NEW YORK — Despite the Kraken losing Sunday’s game, they spent most of the afternoon tying the hometown New York Rangers in knots.

Through two periods, the Rangers had managed just nine shots on goal. Though they got some breakaway chances late with the Kraken pressing for the tying goal, they’d otherwise been denied any odd-man rushes most of the contest.

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant wasn’t impressed at all with his group’s effort.

“It was awful,” he said.

Of the Kraken, he said: “They play hard. They send four lines at you. I’m not disrespecting their game. I’m talking about my team tonight.”

Gallant was “very disappointed” with his team’s overall approach coming off a pair of losses. Still, as mentioned, the Kraken had something to do with that given how they played a disciplined style that prevented the Rangers from freewheeling. 

“I thought we eliminated a lot of the rush,” Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano said. “Even when they did get entries, we did really good tracking. Guys getting back to the puck with sticks. So, we didn’t give up much.”

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According to the Natural Stat Trick website, the Kraken out-chanced the Rangers 60-38 overall. The “high danger” chances were much closer at 8-7 for the Kraken. 

Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said the game was a continuation of his team’s tight play during a win over Pittsburgh three days prior.

“When we take care of the puck and manage it well and make sure we’re not giving away anything easily — especially off the rush — we will become difficult to play against,” Hakstol said. “And that’s the way we played today. Not all the way through. There are patches to this game where we can play a little bit better. But for the most part we played a pretty damn good road game.”

Driedger return coming

Goaltender Chris Driedger is still waiting to play his first game since Jan. 15 after Philipp Grubauer got the start Sunday. Driedger, coming out of COVID-19 protocol, was to have played in one of the initially scheduled back-to-back weekend games before Saturday’s contest on Long Island, New York, was postponed due to a snowstorm.

Now, he’ll likely start either Tuesday in Boston or in Wednesday’s makeup of the Saturday postponement.

Notes

  • The Rangers entered the day with the fourth-most blocked shots in the NHL at 695. They managed 22 more on the day to just 12 by the Kraken. One of the better Rangers blocks was defenseman Jacob Trouba getting in front of a Marcus Johansson opportunity from the slot just 4:55 into what was then a scoreless game.
  • Kraken forward Calle Jarnkrok was a late scratch right at game time with an upper-body injury. “We went through the warmup and he wasn’t able to go,” Hakstol said, adding the forward had been dealing with an issue from the Penguins game last Thursday. 
  • The team was left further short-handed midway through the first period when Karson Kuhlman threw a bodycheck before hitting the boards hard and leaving with an upper-body injury. There was no immediate word on Kuhlman’s status or availability for Tuesday’s game in Boston. 
  • Jared McCann had a goal and an assist to add to his team lead in goals with 18 and in points with 28. McCann has now scored in three straight games, matching his career high. 
  • The Kraken faced a daunting task heading into the third period down a goal. New York had been 14-1-3 when leading after two frames and despite Yanni Gourde’s tying goal, still pulled out victory No. 15 late. 
  • Gourde’s goal gave him two goals and two assists his past three games against the Rangers.