ANAHEIM, California — One area the Kraken have made significant improvements on is their penalty-killing and much of it has come from an unlikely source.

Joonas Donskoi is better known for his work on the power-play, but he’s increasingly been trusted when the Kraken are at a man disadvantage. Donskoi on Tuesday night helped kill off the bulk of a crucial penalty to Vince Dunn in the second period of what was still a scoreless game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Kraken went on to win 3-1, scoring three third period goals.

“I haven’t played a lot of PK in the past,” Donskoi said, adding he takes “a lot of pride” in being trusted to do the job. “I started playing it the last couple of years with the (Colorado) Avalanche. So, I’m proud and very excited that I’m getting a lot of opportunities on the penalty kill. I’m just trying to do a good job and hopefully I can be trustworthy.”

The Kraken entered Wednesday night’s contest against the Anaheim Ducks riding a four-game streak in which they hadn’t allowed a power play goal. They’d hoped to do it five straight games for the first time this season, but that ended 1:52 into the second period when Troy Terry beat Philipp Grubauer over his left shoulder with Mark Giordano in the penalty box for holding. 

Since Nov. 21, the Kraken had fended off 22 of 25 penalties, good for fifth best in the NHL over that span. Overall, they’d killed 50 penalties in 61 attempts for an 82% success rate that’s 12th best of 32 teams.


Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said Donskoi, despite having yet to score this season entering Wednesday’s game, has been a “very reliable” 5-on-5 player as well as on both special teams units. Hakstol said Donskoi “has very good instincts” on the penalty kill and has become “one of our key guys and a real leader for us up front on the PK.” 

Donskoi recorded an assist against the Sharks, his 200th career point versus a team he spent the first four seasons of his career with. He has 14 assists this season, good for the team lead despite not yet finding the net himself. 


Wednesday, the Kraken were trying to sweep their first back-to-back games this season. They previously split a pair on the road against Tampa Bay and Florida last month, got swept by the New York Rangers and Edmonton a month prior at home and also were swept in Philadelphia and New Jersey before that. 

Playing back-to-back, especially on the road, forces teams to alter their schedules to accommodate travel and fatigue. Hakstol opted not to have a morning skate Wednesday in Anaheim, preferring his players rest up and get physically and mentally prepared.

“Obviously, we do take care of most of our preparation at the hotel,” Hakstol said. “It’s a little bit out of routine but everybody’s used to back-to-backs. 

“And this is pretty typical of a back-to-back. Staying at the hotel, getting your body (adjusted) and some of the prep in at the hotel. Getting your body ready to go. 


“I’ll be honest, you probably simplify things just a little bit,” Hakstol added. “Shorten everything up, simplify things, just make sure that your mind is clear and you’re feeling physically good and ready to go.”

Kraken forward Alex Wennberg played in his 500th NHL game on Wednesday. Wennberg was one of eight Swedish born players on the ice during the game, with each team having four.

Besides Wennberg, the Kraken used Marcus Johansson, Calle Jarnkrok and Adam Larsson, while the Ducks played Rickard Rackell, Jakob Silfverberg, Isac Lundestrom and Hampus Lindholm. 

Wennberg and Rackell were teammates for Sweden at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. Johansson, Larsson and Silfverberg won a bronze for Sweden at the same tournament in 2010, while Johansson and Silfverberg teamed up for a silver at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. 

The Kraken had given up just one shorthanded goal this season — sixth best in the league — but Anaheim forward Derek Grant doubled total that on Wednesday by racing down the left side and scoring from the faceoff circle while killing a first period penalty.