DENVER (AP) — Tye Kartye scored in his NHL debut and the Seattle Kraken moved a win away from clinching their first playoff series after beating the reigning Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Wednesday night.
The Kraken take a 3-2 lead in the first-round series back home to Seattle, where they can advance Friday night in front of their raucous home fans.
Yanni Gourde and Morgan Geekie added goals for the Kraken, who’ve scored first in all five games. Philipp Grubauer stopped 26 shots against his former team.
Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and Evan Rodrigues added another to make it 3-2 with 3:37 remaining, but the Avs couldn’t tie it up.
The Kraken were without forward Jared McCann, who was injured on a hit from Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar in Game 4. Makar could only watch as he drew a one-game suspension from the league. Makar was last year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the playoff MVP.
Alexandar Georgiev had 26 stops for Colorado.
Kartye became the eighth player since 1927 to notch a goal while making his NHL debut in the playoffs, according to NHL Stats. Before Kartye, the last to accomplish the feat was Makar in Game 3 of a first-round series in 2019.
The goal by Kartye gave the Kraken a 2-1 lead in the second period and came moments after MacKinnon clipped skates with Will Borgen. MacKinnon was livid, too, and banged his stick on the glass as the Kraken headed down the ice. Jordan Eberle delivered a pinpoint pass to Kartye, who made it a memorable night.
Kartye, who turns 22 on Sunday, had 28 goals and 29 assists this season with the Coachella Valley Firebirds of the AHL.
MacKinnon’s goal in the second period tied the game at 1. It was career playoff point No. 98 for MacKinnon, which moved him just two away from joining Joe Sakic (188) and Peter Forsberg (159) as the only players in franchise history to register 100 postseason points.
Geekie opened the scoring by knocking in a loose puck early in the second period. It’s been quite a stretch for Geekie, who missed Game 3 to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter.
McCann didn’t make the trip with the team. Missing with him was leadership and a scoring threat (he had 40 goals in the regular season).
“It sucks that he’s out,” Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn said. “But we don’t want that to be a distraction in our locker room.”
Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin missed his third straight game for a personal reason. Coach Jared Bednar had no updates but said the team has been in contact with Nichushkin. Bednar said there wasn’t a legal issue surrounding the absence of Nichushkin.
Nichushkin had nine goals and 15 points in helping the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup title last season.
THIS & THAT
The Avalanche continue to struggle on the power play. They went 0 for 2 and drop to 1 for 12 in the series. … D Josh Manson didn’t take a shift in the third period.