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News / Sports / National Sports

Wennberg, McCann lead Kraken to 4-2 win over Blue Jackets

By NICOLE KRAFT, Associated Press
Published: March 3, 2023, 7:18pm
2 Photos
Seattle Kraken's Alex Wennberg (21) scores against Columbus Blue Jackets' Elvis Merzlikins, left, as Andrew Peeke, right front, defends during the third period of an NHL hockey game Friday, March 3, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio.
Seattle Kraken's Alex Wennberg (21) scores against Columbus Blue Jackets' Elvis Merzlikins, left, as Andrew Peeke, right front, defends during the third period of an NHL hockey game Friday, March 3, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) Photo Gallery

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Alex Wennberg and Jared McCann each had a goal and an assist, and the Seattle Kraken beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 Friday night for their third straight road win and a season series sweep.

Jordan Eberle and Brandon Tanev also scored for Seattle, and Vince Dunn had two assists. Philipp Grubauer stopped 23 shots for the Kraken, who stayed ahead of Edmonton for third place in the Pacific Division — two points behind Los Angeles and Vegas.

“We had a really consistent effort,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “I liked our third period. We came out and were on our toes in the third period — could have easily stretch the lead in the first part of that period. That didn’t happen, but we responded well and were able to close out the game.”

Adam Boqvist and Patrik Laine each had a goal and an assist for Columbus, which has lost two of its last three games and remains in the NHL basement. Elvis Merzlikins, in his first game as the Blue Jackets’ full-time starter after the trade of Joonas Korpisalo to Los Angeles, stopped 34 shots.

“It wasn’t like a terrible effort,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “I know there’s another level of competitiveness at the puck that’s going to be required. We could have killed a lot more plays and had the puck more.”

Laine put Columbus on the board at 10:18 of the second period with the first power-play goal given up by Seattle in nine games dating back to Feb. 14.

The lead was short-lived, as Seattle got two goals in 48 seconds — one from McCann and the other on the power-play from Eberele.

Boqvist pulled Columbus even at 4:53 of the third, but a goal from Wennberg against his former team 9 seconds into a Kraken power-play, his first since Jan. 28, to put Seattle up for good at 7:12.

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“It’s nice to have success and score against your former team,” Wennberg said. “Right now it doesn’t matter who scores. It’s important to win the game.”

Tanev scored the empty-netter with 47.5 seconds remaining to seal the win.

HELLO AND GOODBYE

The Blue Jackets had a new face in the backup goalie spot after welcoming Michael Hutchinson from Vegas as part of a flurry of trades that also sent defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and goalie Joonas Korpisalo west to Los Angeles.

INJURY UPDATE

Former Portland Winterhawk Oliver Bjorkstrand, in his first Columbus appearance since being traded to Seattle in the offseason, left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury. … Columbus forward Sean Kuraly suffered a left oblique strain in practice Thursday and will be sidelined the remainder of the season.

FIVE TO SURVIVE

McCann’s assist on Eberle’s goal extended his point streak to five games, matching his career high.

NOT IN TRADING MOOD

Seattle general manager Ron Francis resisted the urge to shake up his second-year team’s roster that began the day third in the Pacific Division standings.

“I think it’s easy to overpay for players at this point of the season. Your emotions get involved, and you want to do that,” Francis said. “At the end of the day, we believe in this group that we have, and didn’t think there were prices that we were willing to pay at this point to change the chemistry.”

UP NEXT

Kraken at Colorado on Sunday night.

KRAKEN 4, BLUE JACKETS 2

Seattle 0 2 2—4

Columbus 0 1 1—2

First Period—None.

Second Period—1, Columbus, Laine 18 (Gaudreau, Boqvist), 10:18 (pp). 2, Seattle, McCann 30 (Bjorkstrand, Dunn), 13:20 (pp). 3, Seattle, Eberle 14 (McCann, Wennberg), 14:08.

Third Period—4, Columbus, Boqvist 3 (Gudbranson, Laine), 4:53. 5, Seattle, Wennberg 11 (Tolvanen, Dunn), 7:12 (pp). 6, Seattle, Tanev 12 (Schwartz), 19:12 (en).

Shots on Goal—Seattle 12-11-12—35. Columbus 10-5-8—23.

Power-play opportunities—Seattle 2 of 4; Columbus 1 of 4.

Goalies—Seattle, Grubauer 10-11-3 (23 shots-21 saves). Columbus, Merzlikins 7-16-2 (34-31).

A—18,712 (18,500). T—2:29.

Referees—Jake Brenk, Chris Rooney. Linesmen—Scott Cherrey, Jonny Murray.

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