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Pointless in Seattle: No Comeback for Penguins in 2-0 Loss



The Pittsburgh Penguins had been forced to play from behind in three consecutive games before they visited Seattle Thursday night.

Each time, they’d found a way to rally and grab a victory.

So when the Kraken got the first goal at Climate Pledge Arena, the Penguins probably weren’t overly concerned. Especially not when they had a clear advantage in play.

But there would be no comeback this time, as Seattle hung on to defeat them, 2-0.

And so the Penguins’ three-game winning streak is over, their record has slipped to 27-22-8 and their longshot playoff prospects have grown a bit dimmer.

Oh, they played well enough to win, especially during the first half of the game, but this is a team that needs points, not moral victories.

Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer stopped 33 shots to earn the shutout, his first of the season.

The Penguins, so often victimized by slow starts this season, had no such problem against the Kraken, as they recorded the first six shots of the game.

The Penguins would go on to run up an 11-3 edge in shots — including an uncontested one by Jeff Carter from inside the right circle after a nice cross-ice feed by Jansen Harkins — but that didn’t prevent the Kraken from opening the scoring.

Oliver Bjorkstrand scored it at 12:25, swatting a puck past Tristan Jarry from in front of the net to cap a bizarre sequence.

It began when a shot from the right point by Seattle defenseman Will Borgen hit teammate Alex Wennberg in the slot and fluttered high in the air. Jarry appeared to lose track of it, and it eventually dropped to the ice near the crease, where Bjorkstrand was able to pounce on it.

That goal invigorated Seattle, which had a chance to double its lead when Penguins defenseman Ryan Graves was penalized for holding at 15:23.

The Penguins got through those two minutes unscathed — their 18th successful kill in their past 20 shorthanded situations — and were awarded a power play of their own one second after Graves’ minor expired, as Kraken winger Jaden Schwartz was sent off for tripping Lars Eller.

However, they managed just one shot on Grubauer, the same total the Kraken had gotten on Jarry while Graves was in the box.

The Pittsburgh Penguins reached the intermission with an 18-7 advantage in shots, a fairly accurate reflection of how the period had unfolded.

Jarry kept the Penguins’ deficit at one by denying Kraken winger Tye Kartye on a rebound 2 1/2 minutes into the second, and they went on their second power play after Schwartz was caught holding Emil Bemstrom at 5:01.

Although their work on that man-advantage was better than the first, the Penguins again failed to convert. Grubauer’s most severe test came on a turning backhander by Rickard Rakell from point-blank range a minute into the Penguins’ time with the extra man.

Jansen Harkins had a chance to pull the Penguins even at 13:30, on a close-range deflection after a set-up by Graves. Although Grubauer was able to make the save, Kraken defenseman Brian Dumoulin was penalized for high-sticking Harkins.

The Penguins failed to capitalize on a power play for the third time.

Graves picked up his second minor of the game at 6:37 of the third, as he was called for roughing Seattle’s Kailer Yamamoto. The Kraken was limited to one shot while Graves was off the ice, but got another chance with the man-advantage when Lars Eller high-sticked ex-Penguin Jared McCann at 14:07, and made the most of it.

Wennberg capped a furious scramble around the Penguins’ net by getting a shot past Jarry from close range at 15:03 to put Seattle up, 2-0.

Coach Mike Sullivan replaced Jarry with an extra attacker with 2 1/2 minutes to go in regulation, but the Penguins could not manufacture a goal.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are scheduled to practice Friday at 2:15 p.m. Eastern at the Saddledome in Calgary.