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Seattle Kraken Skate To Sparkling And Historic First NHL Victory — 4-3 over the Nashville Predators

Author’s note: This post has been updated with postgame quotes.

Thursday’s excruciatingly long third period for the Seattle Kraken is over.

After dominating the first two periods, Seattle fell flat in the final 20 minutes and somehow held the Nashville Predators from scoring to lock up its first-ever NHL victory, 4-3 at Bridgestone Arena in Tennessee.

And were the Kraken pumped up to get this bit of history? Ryan S. Clark of The Athletic tweeted, “Down near the dressing room, there was this guttural scream of ‘YEAAAAAH! LET’S GO BOYS! LET’S GO!’ ”

Mason Appleton‘s wrist shot missed an empty net in the final two minutes. Teammate Brandon Tanev, on a pass from Jared McCann, put it into the empty net a few minutes later to make it 4-2 in Seattle’s 4-3 victory over Nashville on Thursday.

That was when Seattle held a 3-2 lead and were about to start the final period.

But instead of keeping up the pressure like they had all night, the Kraken found themselves on their heels the whole rest of the way. Nashville kept coming in waves and applied enormous pressure with many incredible chances pushed away by goaltender Philipp Grubauer.

“It’s huge,” said Seattle first-line center Jared McCann when asked about the significance of the victory. “It’s something we’ll always remember. We got the puck now and we’re going to do something nice with it. Every guy on this team deserves to be here and I’m just proud to be a part of this.”

Added second-line center Alex Wennberg, “I think we did the job today. We really wanted this win. Sometimes at the end it isn’t always pretty, but you’ve got to play to win and today we did whatever it takes.”

It appeared as though Seattle would rest easy when Brandon Tanev scored an empty net goal to make it 4-2 with just 1:21 left. It was Tanev’s second goal of the night, and the importance of it became completely apparent when Nashville’s Mikael Granlund tucked in a rebound goal with 39.9 ticks left for what turned out to be the final 4-3 count.

“Good to get the first win,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “Great job by the guys. You saw that stress we had in the third period, yet the guys were calm and pretty focused and I know guys were really excited to be able to get the first win and, especially as it sinks in, it’s the first win in franchise history and that’s a big deal for everybody.”

A mad scramble by the Predators the rest of the way in an effort to get the tying goal was somehow rebuffed, and Grubauer was front and center in that effort.

In the first two periods, all of the proper engines were running for the Kraken at both ends of the ice. They scored two power-play goals — by McCann on a wrister from the point, thanks to a screen by Jared Schwartz, and by Tanev on a backhand pass from Wennberg — in the first period to wipe out an early 1-0 deficit.

Brandon Tanev scored two goals for Seattle.

Early in the second, after Nashville tied it 2-2 on Roman Josi’s slap shot goal to the top glove side of Grubauer, Wennberg scored the go-ahead goal to make it 3-2 on a pretty pass from Alex Barre-Boulet, who had taken a feed from Joonas Donskoi after his forechecking win in the corner.

But, ouch, that third period. It was ALL Nashville, who continuously beat Seattle to the puck and did not allow any Kraken offensive zone time.

“We took a step back and tried to play it safe,” Wennberg said about the third period. “Today it worked out. In the future, maybe there’s a different tactic to play. We’ll take the win and say ‘What can we do better.’ ”

The Kraken, fortunately, did not have defensive breakdowns like they did in their season-opening 4-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

Grubauer made 28 saves overall. Nashville outshot Seattle 30-26.

The lines and defensive pairings most of the night were:

First line
>> LW Jaden Schwartz, C Jared McCann, RW Jordan Eberle
Second line
>> LW Joonas Donskoi, C Alex Wennberg, RW Alex Barre-Boulet
Third line
>> LW Ryan Donato, C Morgan Geekie, RW Brandon Tanev
Fourth line
>> LW Mason Appleton, C Riley Sheahan, RW Nathan Bastian
Defensive pairings
>> Mark Giordano and Carson Soucy
>> Jamie Oleksiak and Adam Larsson
>> Vince Dunn and Jeremy Lauzon

ALSO AT Bedrock Sports: The Seattle Kraken’s Brandon Tanev Works Like A Dog And Is Quickly Becoming A Fan Favorite

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