In a season of debuts for the Seattle Kraken, Matty Beniers may have had the best one yet.

The 19-year-old, who was the Kraken’s first pick in their first NHL draft last spring and the second pick overall, made his first start in his first home game Saturday night in front of 17,151 at Climate Pledge Arena.

He scored his first goal, a rebound off the post of a shot from Vince Dunn that Jared McCann tipped late in the second period to key an eventual 4-3 shootout win for the Kraken.

Beniers called it “a lucky goal for me. You don’t get many of those where it’s popping out and sitting in the crease and you bat it in. It was a great feeling.’’

Ryan Donato got the only goal of the shootout for either team while goalie Philipp Grubauer made two saves as the Kraken improved to 24-44-6.

It was the Kraken’s 10th overtime game and fourth that went to a shootout as they’ve won three.


Beniers’ goal, which put the Kraken ahead 3-2, came on his third shot of the game and came as Seattle rallied from a 2-1 deficit after the first period.

Beniers gave the Kraken a chance to win in the extra period when he drew a cross-checking penalty that gave them a 4-3-man advantage for the final 1:15.

Alas, the Kraken couldn’t take advantage.

And in the storybook version of the night, Beniers would have made his shootout attempt — he went second of three after Donato — to sew the game up. Instead, he saw his shot saved by Devils goalie Nico Daws.

But simply being called upon for the shootout was a big statement for a player in just his second NHL game.

“I felt like through his play in the first 65 minutes he’d earned the opportunity to be part of it somewhere,’’ Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said.

Indeed, it was a home debut that featured a bit of everything.


He took a puck off his foot in the first period that had him sit out for a few shifts.

He finished with 18:14 of ice time, with three shots — one made, one blocked and one missed — just six days after signing with the Kraken after finishing his season at the University of Michigan.

“I feel like he played a real good, solid hockey game and his linemates made some plays at critical times which is what you look for,’’ Hakstol said.

Beniers had made his NHL debut Tuesday at Calgary, getting an assist in a 5-3 loss.

Beniers’ family, including father Robert and mother Christine, was in attendance Saturday, shown on the big screen before the game, and among those joining in the raucous applause that greeted the goal as it happened and roared again as he headed to the bench and it was announced.

“It was electric,’’ Beniers said.

The Kraken hope it is just the first of many for a player whose arrival has pumped some juice into the final weeks of a season that began with optimism but too quickly was met with the realities of life as an expansion team.


Beniers started on a line with Donato and Jordan Eberle and made an impact from the start, winning the opening faceoff against Dawson Mercer, a first-round pick of the Devils in 2020.

But other than the sight of Beniers getting his first start, the game for most of the first two periods seemed headed to another night of disappointment.

But trailing 2-1 with under five minutes left in the second period, the Kraken scored two goals in a span of 1:37 to take the lead.

First, Carson Soucy fired in a slap shot off a nice pass from Jared McCann to tie it at 2 at the 15:20 mark of the second period.

It was Soucy’s 10th goal of the season.

Then came Beniers’ goal that sent the place rocking.

The Devils tied it again at the 4:55 mark of the third period on a goal by Damon Severson on a play in which for the second time on the night Soucy lost his stick and was trying to play defense without it. One of the assists was from Nathan Bastian, who began the season with the Kraken and played 12 games before being waived and claimed by the Devils, with whom he had played the last two seasons.

The Devils controlled much of the opening moments and scored just 3:12 into the game on a wrist shot by Jesper Bratt that stuck inside the side of the net past Grubauer. It was the 24th goal of the year for Bratt, the team’s leading scorer.


The Kraken didn’t need long to get a tying goal, on a slap shot from the right side by Will Borgen at 10:49 that beat Daws, New Jersey’s rookie goalie. It was Borgen’s second of the season.

The Devils regained the lead at 16:14 of the first on a wrist shot from by Jesper Boqvist capping a period in which they outshot the Kraken 8-6 and it stayed there until Soucy and Beniers’ goals in the second.

The Kraken have eight games remaining, four more at home, including Monday night against the Ottawa Senators.

The Devils are 26-42-7, seventh in the Metropolitan Division.