There’s something about the Colorado Avalanche that seems to bring out the best in Oliver Bjorkstrand.
The Seattle forward scored twice Thursday, including the go-ahead goal with 32 seconds remaining, to defeat the host Avalanche 4-3.
In the Kraken’s previous trip to Denver, Bjorkstrand also tallied twice to eliminate the then-defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche in Game 7 of a first-round Western Conference playoff series last spring.
The teams meet again Monday night in Seattle.
“Nice to get the win,” Bjorkstrand said after Thursday’s game. “That’s the most important.”
However, the Kraken returned home Saturday with an embarrassing 4-1 loss to Edmonton, which entered the game tied for last in the NHL in points. Zach Hyman netted a natural hat trick as the Oilers scored four times in the first period.
Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer was pulled in the first intermission after allowing four goals on 17 shots.
“We weren’t desperate enough,” said forward Jaden Schwartz, who scored Seattle’s lone goal on a power play early in the third period. “We knew that they were hungry for wins, and we came out flat.
“We’ve done that a few times at home now. Unacceptable. We have to be more aggressive, way more assertive and get to our game right away. Too much standing and watching.”
Schwartz extended his career-best point streak to nine games (six goals, six assists). He has scored in four straight games and leads Seattle with eight goals.
The Kraken finally showed signs of life in the third period, outshooting Edmonton 9-0.
“It took us too long to recover when we dug ourselves a hole,” Schwartz said. “No excuses. Individually and collectively, we have to be ready to start and recover when we do make mistakes.”
The Kraken played without forward Jordan Eberle, who was cut in the leg by a skate blade in practice last week.
The Avalanche didn’t fare any better Saturday, dropping an 8-2 decision to visiting St. Louis as Brayden Schenn and Pavel Buchnevich both had hat tricks for the Blues.
Colorado coach Jared Bednar went so far as to suggest his team “quit” in the third period.
“There’s no other explanation for it,” said Bednar, who remained one victory shy of 300 for his NHL coaching career. “Poor execution and guys giving up all over the ice. How many breakaways did they have in the third period? Three. Two of them end up in the back of our net.”
It was the third loss in four games for the Avalanche, who have been outscored 22-11 in that span.
Mikko Rantanen and Jack Johnson scored for the Avalanche. Alexandar Georgiev gave up six goals on 28 shots before being replaced in the third period by Ivan Prosvetov.
“A lot of things kind of got to go wrong to lose (8-2),” Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar said. “This is a really tough streak of games … it’s a weird one.”
The Avalanche were without Artturi Lehkonen, who suffered an upper-body injury when he collided with Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and crashed into the boards Thursday. Andrew Cogliano also sat out because of an upper-body injury.
–Field Level Media
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