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Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Jan 10, 2024 7:11 pm

Surging Kraken put reinforcements up against Capitals

Jaden Schwartz hardly missed a beat.

The Seattle Kraken forward had a goal and an assist Tuesday in his return from a 16-game absence to help the Kraken to a 5-2 victory at Buffalo, extending their winning streak to seven games and their point streak to a franchise-record 11 (9-0-2).

The Kraken will put both of those streaks on the line Thursday at Washington.

Schwartz, who had been out with an upper-body injury, assisted on Alex Wennberg’s goal early in the second period that snapped a 2-2 tie. Later in the period, Schwartz redirected Will Borgen’s shot from the point into the net.

“It’s nice, you always want to chip in,” Schwartz said. “Obviously, winning comes first and I find when you’re just working and playing for one another and not really thinking about points and stuff, I find that to be more successful.”

Schwartz returned to the second line with Wennberg and Brandon Tanev.

“It’s always fun,” Wennberg said of playing with Schwartz. “I mean, I played lots of games with him, and we seemed to be reading off each other pretty well. It’s just fun to see him coming back and it’s like he hasn’t missed a step.”

The return of Schwartz and Andre Burakovsky from injuries, and the acquisition of Tomas Tatar, has bolstered the Kraken’s depth at forward, one of their keys in reaching Game 7 in the second round of the playoffs in just their second season in 2022-23.

“I mean, it’s a big strength of our team,” Schwartz said of the depth. “We feel very confident in our matchups. We have a lot of good players, guys who can play in different positions. A lot of skill and guys who I find can work hard and make plays after. Each night you see different guys chipping in and each line and the defense chipping in with game-winners. That’s what makes it fun for everyone involved.”

Seattle’s recent surge has been backstopped by Joey Daccord, filling in for the injured Philipp Grubauer. Daccord made 36 saves Tuesday and is 8-0-2 over his past 10 starts.

“It’s been a lot of fun for our group to see how well we’ve been playing,” Daccord said. “I think in the beginning of the year it was tough for us. We were just finding ways to lose games … but now we’ve kind of found our groove, and it’s been a lot of fun to watch.”

The Capitals have been idle since Sunday, when John Carlson scored with 53 seconds left to beat visiting Los Angeles 4-3 and snap a two-game losing streak.

The Capitals’ fourth line came up big, as Nicolas Aube-Kubel had a goal and two assists, Nic Dowd had a goal and an assist and Beck Malenstyn added an assist.

“The fourth line was unbelievable all game, so credit to them. They got the ice time (Sunday), and they deserved it. Not only did they get the goals, but they got the chances, too,” said Dylan Strome, who also tallied for the Capitals. “They were great defensively and not enough good things to say about them. They’re a really good line and hard to play against.”

Alex Ovechkin had an assist to extend his point streak to five games (two goals, four assists).

–Field Level Media

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