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News / Sports / National Sports

Kraken outlast Wild 4-3 in final regular-season game for non-playoff teams

Seattle finishes 35-34-13 after reaching playoffs last season

By DAVE CAMPBELL, AP Sports Writer
Published: April 18, 2024, 7:15pm
5 Photos
Seattle Kraken center Matty Beniers (10) celebrates his goal against the Minnesota Wild with teammates during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, April 18, 2024, in St. Paul, Minn.
Seattle Kraken center Matty Beniers (10) celebrates his goal against the Minnesota Wild with teammates during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, April 18, 2024, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) Photo Gallery

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Tye Kartye tipped in a slap shot by Oliver Bjorkstrand for the tiebreaking goal with 2:40 remaining, and the Seattle Kraken held on to beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Thursday night to wrap up the regular season for two teams that missed the playoffs.

Brock Faber answered Yanni Gourde’s empty-netter with 1:46 left by scoring for the Wild on a 6-on-4 power play with 1:05 left and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury pulled, but Kraken goalie Joey Daccord — who had 21 saves — and the defense held up.

“It’s been tough sledding all year, and I think it was only fitting that we brought it down to the wire there at the last second,” Daccord said.

Brandon Tanev, who assisted on both of Gourde’s third period goals, painfully blocked a shot with his lower body in the final seconds that had him doubled over on the ice at the final horn.

“Turbo made some elite blocks there,” Gourde said. “Everybody battled.”

Kirill Kaprizov scored his 46th goal of the season on a power play in the first period, and Mats Zuccarello had the tying goal midway through the third period for the Wild.

Matty Beniers tied the game for the Kraken in the second period on a power play tip-in before Gourde’s short-handed breakaway. He later scored on an empty-netter.

Beniers, the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, dropped to 15 goals and 37 points this season after the first-line center had 24 goals and 57 points in 2022-23.

Kaprizov finished with 96 points this season after a slow start, by far the second-most in franchise history behind his 105 points in 2021-22 when he had 47 goals and 61 assists to set the all-time Wild marks in all three categories. Kevin Fiala is third with 85 points in 2021-22.

When Kraken leading scorer Jared McCann made a blind pass away from the boards toward teammate Will Borgen, Kaprizov intercepted it and flicked in an unobstructed wrist shot for the early lead.

The Wild have had five 40-goal scorers in their 23-season history, including Kaprizov three times. Eric Staal (2017-18) and Marian Gaborik (2007-08) were the others.

“If you’re really going to go places in this league, you really need a player of his caliber and what he means to the team in situations he plays in,” coach John Hynes said. “I really respect his effort.”

Daccord had a strong season for the Kraken, but after upsetting 2022 champion Colorado in the first round of the playoffs last spring, the club took a step backward. They and the Wild were in a crowd of teams in the mix for the Western Conference wild-card spots, but they were eliminated seven games ago.

The Wild were ousted from contention five games ago, missing the postseason for just the second time in 12 years. Fleury, who signed a $2.5 million contract extension to return for next season and received the Wild’s nomination for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, the NHL’s annual leadership and philanthropy award, was one bright spot. He passed Patrick Roy for second place on the all-time wins list in January.

The 39-year-old was presented with the Wild’s Tom Kurvers Humanitarian Award on the ice before the game. Kurvers, an assistant general manager for the Wild, died in 2021 of cancer.

For all the fuss made over Fleury this year, he has quickly pointed to his absence from the playoffs — for the first time since 2006 — as the overriding theme of the season.

“The last little stretch here in the season was weird, playing for nothing really, right?” said Fleury, who made 23 saves. “So, not a good feeling, and definitely something I don’t want to feel next year.”

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KRAKEN 4, WILD 3

Seattle                          0       1        3—4

Minnesota                     1      0        2—3

First Period—1, Minnesota, Kaprizov 46, 4:04 (pp).

Second Period—2, Seattle, Beniers 15 (Bjorkstrand, Schultz), 11:00 (pp).

Third Period—3, Seattle, Gourde 10 (Tanev), 6:38 (sh). 4, Minnesota, Zuccarello 12 (Middleton, Boldy), 11:13. 5, Seattle, Kartye 11 (Bjorkstrand, McCann), 17:20. 6, Seattle, Gourde 11 (Oleksiak, Tanev), 18:14 (en). 7, Minnesota, Hartman 22 (Faber, Boldy), 18:55 (pp).

Shots on Goal—Seattle 7-11-9—27. Minnesota 7-5-11—23.

Power-play opportunities—Seattle 1 of 3; Minnesota 2 of 4.

Goalies—Seattle, Daccord 18-18-11 (23 shots-20 saves). Minnesota, Fleury 17-14-5 (26-23).

A—19,138 (18,064). T—2:26.

Referees—Michael Markovic, Jordan Samuels-Thomas. Linesmen—Ryan Gibbons, Trent Knorr.

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