VANCOUVER, British Columbia — There were times throughout Monday night’s contest when the Kraken appeared ready to give this whole rivalry thing a go.

They’d overcome a Vancouver Canucks goal just 11 seconds into the game and had a second-period lead in search of their first victory against their Pacific Division foes. Alas, they couldn’t hold on, taking a fourth-consecutive defeat with a 5-2 loss to the Canucks courtesy of a second-period barrage they couldn’t withstand.

“We were in a good spot after the first, and then I didn’t think we played very well from there on out,” Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano said. “I mean, anytime you give up that many shots and quality chances, you pretty much don’t have much of a chance.”

The Kraken were outshot 18-4 in that second period and 46-27 overall.

Travis Hamonic scored an equalizer early in the middle frame after Jared McCann and Giordano had answered the early goal against by Tyler Motte. The Hamonic shot from the right faceoff circle trickled through the pads of Chris Driedger, a result the Kraken netminder wanted back. Then, with just 3:19 left in the period, Vasily Podkolzin was left alone at the doorstep and easily slammed home a rebound to put the Canucks ahead to stay.

Bo Horvat then made it a two-goal game on a one-timer from the slot 35 seconds into the third period on a power play carried over from the prior frame. Driedger kept it close, stopping J.T. Miller on a clear-cut breakaway in the closing minutes, but the Kraken couldn’t get any closer.


Tanner Pearson sealed it with an empty-net goal with 1:32 remaining as Driedger was pulled for an extra attacker.

“We had a rough night with the puck all night,” Giordano said. “We usually break the puck out a lot cleaner and don’t spend time in our zone.”

It was the Kraken’s third straight loss to a Canucks team that beat them twice at Climate Pledge Arena before this debut Rogers Arena matchup between them. And as a result, the rivalry everyone in the NHL was hoping for when the Kraken became the league’s 32nd franchise has yet to materialize.

It takes two to tango, but thus far it’s been a Canucks tap-dance all over the Kraken, who’ve yet to score more than two goals in any of the three games. Vancouver entered the day seven points out of a playoff spot, and Giordano said the Kraken knew they’d be “desperate” for a win after tough recent losses.

Vancouver certainly got off to a good start, pouncing for the early goal after the puck took some tricky hops off what Driedger described as an uneven patch of ice in front of his net. But Driedger wasn’t happy with the Hamonic goal between his pads and also felt he’d stayed too deep in his net for the Horvat one-timer in the third.

“I don’t think the second period was our best period, for sure,” said Driedger, who hadn’t started in 10 days or played in a week since coming on in relief of Philipp Grubauer against Toronto. “They had a lot of chances. I don’t really know for sure what happened, but they just outworked us out there.”


Vancouver’s goaltending has been top-notch in all three contests, and Thatcher Demko came up huge when he had to in this one.

Demko didn’t need to be all that sharp in the second period, with the game mostly taking place in the Kraken’s end. But he was at his best with the game tied midway through, sliding his leg out to his right to rob Morgan Geekie on a one-timed attempt that would have regained a lead for the visitors. 

“That’s one you’d like to see him get up, get it into the top half of the net,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said of Geekie. “That changes the look of the hockey game at that point in time. It was a good play by us and a hell of a save by him.”

Instead, the score remained tied, and Podkolzin untied it before the period was done.

The crowd was undoubtedly sprinkled with some longtime Vancouver hockey fans that remember the minor professional Western Hockey League days when the Seattle Totems and pre-NHL Canucks went at it in a rivalry far more pronounced. A number of future NHL players, such as Pat Quinn, Bobby Schmautz and Howie Hughes, played for both teams, especially once the Totems became a farm club for the NHL version of the Canucks in the early 1970s.

Given the bad bounces on Motte’s early goal, it looked as if the Kraken’s night would go quickly downhill. But Hakstol felt his team enjoyed “a lot of good looks” in getting back in it and could have seen better results had they executed more with the puck.


“In the second period, they won the races, the won the puck battles and because of that they had the majority of the zone time,” he said of the Canucks. “When that happens … you end up spending your energy playing defense.”

All of Vancouver’s goals would come from high danger, one-timed passes or rebounds from in-close. For the Kraken, McCann’s team-leading 21st of the season — in his 400th career game — came on a similar close-in play, tapping home a perfect pass by Marcus Johansson when left unmarked to Demko’s right.

They took the lead while short-handed at the 14:26 mark of the opening period, with Giordano outracing defenders for a cleared puck, and beating Demko on the breakaway to make it 2-1.

But Hamonic’s goal through Driedger’s pads opened the second-period floodgates for the Canucks, and the Kraken never really regained their footing.

“That second period was critical,” Hakstol said. “That’s the turning point in the hockey game, and that’s the difference in the hockey game.”