The Seattle Kraken eventually had to wait longer to play his first regular season game on home ice when he scored his first win.
Brandon Tanev scored his second goal in an empty net with 1:21 to go, and the Kraken beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Thursday night for their first win in the expansion franchise’s second game.
“I think it’s phenomenal,” said goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer. “It doesn’t just speak for the group, it speaks for the organization and rewards the people who have put two years or more into the work.”
Alex Wennberg and Jared McCann each scored one goal and one assist for Seattle, which will play their first five games away from home, while the final touches will take place at the Kraken’s new arena.
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The Kraken also became the newest expansion franchise, winning its first game with the Predators, improving that mark to 3-1-1. They joined Columbus (November 16, 2000) and Vegas (December 8, 2017) in this group.
Coach Dave Hakstol said it was good to get the first win in franchise history.
“I think you saw a bit of that stress in our game in the third period,” said Hakstol. “The guys were calm and pretty focused. I know the guys were really excited to get the first win, especially since it is memorized. It’s the first win in franchise history, that’s a big deal for all.”
Tanev’s second goal in Seattle’s single shot in the third period was the winner. Mikael Granlund, who also had two assists, scored 39.9 seconds from time to pull Nashville 4-3. The Predators could no longer beat Grubauer, even if goalkeeper Juuse Saros did without the additional attacker.
Grubauer made 12 saves in the third game when Nashville defeated Seattle 30:26. The goalkeeper praised the Kraken for keeping it simple, even if he had to stop giving up so many shots in the final third.
“Overall, we dragged it out,” said Grubauer. “Getting the first out of the way is always difficult and we did.”
Wennberg said the Kraken stepped back a bit in the third step and tried to play it safe and defend the lead. That’s not the tactic they’ll want in the future. He said it was more important to get that first franchise win.
“We really wanted this win,” said Wennberg. “And sometimes it isn’t always nice in the end, but we have to play like this to win and today we did everything it took.”
Roman Josi and Eeli Tolvanen scored for Nashville, and Filip Forsberg had two assists. The Predators achieved a 0.614 win rate at the season openers, the fourth highest in NHL history for franchises with at least 10 such games. The Predators had also won seven of their last eight home openings and 11 out of 14.
This time around, Nashville had a pair of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans wide receivers waving the rally flag to kick off the new season in Julio Jones and Chester Rogers.
Tolvanen hit the first shot from Nashville, from slot 3:18. The lead did not last as Nashville’s penalty shoot-outs continued into the new season.
Yakov Trenin got a rough major and a combat major in the first fight in Seattle history with Krakens defender Vince Dunn. But the minor gave Seattle the man advantage, and McCann hit a wrist at 3:27 pm. Then Alexandre Carrier stumbled Alex Barret-Boule and Tanev scored 2-1 with 2:27 to go.
Josi tied in at the beginning of the second 5 against 3. But Wennberg had an easy tap-in into an open net behind Saros for another Seattle lead 3-2 by the middle of the period.
Nashville manager John Hynes said the Predators didn’t get off to the desired start and the penalties didn’t help.
“We got more competitive as the game went on,” said Hynes. “We did a good job in the third third, but it wasn’t enough.”
The Predators paid video homage to Jeff Camelio, the Kraken’s Head Equipment Manager, at the start of the first phase. Camelio spent 15 seasons as assistant equipment manager for Nashville, with the 2019-20 season being his last with the Predators.
Seattle also has a pair of former Predators on striker Calle Jarnkrok who were selected in the draft expansion after eight seasons with Nashville. Jarnkrok was one of 13 skaters in Nashville history to play at least 500 games with the franchise. Striker Colin Blackwell made his NHL debut with Nashville in 2018-19.
Neither played on Thursday night, with Jarnkrok dealing with a lower body injury on the COVID-19 log and Blackwell.
Predators striker Filip Forsberg had an assist for Josi’s goal, earning him at least one point in Nashville’s last five season openers. This is the longest active scoring streak in the NHL at the season opener, and he became the 12th player in NHL history to score in at least five consecutive opening games.
Forsberg finished with a shot on goal. Linemates Ryan Johansen had one shot on goal and Matt Duchene had four.
The Kraken continue their franchise opening road swing on Saturday afternoon in Columbus.
Nashville hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.