Schwartz, Beniers lead Kraken to 4-1 win over Ducks

Team kept grip on the top Western Conference wild-card playoff spot
March 31, 2023 at 5:00 a.m.

By Mark Moschetti, Associated Press

SEATTLE — Jaden Schwartz and Matty Beniers scored within three minutes of each other in the first period and the Seattle Kraken hung on to beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Thursday night.

Daniel Sprong added a power-play goal with 4:18 left in the game and Alex Wennberg sealed it with an empty-netter. Martin Jones made 18 saves to help the Kraken keep their grip on the top Western Conference wild-card playoff spot.

“We played a good hockey game,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “Could we have some things a little bit differently in the second period? Absolutely. We would have liked to be able to extend that lead. But we settled down in the third. We needed a couple real good saves from Martin Jones to do that, but the penalty kill did its job, the power play did its job in extending the lead and that’s it.

“It closes out a good two points for us and it’s a real positive night.”

Brock McGinn scored the lone goal for Anaheim. Lukas Dostal made 35 saves.

Schwartz put the Kraken ahead at 7:57 of the first period. Will Borgen, playing on the right side behind his own blue line, angled a cross-ice pass that Schwartz caught up with just over Anaheim's blue line. From the top of the left circle, Schwartz fired it past Dostal.

Beniers made it 2-0 at 10:37 when his shot went off the net, but came but came right back to him and he poked it in off the edge of his stick.

Beniers had gone 13 straight games without a goal from Feb. 28 until getting his 20th in last Saturday’s 7-2 win at Nashville and now his 21st, tying him with Dallas’ Wyatt Johnson for most among rookies this season.

“I think I was playing good before and after (the 20th),” Beniers said. “Sometimes, it just doesn’t go in, and that’s how the game works. You get one and it just starts falling.

“Everyone goes through it. I think I was playing a good game before and I think I’m playing the same exact game now — they’re just going in.”

McGinn cut Anaheim’s deficit to 2-1 with 1:16 left in the second period. In a scramble behind the net, Derek Grant came up with the puck and got it out to McGinn in the middle of the left circle. McGinn’s shot went off Jones’ right pad and into the far side.

Sprong got his 20th of the season to make it 3-1 when he skated around a defender and lifted a shot high over Dostal’s left glove. Wennberg’s 13th came on a shot from behind the red line into the empty net with 2:15 to go.

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