The Seattle Kraken have clinched their first playoff birth in franchise history. Not only that, but they set an NHL record for victories in an expansion team’s second season by beating the Arizona Coyotes 4-2, Thursday.
Jared McCann, Jordan Eberle, Matty Beniers and Vince Dunn scored for the Kraken as they cruised to their 44th victory of the season. Those 44 wins are the most by a second-year NHL team since the Original Six era, which ended in 1968. That’s a huge turnaround for a franchise that a season ago was just 27-49-6 in its first season while finishing last in the Pacific Division.
“It feels great,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said of his team’s playoff berth. “Day One, that’s where you want to work toward and be part of. The group in the room there earned it, they earned it from Day One.”
Goalkeeper Phillip Grubauer had 27 saves for Seattle, which won its third straight game.
“We’ve got a special group here,” Eberle said. “From Day One, I think a lot of people have written us off. To get to this point is obviously an accomplishment, but I think this group feels we’re not done.”
Barrett Hayton and Laurent Dauphin scored for Arizona.
McCann scored his lone goal of the evening at the 19:36 mark of the first period. That gave him a team-high of 38 goals on the year. Dunn followed that up with a goal 28 seconds into the second period. Eberle sneaked one past Vejmelka at 5:52 to make it 3-0.
Hayton would score Arizona’s first goal at the 12-minute mark of the second, and Dauphin scored his goal at 19:21 in the third. Beniers made it 4-1 at 16:09 of the third period with his 23rd goal of the season.
Beniers will be making his first playoff appearance as a rookie. The 20-year-old was drafted second overall by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
“I know it’s going to be harder, faster, more physical,” Beniers said. “But I think we’ve got a team that plays the right way all the time. That’s how we got to this position. I think if we keep doing a lot more of the same, we’ll be just fine in the playoffs.”
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