Ducks sunk by Kraken in final game of season series

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Penalties and a lack of shots plagued the Ducks in their final matchup of the season against the Seattle Kraken.

ANAHEIM, Calif. – In their final season matchup on Friday night against the Seattle Kraken, the Anaheim Ducks fell 3-1. Leo Carlsson was Anaheim’s lone goalscorer, with a sweet between-the-legs move to pull the puck to his forehand and rip a wrist shot past Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer.

Just like last week when Anaheim faced Seattle twice in three days, penalties proved to be an issue once again. The Kraken had 15 power play opportunities combined in those two games and converted on five of those opportunities. They had five more on Friday, though they converted on just one of those five this time around.

The Ducks mustered just eight shots on goal in the second and third periods combined after putting nine on net in the first period. They outshot the Kraken 5-4 in the third period, but Seattle appeared content to keep Anaheim away from high-danger areas and run out the clock for most of the third.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Jackson LaCombe (60) plays for the puck against Seattle Kraken right wing Jordan Eberle (7) during the third period at Honda Center. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

“The first period, we were jumping,” said Ducks head coach Greg Cronin. “Right before they scored the (first) goal, we had consecutive turnovers and then we lose a faceoff––which has been a real problem for us since the deadline, we lost two centermen, we’ve had a hard time in the dot––and then they score on a deflection.”

“Give them credit,” continued Cronin. “They came out and they built off that. They had consecutive shifts where they controlled the play. In the second period, they played a good team game and we didn’t respond to it. We continued to turn pucks over, we didn’t defend well and we were lucky that it was only 3-0 after two.”

Shane Wright, who was recently recalled from the Coachella Firebirds in the AHL, scored the Kraken’s first two goals. The first was a nifty deflection off a shot from the high slot by Oliver Bjorkstrand while the second came in the slot all alone.

“It was just a lost coverage,” said Cronin. “One guy’s got one guy to cover and he forgets he’s there. That’s just a completely blown coverage, there’s no confusion there. I don’t know how you don’t know there’s a guy there.”

Defenseman Radko Gudas made his return to the Ducks lineup after missing 10 games with an upper-body injury. The veteran said that it was nice to get out there and “hit some bodies” as a player whose physical attributes are among one of his strengths.

“He was off,” said Cronin. “His passing was off. Some of his decision-making was off. That’s going to happen though, he hasn’t played in a while.”

Regarding the goalscorer Carlsson, it was his 10th goal of the season and his first since Feb. 29 against the San Jose Sharks, the same game in which he suffered a concussion which caused him to miss two weeks.

“Credit to him,” said Cronin. “I think when you watch him play, if you’re on our team you say, ‘Wow, that guy’s a good hockey player. We’ve got to try and mirror his effort’. He’s got talent, obviously, but he works. He works to get pucks back, he works to backcheck, he works in the (defensive) zone. So, for me, he’s a good role model for the whole group and he’s only 19.”