Vince Dunn scores twice as Kraken wrap pre-season with 4-0 win over Canucks
VANCOUVER — Special teams were the difference as the Seattle Kraken wrapped their pre-season with a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.
Penalties were a problem for the Canucks, sapping the team's momentum, said centre Jason Dickinson, but the end result didn't mirror the feeling on the ice.
“It didn’t feel like we were losing 3-0. Obviously they score with 30 seconds to go. But it felt like we were controlling a lot of the pace," Dickinson said.
Seattle (4-2-0) iced a lineup full of veteran NHL talent while Vancouver (2-3-0) included a number of players auditioning for roles on the team.
Vince Dunn scored twice for the Kraken, while Ryan Donato and Nathan Bastian each added a goal. Calle Jarnkrok and Morgan Geekie had two assists apiece.
The win was a full-team effort, said goalie Philipp Grubauer, who made 38 saves to collect the shutout.
“Without the guys in front of me I couldn't do it, right? They made it really easy for me to see pucks and made it really simple for me," he said.
After six exhibition games, the Kraken — the NHL's newest franchise — have started to solidify their identity, Grubauer added. The group wants to be tough to play against both on and off the puck, he said, and that was on display Tuesday night.
“We don't have a Nathan MacKinnon, or a Mikko Rantanen," the netminder said. "I think we got to play as a five-man unit here and that's where our success comes, like from the back end and I think if we all support each other and play heavy on the puck, it's going to be the outcome we see today."
Vancouver kept Grubauer busy, outshooting Seattle 35-28, but the Canucks couldn't get a shot past the former Colorado Avalanche goalie.
"Thirty-eight shots, normally one of those are going to go in," Dickinson said. "You get pucks to the net enough times, one might squeak through. We can get a bit grittier, maybe go to the net a little bit harder sometimes, but overall we played a really good game five-on-five.”
Bastian capped the scoring with just 36 seconds left on the clock.
Carson Soucy sent a shot into traffic and Bastian picked up the rebound, tipping it in past Vancouver's Thatcher Demko to make it 4-0.
Demko stopped 21-of-25 shots on the night.
The home side's best chance came late in the second frame when rookie Vasily Podkolzin used some deft stick handling to trick Grubauer in tight, then sent a shot wide of the open net.
Tyler Myers had a chance to claw a goal back late in the third when he picked up the puck as he left the penalty box and streaked down the ice on a breakaway, but the Kraken goaltender stopped the ensuing wrist shot.
Penalties came early and often Tuesday. Seattle was 2 for 7 with the man advantage while Vancouver went 0 for 4.
"That's a tough game, just with the amount of specialty teams. It's tough games to find a lot of flow in," said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. "It was sporadic throughout the entire game. A lot of positives there, starting with (Grubauer) on the back end. They had some good looks, on their power play especially, that he was on top of and was real sharp on."
McCann tied up Dickinson on a breakaway in the second period and the Canucks forward responded by shoving McCann into the glass, earning a penalty for boarding.
The Kraken capitalized. Jarnkrok blasted a shot on net and Demko made the stop but couldn't control the rebound. The puck popped out to Donato at the side of the net and he sailed a shot in over leg of the sprawled-out netminder to give Seattle a three-goal lead 14:22 into the second period.
The centreman now has two goals in pre-season action.
Dunn's second of the night came at full strength following some crisp passes by the Kraken midway through the second.
Schwartz sliced the puck to McCann deep in Canucks' territory and McCann quickly dished it off to Dunn in the slot. The defenceman riffled a wrist shot in past Demko at 6:57 for his third goal of the pre-season.
Seattle snapped a scoreless deadlock earlier in the period with a power-play goal after defenceman Jack Rathbone was called for cross checking Donato.
Using Donato as a screen, Dunn unleashed a slapshot from the blue line, clanking the puck off the cross bar and in at 4:31.
The Canucks wanted to get a look at some untested talent on the power play Tuesday, said head coach Travis Green.
"They’re going to make some mistakes. That’s just the way it is," he said. "I’ve said it many times — penalty killing is a lot harder to learn at the NHL level than the power play."
The Canucks went down a man less than two minutes into Tuesday's game when Dickinson was booked for a four-minute double minor at 1:36 of the first for catching Soucy with a high stick.
Vancouver weathered the penalty with some help from the posts.
A shot from Dunn ticked off the cross bar before sailing up and out of play, and just over a minute later, Geekie's shot ricocheted off the far post.
The Canucks will close out the pre-season with a home-and-home series against the Oilers, starting with a trip to Edmonton on Thursday. The Kraken's inaugural regular-season campaign will begin on Oct. 12 when they take on the Golden Knights in Vegas.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2021.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press