Donskoi defeated future Hall of Fame goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury in the Kraken’s third shootout attempt to take a 3-2 victory in Seattle over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. It’s not officially Donskoi’s first goal of the season, but he’s certainly not interested in the technical aspect.
Donskoi’s score, plus comparable shootout success by No. 1 star Ryan Donato, secured the winning margin because Kraken goalkeeper Philip Grubauer turned away two more surefire Hall of Famers, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, during Chicago’s first two shootout attempts.
The sound that any fan who entered Climate Pledge Arena would expect to hear when the Kraken recorded their first home shootout win was Seattle decibel worthy and then some. It was a drama-filled matinee game for day and night.
“We deserved it today, we played 60 minutes,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “We had the balance to play. Grubi made big saves and we made those plays in the shootout.
“We responded to a few goals on… [twice] tie the game. Grubi looked as calm and confident as he had all year, especially what he did in the shootout against some pretty experienced shooters.”
Hakstol, of course, was asked about breaking the nine-game streak during the post-game zoom scrum.
“We’ve had some rough mornings where we needed some time to regroup,” Hakstol said. “It’s not fun, you go through those difficult parts… It was a lot of fun [today] And it was great to do it in front of our own fans, who were incredible.”
Video: [email protected]: Donskoi buries his shot to win the shootout
Donato wears special tie, shoots, scores
After Fleury Kraken stopped All-Star Jordan Eberle on the first shootout attempt, Donato grabbed the puck for his team’s second attempt. He patiently skated from the center ice to Fleury and started winding one way, then the other.
Reaching Fleury’s proximity, Donato kept the dangling going in an attempt to force Fleury to make the first move. It worked. Fleury flopped down to block all low chances, but Donato calmly lifted the puck high above Fleury.
A reporter after the game asked Donato about his strategy for getting his shot past Fleury.
“I just say a prayer and hope for the best,” Donato said.
Donskoi apparently scouted his teammate’s shooting target. His winning shot was also high, beating Fleury on the glove side. Any fan watching Monday’s thriller will know that Fleury used that gauntlet several times to make spectacular saves that even Chicago teammates thought went to the back of the net.
As first reported by Kraken colleague and ROOTS SPORTS Northwest TV analyst JT Brown, Donato arrived at Climate Pledge Arena Monday wearing a game-worn tie belonging to Colby Cave, his former Boston Bruins teammate who died at age 25. of a sudden brain haemorrhage in April 2020. Cave’s wife, Emily, attended Monday’s game and had given the draw to Donato.
Donato smiled when asked about the tie: “It was special. I wore Colb’s tie. He was a good friend of mine. Emily was here today. I think he was here with me too.”
Fleury’s ‘Grade-A’ first period
Fleury stayed on the ice until the end of the warm-ups for Monday’s matinee, as he faced breakouts from the Blackhawks’ most dangerous scorers.
He was flipped on one of the escapes, but instead of smoking, he made a full spin in his net, looking like a child leaning in a curve of the water park. Fresh off a third shutout of the season Saturday, the 37-year-old is clearly still having boyish fun in his 18th NHL season.
That’s not the norm for starting NHL goalkeepers. Most save their energy for the game, take a little pre-game shots, stretch and rest.
Turns out Fleury had plenty of zipper left for Kraken shooters.
The first period ended scoreless thanks to eight saves by Fleury, half of which were Grade-A saves according to NaturalStatTrick.com. Alexander True, Jarnkrok Street, Donato and Eberle fired off that quartet with Fleury, mixing veteran positioning and still formidable athletic moves to stop them all.
The best chance of the first period for Seattle was Eberle’s multiple dekes to bypass Chicago defenders and get a scoreless inside shot from Fleury.
Dunn binds it, Fleury can’t see it
The Kraken eventually solved Fleury 15 minutes into the second period. defender Adam Larsson (eighth assist of the season) and Riley Sheahan (4th assist) cycled the puck in the Chicago zone. Sheahan passed to Kraken D-man Vince Dunno, who fired a shot from the blue line into the middle lane.
The shot went past a Chicago defender, but was deflected off Blackhawks defender Riley Stillman, who was jousting with Donato. In fact, it was annoyance and shifting to hit Stillman high and lead the puck past Fleury, tapping the bar and barging in for the equalizer.
Fleury bobbed his head trying to follow the puck. But there was no chance of that until the target light was already on. When Dunn was asked by ROOT SPORTS Northwest’s Jen Mueller how to beat Fleury during the first break, Dunn suggested “taking his eyes off a little more”.
Video: [email protected]: Dunn fires in a wrist shot from the point
Donato double work
After helping to distract and screen Fleury for the Dunn goal, Donato scored his ninth goal of the year on an icy rush of speed that he capped off with a shot at the Chicago goalkeeper. Fleury stood his ground, but was worried about Kraken’s attacker Mason Appleton, who had joined Donato for a 2-on-1 attempt.
Fleury made another great save on the first shot. When Fleury and his defender collided, Donato followed with a shot and a goal unassisted.
Video: [email protected]: Donato grabs his own rebound and scores
Grubauer matched the goose eggs for the first 32 minutes of this match at Climate Pledge Arena. He stuck with it after Chicago came out 1-0 and 2-1, made big saves and kept Seattle in the game.
During the second period, Chicago and his group of talented scorers peppered Grubauer with 16 shots. Highlights included stops on Kane and Eric Gustafsson.
Video: Donoto, Donskoi push Kraken to Shootout win
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