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Philipp Grubauer posts first shutout of season as Kraken topple Penguins 2-0

Seattle has won three of its last four

Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Reilly Smith (19) tries to score against Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Seattle. (Jason Redmond/AP Photo)
By Tim Booth AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE (AP) — Philipp Grubauer made 33 saves and posted his first shutout of the season, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Alex Wennberg scored and the Seattle Kraken beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 on Thursday night.

Grubauer was terrific for the second straight game and recorded the 21st regular-season shutout of his career.

Seattle picked up a crucial two points in its attempt to stay relevant in the Western Conference wild-card race and with next week’s trade deadline drawing closer. The Kraken have won three of their last four and have points in six of their past seven games.

Pittsburgh had its three-game win streak snapped and remained seven points behind Philadelphia in the division race and eight points back of Tampa Bay for the wild card. The Penguins have games in hand over both teams and the chance to make up points but the loss stemmed the momentum gained after a comeback overtime victory in Vancouver earlier this week.

Grubauer showed up in a big way earlier this week when Seattle topped Boston in a shootout victory, including saves on all three attempts in the shootout. He was tested right away by the Penguins, turning away 18 shots in the first period alone, including a terrific stop on Jeff Carter midway through the period. Carter skated in his 1,300th career game, becoming the sixth active player to hit the milestone.

Grubauer continued to stay solid in the second period, including a key stop on Jansen Harkins, and Seattle was able to limit dangerous attempts in the third period. Pittsburgh had just five shots on Grubauer in the final 20 minutes.

Pittsburgh was shut out for the third time this season and first since Dec. 16 against Toronto.

Bjorkstrand scored for the second straight game following a 15-game stretch during which Seattle’s All-Star representative managed just one goal and six assists. He swatted a puck out of the air and past Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry at 12:25 of the first for his 15th goal of the season.

Wennberg added his ninth goal off a scramble in front of the Pittsburgh net during a Seattle power play at 15:02 of the third period.

Jarry made 26 saves for the Penguins.

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