Kraken win fourth straight by squashing Senators 8-4

OTTAWA — The Seattle Kraken won their fourth consecutive game on Saturday, showing the Ottawa Senators their improvement this season is no accident.

The Kraken defeated the Senators 8-4 as Jordan Eberle and Andre Burakovsky led the way with a goal and two assists each for the Kraken (22-12-4). The visitors got goals from eight different players and 13 had at least one point.

Justin Schultz, Matty Beniers, Vince Dunn and Daniel Sprong had a goal and an assist each. Jared McCann and Oliver Bjorkstrand also scored for Seattle.

Martin Jones made 19 saves for his 18th win of the NHL season.

“I think the strength of this group is in the depth that we have. And that’s not just the forwards — it’s the defence, it’s the goalies. You see teams that have four lines and six (defencemen) who can contribute and that’s dangerous," said Eberle.

"In my opinion, a lot of the teams that make the playoffs, it’s because of that (depth).”

The Senators (18-18-3) got three goals from Tim Stutzle and another from Brady Tkachuk as they had their modest two-game winning streak halted.

Anton Forsberg started in goal for the Senators but was pulled in favour of Cam Talbot 15 minutes into the game after allowing three goals on just five shots. Talbot turned aside 14 of 19 shots.

“There’s no excuses on my end. It was a tough night for both of us. We’ll both take the heat on this one. I know I can speak for (Forsberg) because he is as accountable as me,” Talbot said.

“You score four goals in a hockey game you should be able to make the rest of the saves to win the game. He’d be with me when I say we need to be better, and we will be.”

The Kraken led 5-3 to start the third but quickly made that a 7-3 lead on goals by Dunn and Eberle in the opening five minutes. Stutzle completed his hat trick at 5:20 of the period to pull the Senators to within three goals, but Burakovsky scored midway through the period for an 8-4 lead.

“If we play a certain style, regardless of who is in the lineup, we’re in the game every night. We did not play that style today,” Senators coach DJ Smith said.

“We’ve played a pretty good stretch of hockey here where we’ve played pretty well, but there are some guys that didn’t have it tonight and the chemistry wasn’t there.

"At the end of day you only win by playing hard defence in this league and we didn’t play nearly enough defence tonight to have a chance to win.”

The was no lack of scoring in the opening two periods as Seattle took a 3-1 lead into the second period and 5-3 lead into the third. The eight goals came on a combined 30 shots, 15 apiece.

The Kraken opened the scoring at 9:19 of the first period when Bjorkstrand beat Forsberg over the stick-side shoulder. Just 62 seconds later the Senators tied the game as Tkachuk split the defence and fired a shot over the glove of Jones.

The Kraken scored twice more in the opening 20 minutes as McCann scored at 12:53 and Schultz tipped a point shot past Forsberg at 15:13. That spelled the end of the night for Forsberg.

“We’ve been at our best when we’ve been able to roll four lines and not have a huge concern over each matchup. That’s the way our team is built,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said.

“We’re asking everyone to contribute, play the right way, play with responsibility defensively. We weren’t air tight there tonight, but we were good enough at the right times.”

The Senators came out strong in the second period and got a pair of goals from Stutzle to tie the game 3-3. Stutzle scored a power-play goal at 6:35 and then chopped a rebound past Jones while falling at 8:34.

Just 22 seconds later Sprong gave the Kraken a 4-3 lead and took away any momentum the Senators were building.

“We did a good job battling back, we had all the momentum and I think the turning point was that next shot. If I make the save on the 2-on-1 it could have been a completely different game. I had to be better,” Talbot said.

Beniers increased that lead to 5-3 at 14:13. Beniers leads all rookies with 14 goals and 30 points this season.

NOTES

Saturday’s game was the first of the season between the Senators and Kraken. They will meet again at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle on March 9. … The lone scratches in the game were Kraken defenceman Cale Fleury and forward Ryan Donato. … Stutzle extended his point streak to seven games. … The Senators finished 1-for-3 on the power play while the Kraken went 0-for-1.

UP NEXT

The Senators finish a four-game homestand when they host the Nashville Predators on Monday. They will then head out for three straight on the road against the Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues.

The Kraken will play the fourth of seven consecutive on the road against the Canadiens in Montreal on Monday. They will finish the trip against the Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 7, 2023.

Darren Desaulniers, The Canadian Press