Red Wings squander two-goal lead, lose 4-2 to expansion Kraken

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Seattle — The long, long flight is going to feel a little longer.

After almost nine days on the road and four games, the Red Wings went home Saturday with a disappointing 4-2 loss in Seattle.

The expansion Kraken scored three third-period goals in just under six minutes to swipe the win.

Yanni Gourde broke the 2-2 tie at 13:03 of the third period. Gourde's shot bounced off the skate of Moritz Seider in front and skidded past goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. Gourde added an empty net goal to ice it, his 16th goal.

"Obviously a disappointing finish to the trip," forward Sam Gagner said. "We didn't start the way we wanted and Ned (goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic) gave us a chance to fight our way back into it. Vlade (Vladislav Namestnikov) has a big fight to give us some energy. Once we got the lead, we have to find a way to create some momentum off that and play in their zone a little more."

The expansion Kraken outshot the Wings 42-23, including 16-6 in the first period and 15-7 in the final 20 minutes — accurate indicators of how those periods went.

"We were lucky to get out of the first, Ned was great and we couldn't do anything right," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We got momentum with the goals, and in the third (period) we were OK until they scored.

"We have to be better. We've got guys that have to play better."

BOX SCORE: Kraken 4, Red Wings 2

After an impressive, fairly complete effort against Vancouver, the Wings couldn't sustain the positive play. In particular, another poor start plagued the Wings.

"We can't come out and not be ready to go here at the start," Blashill said. "This, for me, was closer to the Arizona (game, another poor start) and games like that. We weren't good enough."

Adam Larsson (fifth, 7:10) and Jaden Schwartz (eighth, 9:54) added Seattle goals.

The Wings (25-30-7) went 1-3-0 on the trip. Joe Veleno and Taro Hirose (power play) scored second-period goals.

Nedeljkovic was splendid through two periods, the reason the Wings were ahead, But Larsson finally solved Nedeljkovic on a drive to the net at 7:10 of the third period cutting the Wings lead to 2-1.

Red Wings' Joe Veleno, center back, Marc Staal (18) and Vladislav Namestnikov (92) celebrate a goal against the Kraken during the second period of Saturday's game at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle.

That sparked the Kraken (19-38-6), who tied it up on Schwartz's goal at 9:54. Vince Dunn found Schwartz on an outlet pass, and Schwartz drove to the net and backhanded his eighth goal past Nedeljkovic. 

"They started real fast and created chances and we didn't do a good enough job," Gagner said. "Five on five we have to be better and find ways to draw penalties and play in their end a little more."

Veleno scored his sixth goal, just seconds had killed over three minutes of power play time including 59 seconds of a two-man Seattle advantage.

Dylan Larkin created a turnover in the corner and fed a trailing Veleno in the slot at 13:18.

The Wings pushed it to 2-0 on Hirose's first goal, at 16:08. Hirose went to the net and put back Tyler Bertuzzi's shot attempt past goaltender Philipp Grubauer.

Nedeljkovic made the lead stand until Seattle's flurry.

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"Ned gave us a chance to find our footing, a couple of incredible saves (in the first period) and when your goaltender is playing like that, you have to find a way to reward him," Gagner said.

The Wings return home now and await Monday's trade deadline. Several Wings are being mentioned in trade speculation, with some sort of moves expected by general manager Steve Yzerman before the 3 p.m. deadline.

Nick Leddy was held out of the lineup for a second straight game, with the veteran defenseman likely to be dealt.

Namestnikov and defensemen Troy Stecher and Marc Staal are also potential unrestricted free agents — as is Leddy — who could attract interest from playoff contenders.

"They're (the Kraken) in the same boat and they were able to come out and play a real good hockey game and outplay us and didn't play good enough," said Blashill, of the trade deadline hovering over teams. "On Monday, the deadline will be over and we'll have a whole bunch of the same guys and we have to play better."

Twitter: @tkulfan