Eeli Tolvanen scored twice against his former team, his first multi-goal game in the NHL, as the Seattle Kraken defeated the host Nashville Predators 7-2 Saturday afternoon.
Jared McCann had a goal and two assists, Oliver Bjorkstrand had one of each and Daniel Sprong and Adam Larsson also scored for Seattle (40-24-8, 88 points), which leads the Western Conference’s wild-card playoff race.
Vince Dunn added two assists and goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who returned after missing two games with a non-COVID illness, made 14 saves.
Tyson Barrie and Matt Duchene each had a goal and an assist, Philip Tomasino added two helpers and Juuse Saros stopped 32 of 39 shots for Nashville (36-27-8, 80 points), which had a two-game winning streak snapped. That included a 2-1 shootout victory Thursday against the Kraken in the opener of the two-game series.
Seattle took a 2-0 lead in the first period while outshooting the Predators 13-1.
Sprong opened the scoring at 3:13, putting a rebound of Ryan Donato’s shot into the net.
Tolvanen, a 2017 first-round pick by the Predators who was picked up off waivers by Seattle in December, extended the lead on the power play at 17:37, putting a wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle past a screened Saros.
Barrie made it 2-1 on a rebound of Tomasino’s shot 1:43 into the second.
Tolvanen scored his second unassisted at 17:16 of the second. Saros came out of his crease to play the puck and prevent a breakaway, but his clearing attempt ricocheted off the left-wing boards and right to Tolvanen, who fired the puck into the open net from the top of the faceoff circle. It was Tolvanen’s 15th goal in 38 games with the Kraken.
The Predators again pulled within a goal as Duchene tipped Barrie’s shot over Grubauer’s shoulder just 53 seconds into the third.
Larsson, Matty Beniers, McCann and Bjorkstrand scored in the third as Seattle pulled away.
The Kraken set an NHL record for largest second-season improvement for an expansion franchise. They’ve accumulated 28 more points than during their inaugural campaign, breaking the record of 26 set by the 1925-26 Boston Bruins and matched by the 1973-74 New York Islanders.