NHL Recap: Seattle Kraken NHL debut ruined by Vegas Golden Knights

Max Pacioretty had two goals and an assist and Chandler Stephenson scored the game-winner as the Vegas Golden Knights spoiled the debut of the expansion Seattle Kraken with a 4-3 victory on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

Jonathan Marchessault also scored and Mark Stone added three assists for the Golden Knights. Robin Lehner — taking over for reigning Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury, who was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in the summer — finished with 28 saves.

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Ryan Donato makes history for Kraken with first goal

Ryan Donato scored the first goal in Kraken history in the second period. Jared McCann, cleared earlier in the day from COVID-19 protocol, and Morgan Geekie also scored for Seattle, which rallied from a 3-0, second-period deficit to tie it.

“We just came together,” Donato said. “We obviously hadn’t been in that situation before, but we’ve all played on different teams and been in that situation on other teams. We knew as soon as we got one, the others would come.”


Philipp Grubauer made 26 saves for the Kraken, which continues its season-opening five-game road trip on Thursday night at Nashville.

ryan donato scored first goal in kraken history
Oct 12, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Seattle Kraken center Morgan Geekie (67) celebrates with center Ryan Donato (9) after scoring a goal against the Vegas Golden Knights during the third period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

It was almost a storybook start for Seattle as Jordan Eberle’s wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle caromed off the crossbar just 25 seconds into the game.

Pacioretty then gave Vegas a 1-0 lead less than three minutes later when he took a cross-ice pass from Stone on an odd-man rush and fired a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot that beat Grubauer on his glove side.

Marchessault made it 2-0 at the 6:36 mark when he broke in down the slot, deked Grubauer and then wrapped in a backhand shot inside the near post.

Vegas, which fired 11 of the first 12 shots in the second period, extended its lead to 3-0 on Pacioretty’s second goal of the game. He deflected a shot by Nicolas Hague from the high slot.

Kraken comeback falls short

Seattle got back into the game midway through the period with two goals in 72 seconds. Donato went into the history books with the first goal in team history, backhanding in a rebound of Vince Dunn’s shot that landed in the middle of the crease.

McCann then made it 3-2 when he took a pass from Eberle and drove down the right wing, where his backhanded shot deflected into the net off the stick of Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore.

Midway through the third period, Geekie’s wrist shot from the middle of the right circle sailed over the glove of Lehner to tie it, 3-3.

But the Golden Knights regained the lead for good just 35 seconds later when Stone’s cross-ice pass from the right wing ricocheted into the net off the right skate of Stephenson.

“I know what I saw and believed,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “I thought it was a kicking motion. There’s a gray area on those calls.”


–Field Level Media