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Apr 4, 2024 9:37 pm

With an eye toward future, Kraken take on Ducks

Shane Wright

Though the Seattle Kraken weren’t officially eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoff chase until a 5-2 road loss Wednesday against the Los Angeles Kings, their fate essentially had been sealed for a couple of weeks.

The Kraken (31-31-13, 75 points), who play Friday night on the road against the Anaheim Ducks (25-47-4, 54 points), have used the past few games to get a look at rookie forwards Logan Morrison, Ryan Winterton and Shane Wright — who were called up from their American Hockey League affiliate in Coachella Valley — and to try some different line combinations.

“We’re playing for other things here,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said after Wednesday’s loss. “We’re disappointed with the outcome. We left some of our effort on the table. Again, I don’t think our effort was poor, but we left too much in the tank here.”

That wasn’t a problem last week, when the Kraken defeated Anaheim 4-0 and 4-2 at home.

The new top line of Matty Beniers, Eeli Tolvanen and Oliver Bjorkstrand combined for three goals and seven points in the first game, in which Joey Daccord faced just 12 shots in posting the shutout to snap the team’s eight-game losing streak.

In the latter, the Kraken recovered after allowing two short-handed goals on the same penalty early in the third period. Seattle scored three times in 9:10 to pull out the victory.

Andre Burakovsky and Beniers had power-play tallies and Tye Kartye scored the go-ahead goal with 6:57 remaining.

Former first-round pick Wright was called up before Monday’s 4-2 road victory against the San Jose Sharks and scored his first NHL goal of the season.

“Definitely felt comfortable out there, for sure,” Wright said. “Definitely felt like I belong out there.”

Wright was put on a line with veterans Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz.

“I thought he played great,” Schwartz said. “Obviously, his speed — you could see how quick he was in the neutral zone and getting on pucks. But he did a lot of little things right with faceoffs and defensive responsibilities, too.

“So, he was a good spark for our team. Obviously, these (AHL) guys have been playing well this year and (were) anxiously waiting to play some games with us. So, it was nice to have him.”

The Ducks salvaged the finale of a five-game trip with a 5-3 victory Tuesday against the Calgary Flames. Alex Killorn scored twice in the third period, Troy Terry had a goal and two assists and Olen Zellweger had three helpers for Anaheim, which had lost 12 of its previous 13 games (1-11-1). Goaltender Lukas Dostal made 21 saves.

“It feels good to win,” Killorn said. “We haven’t done that in a long time. It’s been tough. It’s nice, especially at the end of the road trip, to go home with a good feeling. It’s good.”

Added Ducks coach Greg Cronin: “It’s hyperbole, but it’s true. You have to get better every day. That’s what we’ve been saying. We’ve had a couple clunkers, and we’ve had some really good games we haven’t won. (Tuesday), we played well enough to win and we won.”

–Field Level Media

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