Kraken battles but ends trip with 4-2 loss at New Jersey

Seattle Kraken
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Geoff Baker The Seattle Times (TNS)

NEWARK, N.J. – A Kraken team that’s never played a shift at home will nonetheless be glad to put this increasingly dismal road trip to rest.

What started off as an encouraging season debut for the Kraken fell apart down the stretch of this five-game road swing through three time zones, capped by a 4-2 loss Tuesday night to the New Jersey Devils. This fight-filled affair in front of 13,806 fans at the Prudential Center looked initially as if it would repeat the recipe of a blowout loss in Philadelphia just 24 hours prior but the Kraken managed to stay more engaged in this one.

The team had little choice, given punches were thrown from the outset and shoves exchanged for the better part of the game’s first half. And the Kraken kept it close, despite being outshot 15-7 in the opening frame and again falling behind early as Dawson Mercer converted a 2-on-1 pass from Thomas Tatar and then Damon Severson added a second marker before the game was even seven minutes old.

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New Jersey nearly made it 3-0 right at the period’s conclusion, but video review ruled the puck crossed the line a fraction of a second after the clock ran out. Not long before, Kraken winger Jordan Eberle had been sent in alone on a breakaway but failed to convert as flipped a shot wide.

The Kraken finally did score midway through the second period as Riley Sheahan slotted a rebound of a Vince Dunn shot from the right point past Devils goalie Jonathan Bernier. But the Devils got it right back just under five minutes later on some nice tic-tac-toe passing that saw Jimmy Vesey convert from the slot for a 3-1 advantage.

If there ever was a turning point, it likely came two minutes later as Kraken center Alex Wennberg carried the puck over the line and fired a screened wrist shot that beat Bernier from just outside the right faceoff circle. The Kraken seemed right back in it at just one down until the Devils challenged the play as Wennberg being offside and the replay confirmed it and nullified his goal.

Jared McCann just scored with 5:19 to go to cut the lead to 3-2. The Devils added an empty-net goal for the final score.

The Kraken began the trip by losing a tight comeback game against Vegas after falling behind 3-0 early but coming back initially to tie it up. Then, after a win in Nashville, the Kraken was up 1-0 in the third period against Columbus.

But it wound up losing in overtime and then dropped the next two in Philadelphia and now here to sit 1-3-1 heading into the team’s home opener against Vancouver next Saturday at Climate Pledge Arena.

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