McCann leads Kraken to 4-2 win over Flames for third victory in four games

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CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Jared McCann had a goal and an assist to help the Seattle Kraken beat the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Monday night for their third win in four games.

Yanni Gourde, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Adam Larsson also scored for Seattle, which is 6-2-1 in its last nine. Philipp Grubauer stopped 35 shots as the Kraken pulled even with the Flames in the Western Conference playoff chase, seven points back of idle Nashville for the second wild card.

It was the 100th win in franchise history for Seattle in 225 games, which ties St. Louis for the third-fastest expansion team to reach that milestone. The only teams that did it faster were Vegas (173 games) and Florida (223 games).

“For our team right now, we’re in the fight here. The most important win is going to become 101,” said McCann. “That’s not to take anything away from that milestone because I hope everybody in the organization that’s worked extremely hard to make that happen feels their contributions and feels a lot of pride in it.”

Andrei Kuzmenko scored twice for Calgary, which snapped a five-game winning streak. Jacob Markstrom finished with 26 saves.

Kuzmenko has 13 goals on the season and five in 10 games since being acquired from Vancouver on Jan. 31 as part of the trade that sent Elias Lindholm to the Canucks.

After going more than two months between starts, missing a bulk of that due to a lower-body injury, Grubauer has been excellent since his return to the crease on Feb. 13, going 5-1-0 with a .943 save percentage.

“Grubby’s been good,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “Just the calmness that the provides. You can add up the big saves tonight at the right time.”

With Seattle up 3-1 after Larsson’s goal 21 seconds into the third period, Calgary cut the deficit in half on Kuzmenko’s second of the night at 7:46.

The Flames then got consecutive power plays in an attempt to pull even. However, after failing to score on the first, it was the Kraken that scored on the second.

McCann stripped the puck from Calgary's Rasmus Andersson, raced in on Markstrom, and scored short-handed for his team-leading 26th goal with 7:31 remaining.

“I was pretty gassed so I just tried to get the shot off quick,” said McCann. “I like to go low blocker but decided to change it up at the last second. He’s a big goalie, so I was able to find a spot.”

Calgary coach Ryan Huska didn’t blame Andersson, implying the pass back to him by Andrew Mangiapane might have been to blame.

“I thought Raz got put in a tough spot up top,” Huska said. “Now he’s flat-footed with pressure coming out at him.”

Less than a minute later, Calgary rookie Martin Pospisil was given a major and a game misconduct for drilling Seattle defenseman Vince Dunn into the end boards from behind. Visibly shaken up but leaving the ice on his own, Dunn went to the dressing room and didn’t return.

“Garbage,” Hakstol said when asked about the hit. “But not really a whole lot different than the first hit six or seven seconds into the game. You run around like that you probably need to answer when somebody comes to you man to man and that didn’t happen either.”

After a listless first period in which Calgary fell behind 1-0, the Flames were better in the second period, tying it at 7:50 on a crafty effort from Kuzmenko on the power play. The 28-year-old Russian faked going behind the net, prompting Grubauer to look over his other shoulder, only to cut back and jam it inside the near post for his 100th career NHL point.

Seattle reclaimed the lead less than five minutes later when poor defensive coverage by Oliver Kylington left Bjorkstrand open in the slot and he one-timed McCann’s centering pass behind Markstrom. Bjorkstrand’s third goal in the last four games gave him 16 on the season.

Seattle was the better team by a wide margin in the opening 20 minutes, outshooting the home side 11-2 and scoring the only goal.

At 4:04, Dunn’s point shot hit a couple of players in front where it was corralled by Gourde and whipped behind Markstrom for his eighth.

Seattle center Alex Wennberg did not play, nor take the morning skate with the team, for what coach Dave Hakstol said earlier in the day was “trade-related issues.” A pending UFA at season’s end, the 29-year-old Swede has nine goals and 25 points in 60 games.

UP NEXT

Kraken: At Winnipeg on Tuesday night to finish a two-game trip.

Flames: At Tampa Bay on Thursday night to open a three-game trip.

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AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com.hub/NHL