After a month of increasing frustration, it seemed fitting that Joonas Donskoi, who had yet to score all season, was the one to finally snap the Seattle Kraken's losing streak.
Ryan Donato scored the tying goal early in the third period, Donskoi scored the deciding goal in the shootout and the Kraken snapped their nine-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.
Donato scored at 2:02 of the third period to pull Seattle even at 2. Donato scored in the second round of the shootout and Donskoi — stuck without a regulation goal this season in 38 games — scored the winner past Marc-Andre Fleury.
“Sometimes during that streak, it felt like no matter how hard we tried, we were not able to get wins and then the pressure starts to building," Donskoi said. "I think getting that win out of the way now, it's a little bit of a relief and I'm sure we're going to get some energy from this moving forward."
It was Seattle’s first win since Dec. 14 at San Jose, first home win since Dec. 3 against Edmonton and first time this season coming back to win when trailing entering the third period. The Kraken are 1-16-1 when trailing after two periods.
Seattle goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 25 saves. He was asked to make just six in the third period and overtime combined.
“We were really close in the last couple of games,” Grubauer said. “We didn’t get that bounce, where maybe today got that bounce.”
Fleury was the best player on the ice for most of the day and did everything possible to get Chicago into the shootout. Fleury made 35 saves and had 14 in the third period alone.
Fleury robbed Jared McCann with a terrific glove save on a power play opportunity early in the third. Fleury later stopped McCann on the first regulation penalty shot in Kraken history after McCann was tripped on a breakaway by Riley Stillman.
Alex Wennberg hit the post in the final seconds of overtime for Seattle.
“It’s unbelievable sometimes. Actually today I was just sitting on the bench watching the replay like, ‘What is he doing out there?’' Chicago's Dominic Kubalik said of Fleury. ”It's unbelievable. I'm not saying I'm expecting it's going in but somehow ... he was amazing. He gave us the point."
Both the goals Fleury allowed were partly the result of his defensemen. Vince Dunn’s goal in the second period deflected off Stillman. Donato’s equalizer early in the third period came when Fleury made the initial save but was taken out by Caleb Jones, allowing Donato to score on the rebound.
“I was thinking pass right away, but you only get so many chances in a game where you’re in the clear and you have tons of time and space to get a good shot off,” Donato said.
Kubalik scored his ninth of the season on a breakaway at 12:06 of the second period to give Chicago the lead. Donato lost the puck in Chicago’s zone, and Erik Gustafsson was able to find Kubalik open with a long stretch pass behind the Seattle defense.
Chicago capitalized on a power play later in the second. Patrick Kane’s slap-pass was tipped by Kubalik and Grubauer made the initial save. But the puck fell to Brandon Hagel in the scramble with an open net.
Seattle avoided becoming the fourth expansion team since 1991 with a losing streak of at least 10 games. San Jose lost 13 straight during the 1991-92 season. Ottawa had losing streaks of 11 twice and 14 games during the 1992-93 season. And Atlanta had losing streaks of 10 and 12 games during the 1999-2000 season.
NOTES: Seattle claimed F Karson Kuhlman off waivers from Boston and placed F Morgan Geekie on injured reserve. Geekie has missed the previous three games with an upper body injury. Kuhlman has appeared in 19 games and has two points. ... Chicago D Seth Jones has tested out of COVID-19 protocol, but the Blackhawks chose not to have him fly to Seattle at the last minute and play significant minutes, interim coach Derek King said. ... Fleury was named the NHL’s second star of the week after going 3-0-0 with a .957 save percentage and a shutout last week.
Blackhawks: Chicago hosts Minnesota on Friday.
Kraken: Seattle hosts San Jose on Thursday.
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