Kartye scores in NHL debut, Kraken lead series 3-2 over Avs
DENVER (AP) — Tye Kartye scored in his NHL debut and the Seattle Kraken moved a win away from clinching their first playoff series after beating the reigning Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Wednesday night.
The Kraken take a 3-2 lead in the first-round series back home to Seattle, where they can advance Friday night in front of their raucous home fans.
“It’s the spot you want to be, but at the end of the day, the fourth one’s the toughest to get,” Kraken forward Yanni Gourde said. “We know that.”
Gourde and Morgan Geekie added goals for the Kraken, who’ve scored first in all five games. Philipp Grubauer stopped 26 shots against his former team.
Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and assisted on Evan Rodrigues’ goal that made it 3-2 with 3:37 remaining. The Avalanche couldn’t tie it up with goaltender Alexandar Georgiev pulled for an extra skater. Georgiev also was on the bench for Rodrigues’ goal.
The Kraken were without forward Jared McCann, who was injured on a hit from Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar in Game 4. Makar could only watch as he drew a one-game suspension from the league. Makar was last year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the playoff MVP.
Georgiev had 26 stops for Colorado.
“Nothing to lose now,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said of his team’s mindset. “You don’t win, you go home.”
Kartye became the eighth player since 1927 to notch a goal while making his NHL debut in the playoffs, according to NHL Stats. Before Kartye, the last to accomplish the feat was Makar in Game 3 of a first-round series in 2019.
The goal by Kartye gave the Kraken a 2-1 lead in the second period and came moments after MacKinnon clipped skates with Will Borgen. MacKinnon was livid, too, and banged his stick on the glass as the Kraken headed down the ice. Jordan Eberle delivered a pinpoint pass to Kartye, who made it a memorable night.
Kartye, who turns 22 on Sunday, had 28 goals and 29 assists this season with the Coachella Valley Firebirds of the AHL.
MacKinnon’s goal in the second period tied the game at 1. He added an assist for his 99th career playoff points. He is now one away from joining Joe Sakic (188) and Peter Forsberg (159) as the only players in franchise history to register 100 postseason points.
Geekie opened the scoring by knocking in a loose puck early in the second period. It’s been quite a stretch for Geekie, who missed Game 3 to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter.
“They’re a good team. They’re not going to back away easily,” Geekie said of closing out the Avalanche. “Just try to play the game that we’ve been growing into and be solid on both ends of the rink.”
McCann didn’t make the trip with the team. Missing with him was leadership and a scoring threat (he had 40 goals in the regular season).
“It sucks that he’s out,” Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn said. “But we don’t want that to be a distraction in our locker room.”
Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin missed his third straight game for a personal reason. Bednar had no updates but said the team has been in contact with Nichushkin. Bednar said there wasn’t a legal issue surrounding the absence of Nichushkin.
Nichushkin had nine goals and 15 points in helping the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup title last season.
THIS & THAT
The Avalanche continue to struggle on the power play. They went 0 for 2 and drop to 1 for 12 in the series. ... D Josh Manson didn’t take a shift in the third period.
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