LAS VEGAS — Andre Burakovsky scored twice and Philipp Grubauer celebrated his 31st birthday by making 20 saves in the Seattle Kraken’s 4-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday night.
The battle between the Pacific Division’s top teams also happened to be a showdown of the NHL’s most recent expansion squads, and marked Seattle’s first win over the Golden Knights since it entered the league last season. The Kraken, who are now winless against only eight teams in the league, have won four in a row, including three straight against intradivision foes.
Ryan Donato and Jordan Eberle added goals for Seattle, which improved to 6-1-1 on the road.
Nic Roy and Phil Kessel scored for Vegas, while Adin Hill stopped 24 shots.
Burakovsky, who came into the game with two career goals against Vegas, scored both goals with vicious snipes on Hill, once in the first period to give the Kraken a two-goal lead and again in the second to put Seattle back on top after Vegas tied the game.
“It’s obviously a huge win,” said Burakovsky, who had his second straight multi-point game, and third of the season. “They’re ahead of us. We want to chase them down. It was an important game. We lost last time against them. So, we’re hungry for the win today. It was good to get it done. Obviously, it’s always to help the team get on the board.”
The Kraken dominated early, outshooting the Golden Knights 8-2 and opening a two-goal lead in the first period.
“They were quicker than us, they won a lot more races, one-on-one battles, they executed better than us — they were just the better team,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Let’s call it what it is, from start to finish they outplayed us. We can look at different areas and why and what, but we weren’t ready to play, that always falls on the coach. I gotta get the guys ready to play.”
Donato started it off less than three minutes into the game with a nifty move around Hill to put it home, and Burakovsky made it 2-0 when he grabbed a pass from Adam Larsson and fired a wrist shot from the top of the right circle.
The Golden Knights cut Seattle’s lead in half when Roy was on the doorstep for a rebound and punched it in the net in his first game back after missing three games with a lower-body injury.
Playing in his 1,004th consecutive game, Kessel snapped in Shea Theodore’s touch pass near the bottom of the right circle moments later to tie the game at 2.
Burakovsky put the Kraken back on top when he grabbed a pass from Jamie Oleksiak, skated through the right circle, and snapped a wrist shot top shelf over Hill’s glove.
“His second goal of the game was a big one,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said about Burakovsky. “That was a nice play off the entry. He found a way inside. He found the extra step to get into a better shooting spot. He found the short side. It was a good night for him.”
Eberle provided the announced gathering of 18,119 with the highlight of the night after he was initially stopped by Hill, but then somehow reached back and was able to flip the puck up and in to extend Seattle’s lead back to two goals.
“We needed two points,” Hakstol said. “We’re not looking for a measuring stick. We’re playing the game. We’re playing to win games. They’re an important two points on the road.”
Kraken: Visits Anaheim on Sunday.
Golden Knights: Host Vancouver on Saturday.