NEW YORK — An upbeat Kraken captain Mark Giordano played up the positive side about how his determined team had once again deployed its tested formula for knocking off one of the league’s better squads.

The Kraken had finally struck game-tying paydirt Sunday on the 42nd of a season-high 42 shots fired at New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin and were poised to force overtime for the second straight contest. But despite solving the near-impenetrable Shesterkin, the Kraken still took a gut-wrenching 3-2 loss when they couldn’t figure out a way for Riley Sheahan to avoid getting steamrolled by Chris Kreider off a critical final minute faceoff.

With Sheahan down and out and the shooting lane freed up, K’Andre Miller moved in from the right point and his 50-foot snap shot beat Philipp Grubauer with 33.7 seconds remaining to lift the Madison Square Garden sellout crowd of 18,008 to its feet. Sheahan argued vociferously that he’d been interfered with, but Giordano and company nonetheless fell to 14-26-4 on a day they deserved better.

“There’s not much you can say about it,” Giordano said. “That wasn’t a breakdown or anything like that. It was just a faceoff win with a pick and they score. So, that’s about it. But other than that we played pretty hard tonight.”

Indeed, they threw pretty much everything at netminder Shesterkin before Yanni Gourde finally pumped the tying power-play goal past him on a slap shot with 1:08 to go in regulation and Grubauer pulled for a 6-on-4 advantage. It was a near carbon copy of their win three nights earlier in Pittsburgh, with the Kraken outworking a top NHL team most of the game and overcoming a one-goal deficit late.

“I thought we played a really good game throughout,” Giordano said. “I thought we generated a lot of shots. … We threw a lot of pucks towards him. You’re not going to get more than two or three on that guy most nights. He’s a top goaltender in the league for a reason and made a lot of big saves.”


The Kraken had scored twice late to pull out that overtime win in Pittsburgh. After a snow postponement and extended layoff switching hotels from Long Island to Manhattan, they hit the ice here looking as aggressive as they’d been against the Penguins.

They enjoyed a 42-24 shot margin and largely outplayed the home team at even strength. But the Rangers have one of the league’s top power plays and Mika Zibanejad made them pay in the first period with a one-timed shot down low that beat Grubauer to open the scoring at the 11:46 mark. 

Zibanejad beat Grubauer cleanly again at 4:23 of the second period from much the same left circle position only to have the puck rattle off the short side post. It bounced right out to former No. 1 overall draft pick Alexis Lafreniere where he whacked it home for a 2-0 lead with Jeremy Lauzon trying to lift his stick. 

But Jared McCann got his team right back in it just under three minutes later with his 18th of the season.

The Rangers entered the game 28-13-4 overall and with a 13-4-1 mark at a home building that’s been around in various incarnations since 1879.  

“It was a tough way to lose,” Giordano said. “It was a fun, fun game to play in. I always like coming to this rink and playing in New York.”


Shesterkin, who entered with the league’s third-best goals-against average at 2.10 and second-highest save percentage at .937, had a brilliant 31-save performance in a 3-1 victory over the Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena back on Oct. 31. He’d won seven of eight coming in while limiting opponents to two goals or fewer in 10 of his past 15 contests.

“He sees the puck well and he battles real hard to trap it,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “He’s a real good goaltender.”

Interestingly, when McCann finally got a puck past the Russian netminder, it was on a close-in shot off a 3-on-2 rush that Shesterkin appeared to have covered. But the puck somehow sneaked by Shesterkin, visibly frustrated afterward, to give the Kraken new life. 

It looked for a while as if it would be the final goal scored on him. Still, the Kraken kept coming in a 17-shot third period and finally broke through — only to be denied seconds later.

“I think I’m just going to stay away from it,” Hakstol said of commenting on Sheahan possibly being interfered with ahead of the winning goal. “We lost a faceoff and from there … I’m not going to waste my time on that play or how I feel about it. I think that would take away from the spotlight of how well our team played and how hard our team played today.”

Miller said of the sequence leading to his decisive goal that Kreider “was obviously helping out a little bit with picking a guy a little bit” in flattening Sheahan to free up the shooting lane. Earlier that period, Miller had been stopped by Grubauer on a breakaway to keep things within reach for the Kraken until Gourde tied it late.


“I think we had that shooting mentality,” Gourde said. “Those o-zone plays we made, good things are going to happen eventually. Pucks are going to get in.”

Gourde admitted the team still left a few too many rebounds unconverted. But he liked the Kraken’s overall approach going to the net as they did.

“Honestly, the game was right there,” Gourde said. “Not getting out of here with at least a point was very unfortunate. … You’ve got to be proud of the guys because they battled for 60 minutes. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to come out with any points but like I mentioned, we had the right mentality and we played pretty well.”