SEATTLE — A fast start. The Golden Knights will take it. A goal by Keegan Kolesar 12 seconds in kick-started a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken on Saturday night, the team’s third straight to open the season.
Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and teammates Reilly Smith and Shea Theodore also scored to back the goaltending of Adin Hill, who stopped 31 shots in his first start.
Kolesar’s goal came after William Carrier swiped the puck from Seattle defenseman Will Borgen moments after the opening faceoff. Carrier got the puck to Kolesar near the top of the crease for a shot into the lower left.
“That was great turnover by Carrie,” Kolesar said of his first goal this season. “Those are ones I missed in the last game in Chicago, and I wasn’t missing it this time.
“This is a good start for us right now.”
The fastest goal to open a game in Knights history is by William Karlsson, who scored 10 seconds into a 5-2 victory over Colorado on April 29, 2021.
Kolesar’s goal seemed to stagger the Kraken, who looked out of sync early. With Seattle’s Alex Wennberg serving a penalty for high sticking, Alex Pietrangelo set up Marchessault for a one-timer from the right faceoff circle for a 2-0 lead at 3:07 of the period.
Then Smith needed just 8 seconds into a power play to make it 3-0 with 6:05 left in the second, sweeping in a pass from Chandler Stephenson for his first goal.
Marchessault made it 4-0 with 2:49 remaining in the middle period with his third this season, sending a shallow shot from the right side past goaltender Martin Jones.
Theodore, who played junior hockey with Kolesar for the Seattle Thunderbirds, drilled one in from the high slot with 16.5 seconds left in the period for his first and a 5-0 lead.
“I think it’s good for the guys to get a taste of success early. Everyone is chasing that early in the year, and we don’t want to be behind,” Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I thought we started well tonight, which is something we addressed. I didn’t think our starts in LA and at home against Chicago were great. They weren’t bad, but when you can put the other team on their heels, that always helps.”
Justin Schultz and Jaden Schwartz scored in the third period for Seattle. Jones had 19 saves through two periods, and Philip Grubauer stopped all five shots he faced in the third.
“From the start, we were stuck in quicksand for the first 10 minutes of this game – we couldn’t get our feet going,” said Kraken coach Dave Hakstol, whose team was playing its season opener. “Once we steadied our game, we just didn’t execute with the puck. We’re looking at the number of opportunities we gave them in transition right off our tape, whether it was turnovers on entry or slow forechecks, or we just didn’t get there. They killed us on transition, especially in the second period.”