Grubauer, Kraken blank Isles 3-0 for franchise’s 1st shutout
NEW YORK (AP) — Jared McCann had a goal and an assist, and Philipp Grubauer stopped 19 shots for the first shutout in franchise history as the expansion Seattle Kraken beat the New York Islanders 3-0 Wednesday night.
Mason Appleton had a goal and an assist and Vince Dunn also scored to help Seattle to its third win in seven games. Grubauer got his 19th career shutout and first since last May 12 against Los Angeles in the season finale while playing for Colorado.
“Great game from everybody,” Grubauer said. “Without the guys in front of me, there’s no chance to do that. ... It feels good to get that one.”
The Kraken go into the All-Star break last in the Pacific Division at 15-27-4.
“Tonight was a real good hard-fought team win where they did their part,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “Our guys did a really good job of being ready to play. I like the way we competed and skated.”
Semyon Varlamov had 28 saves and lost his third straight start for New York, falling to 3-9-1 this season. The Islanders have lost four of six and remained 17 points out of the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
The Islanders finished with their lowest shot total of the season.
“Too many turnovers, (we) got outcompeted, their will was a lot stronger than our will,” New York coach Barry Trotz said. “They wanted it more. Words don’t mean anything, it’s actions. ... To me it’s one of the more disappointing games that I’ve coached as Islanders coach. It was quite disappointing. ... I didn’t think our level of desire today was very good.”
The Kraken got the game’s first goal at 6:04 of the third. Former Islander Jordan Eberle got the puck behind the net and sent a pass out to McCann on the right side and he fired a shot from a sharp angle, sending the puck off Varlamov’s-left shoulder and in. It was McCann’s career high-tying 19th of the season.
Dunn made it 2-0 just 2 1/2 minutes later as he got a pass from Mason Appleton above the left circle, skated through traffic and put backhander past a screened Varlamov on the blocker side for his fifth.
Appleton added an empty-netter in the closing seconds for his fifth.
After getting off to a slow start in the first period, the Islanders had only two shots on goal over the first 11 minutes of the second and were outshot 9-6 for the period.
Grubauer had a stellar save, sliding to his left to deny a one-timer by Zach Parise from the right dot with 6:51 left in the middle period. Varlamov stopped Colin Blackwell in close 7:50 into the period, and then Blackwell’s follow. The Islanders’ goalie also had a nice save on Dunn’s shot from between the circles with 3 1/2 minutes left in the second.
Seattle outshot New York 11-5 in the first period. The Kraken got the first six shots on goal of the game. New York didn’t get its first attempt until Andy Greene’s weak shot from the point at 6:37. The Islanders’ second shot came on Brock Nelson’s attempt from between the circles with 5:37 remaining in the period.
“That is the identity that you try to strive for,” Eberle said. “We defend much like I like to make the comparison that (Islanders) did when I was here.”
McCann has three goals and four assists in his last six games. His assist on Appleton’s goal was the 100th of his career. ... Seattle’s Marcus Johansson also had an assist on McCann’s goal, giving him five assists and six points in his last six games. ... The Kraken improved to 7-7-1 when scoring first, and 6-4-2 when tied after two periods. The Islanders fell to 1-2-3 when tied after 40 minutes.
The Islanders finished a stretch in which they played 22 of their last 26 games at home. After beginning the season with 13 straight on the road, they opened the $1.1 billion UBS Arena on Nov. 20 and fell to 9-10-3 at their new home. After the All-Star break, New York will play nine of 11 on the road.
SEEING A FAMILIAR FACE
The Islanders honored Eberle with a video tribute during a stoppage in play in the first period and he received a nice ovation from the crowd. Eberle skated to center ice, pointed to the stands to acknowledge the crowd and then pointed to his former teammates on the Islanders’ bench. Eberle spent four seasons in New York, totaling 76 goals and 93 assists, before he was selected by Seattle in last summer’s expansion draft.
“I have a big connection with this group,” Eberle said. “Some of my best memories are and also some my worst (losing in the Stanley Cup semifinals twice).”
Kraken: Host Arizona on Feb. 9 before playing four of five on the road.
Islanders: At Vancouver on Feb. 9 to open a four-game trip.
Follow Vin Cherwoo at http://www.twitter.com/VinCherwooAP