Yanni Gourde scores in OT to give Kraken 3-2 win over Avalanche
Brandon Tanev scored the game-tying goal with 2:30 left to play in regulation and Yanni Gourde won it in overtime as the Seattle Kraken completed a four-game road trip sweep with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday evening.
The Kraken possessed the puck for the entirety of the 1:24 of overtime before Gourde beat Alexandar Georgiev with a shot that caromed off the post and into the net to steal a win over the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Georgiev had been outstanding in net for Colorado. He turned away 32 of 34 Kraken shots in regulation, including seven shots on a 5-on-3 advantage to open the third period. But the Kraken found a way to overcome the late deficit to inch ever closer to securing their first postseason appearance in just their second season in the NHL.
"We had great energy coming down the stretch in the third period," head coach Dave Hakstol said.
Philipp Grubauer was also strong in net for Seattle as he made 21 saves on 23 shots for the Kraken.
"He was great tonight. Grubi was great," Hakstol said. "He made some huge saves and timely saves. I think you can look at that throughout the game. You're facing some elite offensive players here. Coming back into this building, I'm really happy for him. He played extremely well and the guys played hard for him."
The Kraken are now at 97 percent to make the playoffs, per MoneyPuck.com, and are ten points in the standings clear of the Nashville Predators, who are the first team outside the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Seattle also remains just four points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the top spot in the conference. Vegas beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 earlier on Sunday afternoon.
"Really big points. When you look at the standings, everything is so tight so we need every point. Special one against the old team for sure," said Grubauer, who played for Colorado for three seasons before joining the Kraken last year.
The Kraken are now 7-0 in their last seven overtime finishes with their only post-regulation losses coming in shootouts to the Vancouver Canucks, Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets.
Nathan MacKinnon gave the Avalanche the lead at the end of the first period. MacKinnon corralled a loose puck and fired a wrist shot behind the screen of Valeri Nichushkin that beat Gurbauer inside the post to make it a 1-0 game.
Georgiev turned away a number of prime Seattle chances to keep the Kraken off the scoreboard. But Alex Wennberg finally found a way past the Colorado goaltender. Wennberg deflected a point shot from Will Borgen into the top corner past Georgiev midway through the second period to get the Kraken on the board.
It wouldn't last for long.
Evan Rodrigues won a board battle that sprung a breakaway for the Avalanche. Reigning Norris Trophy winner Cale Makar took Rodrigues' pass and found a streaking Denis Malgin, who beat Grubauer glove side to restore the Colorado lead.
Jack Johnson was called for a tripping penalty against Matty Beniers and Mikko Rantanen picked up an unsporsmanlike conduct penalty for arguing with an official as the second period came to a close. It allowed the Kraken to open the third period with a two-man advantage.
Seattle had seven shots on net and another try from Jared McCann redirect just wide, but nothing beat Georgiev.
The Kraken had five power play chances against Colorado and were unable to convert on any of them. Nine of Georgiev's 32 saves came against the Seattle power play.
"He played really well," said forward Jaden Schwartz, who picked up an assist on both of Seattle's goals in regulation. "He had some big saves, some timely saves. We had a decent amount of power plays and he made some big ones. We just have to stay with it, try to get in front of his eyes a little bit, keep the pressure on him and I thought we did a really good job of that. He and [Grubauer] both made some pretty awesome saves."
Time was running out when Tanev finally brought the game back level. Schwartz and Gourde combined to win the puck on a strong forecheck behind the Avalanche net. Schwartz picked MacKinnon and backhanded a pass to Tanev as he found the back of the net to tie it at 2-2.
Schwartz also helped create Wennberg's goal with a forecheck effort with Oliver Bjorkstrand in the second period.
"It was a gutsy effort," Schwartz said. "Fourth game on the road trip. A lot of travel and being down and just sticking with it and just keeping the pressure on. We stayed aggressive and put a lot of pucks in their end and just tried to wear them down."
The Kraken then won the opening draw of overtime and never allowed MacKinnon, Makar, Rantanen or anyone else on the Avalanche to gain possession. Vince Dunn fired a pass from deep in Seattle's own zone to Gourde at the opposite blue line as the Kraken caught Colorado in a line change. Gourde got in for a clean look and sent Seattle to the airport happy for their flight home.