that one.”

Samuel Montembeault allowed three goals and made 37 saves.

The surging Kraken jumped out of the starting blocks in the first period, outshooting Montreal 19-6.

Seattle opened the scoring at 6:54 of the opening frame when Dunn found Tolvanen with a cross-ice pass through the slot. The winger netted his fifth goal of the season.

Sprong doubled the Kraken’s lead on the power play with a heavy shot from the point. Dunn also connected on a slap shot from the point to give Seattle a 3-0 lead by the first intermission.

The Kraken shut down Montreal’s attack, blocking a total of 19 shots.

Jones made an impressive pad save on Suzuki with 3:03 remaining in the final frame to preserve his shutout.

“I was just trying to make the best read I can, obviously they were pressing at the end there being up 3-0 with three minutes left,” Jones said. “I was able to make that save and, really, the guys did all the rest.”

Montreal pulled Montembeault but Beniers sealed Seattle’s win with the empty-netter.

REVERSE ZERO

The Montreal Canadiens lost a fourth straight game with their reverse retro uniforms. The Habs have also been outscored 18-5 while playing in light blue.

EMERGENCY RECALL

The Canadiens announced a few hours before the game that goaltender Jake Allen suffered an upper-body injury. The team recalled Cayden Primeau from AHL affiliate Laval Rocket and he was the backup netminder against the Kraken.

UP NEXT

The Canadiens will conclude a three-game homestand by hosting the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

The Kraken continue their seven-game road trip with a visit to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 9, 2023.

Tristan D'Amours, The Canadian Press