Seattle Kraken vs. Washington Capitals Pick & Prediction MARCH 14th 2024

As the Vegas Golden Knights celebrated their 5-4 overtime victory at the far end of the rink Tuesday at Seattle, Kraken forward Oliver Bjorkstrand stood on the ice just outside the door to the bench.

Bjorkstrand derisively clapped his gloves together five times and then flung his stick across the ice.

The Kraken, who play host to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, weren’t eliminated from playoff contention with the loss, but their hopes were greatly diminished.

The Kraken were within 16.3 seconds of pulling within six points of Vegas for the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card spot.

That’s when Jonathan Marchessault scored the tying goal to force overtime. Jack Eichel then won it on a breakaway, expanding Vegas’ cushion over the Kraken to nine points.

Seattle scored three consecutive goals in the opening 11:30 of the third period to take a 4-2 lead, the last on a partial breakaway by Bjorkstrand. The Kraken saw the advantage disappear quickly.

It took just 53 seconds for the Golden Knights to pull within a goal, setting up the wild finish.

“I liked everything, pretty much, until we scored our fourth goal,” Kraken center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said. “From that point, we were on our heels instead of being on the attack.

“Liked everything but those (expletive) last minutes, really.”

The loss was the second in a row for the Kraken and dropped their home record to 14-12-6 — the same as their mark on the road.

“It stings to not hold the lead and walk away with two points,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “We don’t need fire, we don’t need confidence, we’ve got that. We’re disappointed we didn’t close the game out, but I’ve said it all the way along, no matter the result, we need everybody to walk out tonight, clear the deck and come back. There’s no time for anything but (that), so we’ll get back to work tomorrow.”

The Capitals will be playing the second half of a back-to-back after a 7-2 loss Wednesday at Edmonton. Washington overcame an early 2-0 deficit to tie it midway through the first period on goals by Ivan Miroshnichenko and Connor McMichael, only to give up a natural hat trick by the Oilers’ Zach Hyman.

“We kind of chased the whole night,” Washington forward Tom Wilson said. “I mean, it was close at times and just had unlucky bounces in a couple situations, they make us pay. Against a good team like that you’ve got to find a way to just be better with the puck and manage the situations a little bit better, because they can capitalize.”

Washington is three points behind the New York Islanders for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Capitals are 0-2-0 on their five-game Western swing, having been blanked 3-0 Monday at Winnipeg. After Thursday’s stop in Seattle, they’ll wrap up the trip with games in Vancouver and Calgary.

Veteran forward Max Pacioretty said it’s important to take it one game at a time.

“I can’t speak for everyone, but you learn that as the years go on. Nothing’s guaranteed (about) tomorrow, whether it be playing another team or our health or even our lives,” Pacioretty said, per the Washington Post. “I don’t look at anything any other way, and especially with the position we’re in, it’s even more important to have that mindset.

“… I guarantee some young guys probably look at standings at night and other teams’ schedules and try to do the math as to what has to add up. But the difference between these games right now is that extra five, 10 percent, so if you’re going to go out there with the full intentions to win a hockey game, you’ve got to be fully invested in that one game itself.”

–Field Level Media

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