It wasn’t a game that mattered in the standings, but head coach Bruce Boudreau was still disappointed in how his Vancouver Canucks let a third-period lead evaporate on Thursday.
Coming into the final frame, the Canucks were up 3-1 on the visiting Seattle Kraken.
Twenty minutes later, the game was tied, forcing overtime, where Ryan Donato scored to give the Kraken a 4-3 comeback win in the pre-season matchup.
“That’s what we talked about in between periods, is winning teams protect the lead,” Boudreau said. “And for the most part, in the past, we were OK. But tonight it obviously didn’t get done.”
All three Canucks (0-1-2) goals came in the opening frame, with Andrei Kuzmenko scoring twice and notching an assist. Tanner Pearson also had a goal, while Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller each contributed a pair of helpers.
John Hayden had a big night for the Kraken (3-0-0), evening the score at 3-3 midway through the third after fights in the first and second periods. Tye Kartye and Kole Lind also had goals for the visitors in regulation.
“I think we kind of had a chip on our shoulder coming into this game, and we just had a blast,” Hayden said. “We didn’t quit. It was a fun night.”
Thatcher Demko, making his first start of the pre-season for the Canucks, registered 17 saves before Arturs Silovs came in to start the third period. Silovs made eight saves in relief.
Joey Daccord got the start for the Kraken and stopped 18-of-21 shots before being replaced by Martin Jones midway through the second period. Jones stopped all 15 shots he faced.
A bad play at one end of the ice proved costly for Vancouver in extra time.
Pearson looked to dish a puck to Quinn Hughes deep in Seattle territory, but Kraken defenceman Will Borgen broke up the play and sprung Donato for a breakaway.
With 40.1 seconds left on the clock, the veteran winger streaked down the ice and put a shot up over Silovs for the win.
“Not happy right now. And we shouldn’t be,” Hughes said. “We’ve got to find ways to close that out. It is pre-season but we definitely don’t want to let those games slip away in the regular season, when we’re up 3-1 in the third.”
Hayden evened the score 12:33 into the final frame, sending a shot past Silovs stick side from the high hash marks.
Lind, a former Canucks draft pick, narrowed the deficit to 3-2 just over four minutes into the third when Silovs lost sight of the puck on a Borgen’s shot. The puck lay on the goal line momentarily before Lind poked it in.
The middle frame didn’t see a goal but the visitors opted to swap goalies 10:19 into the period, bringing Jones on for Daccord.
The Canucks took a 3-1 lead into the intermission after a feisty first period that saw the officials hand out 28 minutes in penalties.
With jobs on the line, players are looking to show what they can bring to a lineup and that can spark fireworks on the ice, said Vancouver defenceman Kyle Burroughs.
“We’re trying to earn spots,” he said. “Obviously hockey’s a rough game and we like to play it that way. I mean, I do at least – I can’t speak for everybody.
“But it’s just an edge that kind of brings a little passion in and obviously you wish that kind of carried us through that 60 minutes for the win.”
Hayden dropped the gloves with Burroughs late in the opening frame, prompting officials to send the Seattle right-winger to the box with a roughing minor and a fighting major.
The Canucks made quick work of the ensuing man advantage, with Pearson firing a shot from the middle of the slot past Daccord 16:55 into the first.
Both teams saw ample special teams work Thursday, with Vancouver going 2 for 5 on the power play while Seattle was 1 for 3.
Seattle sliced into Vancouver’s lead with a power-play goal 12:44 into the game after Kuzmenko was called for tripping Cale Fleury.
Shane Wright, the No. 4 pick in July’s draft, blasted a rocket at the Canucks net and while Demko made the save, he couldn’t corral the puck and the rebound popped out to Kartye. The 21-year-old winger shovelled the puck in past the netminder to make it 2-1.
Vancouver appeared to jump out to a 3-0 advantage just moments before when Oliver Ekman-Larsson fired a shot from inside the blue line and the puck caromed in off Conor Garland’s skate.
Seattle challenged the play for being offside and a video review overturned the goal.
Kuzmenko put away his second goal of the night on a power play midway through the first after Wright was called for holding.
Stationed at the side of the net, Kuzmenko collected a pass from Pettersson and, with Daccord on the other side of the crease, tapped it into the yawning net to put the Canucks up 2-0.
The Russian rookie opened the scoring 2:51 into the game, collecting a cross-ice pass from Hughes and blasting a rocket up and over Daccord stick side.
The goal came on Vancouver’s first shot of the game.
The two sides will face off again Saturday in Seattle.
The Canucks have four pre-season games left to play and Boudreau said he’s looking to see his group play a complete game.
“Whether you win or lose is not important. [The games] don’t count,” the coach said. “But complete games, playing the right way in your own zone, playing the right way in the neutral zone, playing the right way in the offensive zone, shorter shifts. These things all count. And that’s what you have to get to start the season.”
The Canucks were coming off a pair of split-squad games against the Calgary Flames on Sunday. The Kraken blanked the Flames 3-0 in Seattle on Tuesday ... Seattle defenceman Michal Kempny left the game after taking a hit from Dakota Joshua 2:31 into the second period. His teammate Joonas Donskoi left 12:26 into the same frame after colliding with Lind and a Canucks player in front of the bench. Neither player returned to the ice.