Without the pressure of three years of anticipation hanging over them, the Seattle Kraken felt free and loose going into the second home game in franchise history.
It showed and Tuesday night quickly turned into a Seattle rout.
Brandon Tanev had two goals and Jordan Eberle added another to give the Seattle Kraken their first home win ever, beating the Montreal Canadiens 5-1.
“I’m not gonna say pressure, but there’s a lot of anxiety in it. You feel the big game; the first ever game in this building,” Eberle said. “So you know with that out of the way, I think the boys felt a little bit at ease.”
Mike Hoffman scored for a second straight game for Montreal, but it was an ugly start to the Canadiens’ West Coast trip. Montreal is last in the Eastern Conference with just two points in six games and having been outscored 24-11.
“Tonight we did not deserve to win at all,” Montreal forward Josh Anderson said. “The coaches put a game plan together every single night. Our job as players is to go out and execute. Right now, we are not doing that.”
Eberle got Seattle started by scoring 62 seconds into the game with his first of the season.
Then Tanev, who is quickly becoming a fan favorite and is the unlikely goal-scoring leader for Seattle with five in seven games, redirected a pass from Jamie Oleksiak for the 2-1 lead late in the first period.
Yanni Gourde scored his first of the season on a nifty backhanded sweep around Montreal goalie Jake Allen during the second period. Gourde also assisted on Tanev’s second goal, when he beat Allen by catching Montreal in a change midway through the second period for a 4-1 Kraken lead.
Tanev had seven goals in 32 games last season and his career high of 14 goals came in 2018-19 with Winnipeg.
“We wanted to come out tonight and play a full 60 minutes. I thought we did that, and give the crowd something to celebrate,” Tanev said.
Ryan Donato scored the fifth for Seattle on a breakaway early in the third period.
Allen made 21 saves, but he had little help from Montreal’s defense on each of the first four goals.
“We were in the same position less than a week ago,” Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry said. “It’s the same game we played in Buffalo, same game we played at home against the Sharks. It doesn’t work. It’s frustrating.”
Philipp Grubauer made 23 saves in Seattle’s most complete performance of the season after surrendering a third-period lead in its home opener Saturday in a loss to Vancouver. Seattle’s five goals on Tuesday were a season high and came on just 26 shots.
“Big saves at the right time,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “It’s not always about the volume. It’s about key saves at the right time.”
Tanev’s scoring is a big bonus for Seattle’s offense but getting Gourde and Eberle going is just as important.
Eberle was one of the more prominent offensive selections Seattle made in the expansion draft but his first couple of weeks had been filled with scoring frustration that started when he rang the crossbar with an open net only moments into Seattle’s first game in Vegas.
He seemed to let out some of that frustration Tuesday when he flicked a wrist shot past Allen in the opening seconds.
“Throughout the first six games, I had two or three really good logs in each game. Sometimes they don’t go in,” Eberle said. “Got one first shift and I had another three or four good looks.”
Prior to the game, Seattle honored the 1917 Seattle Metropolitans, who defeated the Canadiens to become the first American team to win the Stanley Cup. Seattle unveiled a banner commemorating that victory, which will hang from the rafters of Climate Pledge Arena.
NOTES: Seattle’s Mason Appleton injured his right leg late in the second period when he was pinned awkwardly against the boards by Sami Niku. Appleton left the ice without putting weight on the leg. Niku was called for holding on the play. Hakstol did not have an update on Appleton’s status. … Montreal’s Jonathan Drouin skated in his 400th career game in the NHL … Seattle F Jared McCann has a four-game point streak, tying a career high.
Montreal: At San Jose on Thursday night.
Seattle: Hosts Minnesota on Thursday night.