NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Seattle Kraken wound up having to wait longer to play their first regular-season game on home ice than they did their first victory.
Brandon Tanev scored his second goal into an empty net with 1:21 left, and the Kraken beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 Thursday night for the first victory in the expansion franchise’s second game.
“I think it’s phenomenal,” goalie Philipp Grubauer said. “It doesn’t only speak for the group, it speaks for the organization and rewards the people that put in the work for two years or longer.”
Alex Wennberg and Jared McCann each had a goal and an assist for Seattle, which is playing its first five games away from home while the final touches are put on the Kraken’s new arena.
The Kraken also became the latest expansion franchise to win its first game with the Predators, improving that mark to 3-1-1. They joined Columbus (Nov. 16, 2000) and Vegas (Dec. 8, 2017) in that group.
Coach Dave Hakstol said it was good to get the first win in franchise history.
“I think you saw a little bit of that stress in us in our play in the third period,” Hakstol said. “Guys were calm and pretty focused. I know guys were really excited to be able to get the first win, especially as it sinks in. It’s the first win in franchise history, that’s a big deal for everybody.”
Tanev’s second goal on Seattle’s lone shot in the third period was the winner. Mikael Granlund, who also had two assists, scored with 39.9 seconds left to pull Nashville within 4-3. The Predators couldn’t beat Grubauer again, even with goalie Juuse Saros still out for the extra attacker.
Grubauer made 12 saves in the third as Nashville outshot Seattle 30-26 in the game. The goalie credited the Kraken keeping it simple, even as they will need to quit giving up so many shots in the final period.
“Overall, we grinded it out,” Grubauer said. “It’s always difficult to get the first one out of the way, and we did.”
Wennberg said the Kraken took a bit of a step back in the third, trying to play safe protecting the lead. That’s not the tactic they’ll want in the future. He said getting that first franchise victory mattered more.
“We really wanted this win,” Wennberg said. “And sometimes at the end, it isn’t always pretty, but we’ve got to play that way to win and today we did whatever it takes.”
Roman Josi and Eeli Tolvanen scored for Nashville, and Filip Forsberg had two assists. The Predators came in with a .614 winning percentage in season openers, fourth-highest in NHL history for franchises with at least 10 such games. The Predators also had won seven of their last eight home openers and 11 of 14.
This time, Nashville had a pair of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans wide receivers waving the rally flag to help kick off the new season in Julio Jones and Chester Rogers.
Tolvanen scored on Nashville’s first shot, from the slot 3:18 into the game. The lead didn’t last as Nashville’s penalty kill woes continued into the new season.
Yakov Trenin picked up a roughing and a fighting major in the first fight in Seattle history with Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn. But the minor gave Seattle the man advantage, and McCann scored on a wrister at 15:27. Then Alexandre Carrier tripped Alex Barret-Boule, and Tanev scored with 2:27 left in the period for a 2-1 lead.
Josi tied it up on a 5-on-3 early in the second. But Wennberg had an easy tap-in into an open net behind Saros for another Seattle lead at 3-2 midway through the period.
Nashville coach John Hynes said the Predators didn’t get off to the start they wanted and the penalties didn’t help.
“Competitively we got better as the game went on,” Hynes said. “In the third period, we did a good job, but it wasn’t enough.”
The Predators gave a video tribute early in the first period to Jeff Camelio, the Kraken’s head equipment manager. Camelio spent 15 seasons as Nashville’s assistant equipment manager with the 2019-20 season his last with the Predators.
Seattle also has a pair of former Predators in forward Calle Jarnkrok, picked in the expansion draft after eight seasons with Nashville. Jarnkrok was one of 13 skaters in Nashville history to play at least 500 games with the franchise. Forward Colin Blackwell made his NHL debut with Nashville in 2018-19.
Neither played Thursday night, with Jarnkrok in the COVID-19 protocol and Blackwell dealing with a lower-body injury.
Predators forward Filip Forsberg had an assist on Josi’s goal, giving him at least a point in Nashville’s last five season openers. That’s the longest active scoring streak in the NHL in season openers, and he became the 12th player in NHL history to score in at least five straight openers.
Forsberg finished with one shot on goal. Linemates Ryan Johansen had one shot on goal, and Matt Duchene had four.
The Kraken continue their franchise-opening road swing Saturday afternoon at Columbus.
Nashville hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
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