Kraken comeback falls just short against Golden Knights in franchise's 1st game

Max Pacioretty scored twice and the Vegas Golden Knights spoiled the Seattle Kraken's debut with a 4-3 win on Tuesday night.

Short-handed Penguins spoil Lightning's Stanley Cup ceremony

Seattle's Joonas Donskoi carries the puck around Vegas' Alex Pietrangelo #7during the third period of the Kraken's inaugural regular-season game, a 4-3 loss to the Golden Knights on Tuesday. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Max Pacioretty scored twice and the Vegas Golden Knights spoiled the Seattle Kraken's debut with a 4-3 win on Tuesday night.

Vegas, which made its league debut four years ago, held off a rally from the NHL's latest addition in what turned out to be a scrappy effort from the Kraken.

Seattle erased a 3-0 deficit and tied the game, but Chandler Stephenson's goal midway through the third period held up.

"I think it kind of speaks to our character as a team," Kraken forward Morgan Geekie said of the comeback. "We knew they were a good team coming in here, and they kind of paved the way. But I like the way we brought tonight, and I think we got better as the game went on."

Geekie, who scored one of the goals, said his team was nervous early on.

"Yeah, definitely, 100 per cent," he said. "Obviously, you come into Vegas and it's a spectacular city and they put on quite a show."

Jonathan Marchessault also scored for the Vegas, while Robin Lehner made 25 saves.

Ryan Donato scored Seattle's first goal in franchise history, while Jared McCann and Geekie added goals. Veteran netminder Phillip Grubauer had 18 saves in his first game as a Kraken.

WATCH | Donato scores Kraken's 1st goal:

Ryan Donato scores 1st-ever goal in Seattle Kraken history

1 year ago
Duration 0:52
Seattle Kraken forward Ryan Donato scores the first goal in the team's history during the second period of their season opener against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Pacioretty and Marchessault gave the Golden Knights a 2-0 lead on two of Vegas' first three shots on goal.

The Golden Knights ignited the crowd when Chandler Stephenson took a clean entry into a wide-open neutral zone and picked up momentum and fed captain Mark Stone to send the Kraken one direction while Pacioretty skated down the left side. Stone promptly sent a crisp pass to Pacioretty, who beat Grubauer far side to give Vegas its first goal of the season.

Three minutes later it was one of the original members of the Golden Knights from their expansion season with some crafty stick handling, as Marchessault showed patience by skating in on Grubauer, then deked around him to the goal line before burying the puck to make it 2-0.

Though it appeared Nic Hague extended Vegas' lead to 3-0 in the second period after taking a beauty of a pass from Stone, his wrist shot was later rewarded to Pacioretty who was at the doorstep for a deflection.

WATCH | Stephenson deflects home game-winner for Vegas:

Chandler Stephenson lifts Golden Knights over Kraken

1 year ago
Duration 1:26
Seattle suffers a loss in their first-ever game as they fall to Vegas 4-3.

Donato gave the smattering of Kraken fans something to cheer about later in the period when he gathered a loose puck and backhanded past a sprawling Lehner who couldn't get back in time.

Less than a minute later, McCann's shot to the crease from the right side trickled just under Lehner's pad to cut Vegas' lead to one and breathe life into Seattle's bench.

Geekie skated into the right circle and beat Lehner top shelf to tie the game in the third period, but moments later Stephenson's redirect off his skate put Vegas back on top.

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Penguins stun Lightning

Tristan Jarry had 26 saves, Danton Heinen and Brian Boyle scored early second-period goals, and the short-handed Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 in the regular-season opener on Tuesday night.

Dominik Simon, Teddy Blueger, Bryan Rust and Evan Rodrigues also scored, and Kris Letang had two assists for the Penguins, who played without injured stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The final three Pittsburgh goals were into an empty net.

"It's a process but I think we proved that we can play against a team like that, we can play well and we can win," Simon said.

Tampa Bay got goals from Anthony Cirelli and Andrew Killorn, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 29 shots. Star right wing Nikita Kucherov didn't have a shot on goal, while defenceman Mikhail Sergachev was minus-5.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was in attendance as Tampa Bay unveiled its 2020-21 Stanley Cup banner during a pregame ceremony. The Lightning have won two consecutive titles following pandemic-impacted and abbreviated regular seasons.

"We wanted to kind of spoil it," Heinen said.

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Lightning coach Jon Cooper said the outcome would have the same if the opponent had been the Penguins' minor league team.

"They beat us to every puck, they worked harder than us, they were better than us in every facet of the game," Cooper said. "If it wasn't for our goalie it probably would have been way worse. They came here to win a hockey game, we came here and watched the banner raising, and then watched a team want to win a hockey game. We did a lot of watching tonight."

Jarry turned aside Brayden Point's low slot shot during the game's first power play midway through the second.

The Penguins blocked 15 shots.

"It makes my job really easy," Jarry said. "They're playing hard, and they're blocking shots. They did a great job for me."

Heinen and Boyle put the Penguins up 2-0 with goals in the first 4:11 of the second.

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Jeff Carter stole Vasilevskiy's clearing attempt behind the net and set up Heinen's goal 12 seconds in. Boyle, who signed a $750,000 US, one-year contract before the game after coming to training camp on a tryout offer, scored from the low slot at 4:11. The 12-year veteran last played with Florida in 2019-20.

"That was awesome," Heinen said of Boyle's goal. "It was a nice goal, too. He's such a great guy, always smiling. A great teammate to have,"

Simon made it 3-0 when his long-range shot eluded Vasilevskiy with 8:28 left in the third. It was his first goal since Feb. 2, 2020.

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Cooper pulled Vasilevskiy with 6 minutes left and it paid off when Cirelli scored at 14:23. However, with Vasilevskiy off the ice again, Blueger picked up an empty-netter 30 seconds later.

Killorn got another Lightning goal with the extra attacker but Rodrigues and Rust got the Penguins' second and third empty-net goals.

Pittsburgh outshot the Lightning 14-7 in the first period. Simon had his in-close chance stopped during a 2-on-1 by Vasilevskiy, and Rodrigues lost control of the puck on a breakaway.

The Lightning had a streak of winning seven consecutive season openers, all at home, end.

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