The Kraken secured their first franchise win in front of their home crowd in Seattle on Tuesday night. They defeated the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 5-2 in an exciting showdown at Climate Pledge Arena. Philipp Grubauer made 23 saves and Brandon Tanev netted two goals during the game. Jordan Eberle, Yanni Gourde, and Ryan Donato each contributed a goal apiece, while Jared McCann advanced his four-game point streak.
A Long Time Coming
History is palpable.
Prior to Tuesday’s game, an incredible ceremony took place. The 1917 Stanley Cup Champions Banner was raised in the city that first brought the Stanley Cup to America. The current team playing for that city was hosting the team that had been defeated by the 1917 victor. The fans in the packed stands were wearing masks to help protect from a worldwide pandemic, just as the fans had in 1919, when the visiting team last played in the city for another Stanley Cup.
A History Lesson
The Seattle Metropolitans of the PCHA dropped the first game of the 1917 series to the Montreal Canadiens of the NHA. After that, the Metropolitans never looked back, taking the next three games to secure the Stanley Cup in the best-of-five series.
“Them coming back here a hundred years later, it really gives me goosebumps,” said Dave Eskenazi, a Pacific Northwest sports aficionado and memorabilia collector. “I have such vivid visions of the story of our early Seattle hockey roots. It almost seems like fiction.”
However, there was a problem. The Canadiens had not bothered to bring the Stanley Cup with them on their trip to Seattle, where all five games of the tournament would be played.
“They didn’t bring it because they didn’t think they were going to lose it,” said Kevin Ticen, author of the book, “When It Mattered Most: The Forgotten Story of America’s First Stanley Cup Champions, and the War to End All Wars.”
The Stanley Cup did not arrive in Seattle for three months. Can you imagine any team today, 104 years later, being satisfied with waiting that long for the symbol of their victory? Not to mention the fact that this symbolized a battle on ice between countries, which today would likely incite a war.
At the time, the Seattle Daily Times wrote in beautiful prose, “Historians who write of the rise and fall of Les Canadiens dynasty will record how this dashing band of Flying Frenchmen traveled 3,000 miles to find an adversary worthy of its steel and discovered a foe that outclassed it in every department of the great ice game.”
In a strange twist of fate–or perhaps the way that it was destined to happen–Tuesday’s game was played under the same roof (now Climate Pledge Arena) that the Seattle SuperSonics won the 1979 NBA Title (then the Seattle Center Coliseum). That championship, in 1979, was the first major championship that the city of Seattle had seen since the Stanley Cup was won in 1917.
“Spectators wore masks of sterilized cotton for protection from the germs. In spite of warnings from the Health Department, the stands were packed. Armed guards at the entrance barred anyone without a mask.”
For Tuesday’s game, everyone in the arena was required to wear a mask, as well as providing proof that they have received both doses of the vaccination for COVID-19.
However, the above quotation was taken from the Post-Intelligencer of May 22, 1977. It was written by a sportswriter, Royal Brougham, who covered the 1919 Championship Series between the Canadiens and the Metropolitans.
How apropos that the last time that the Canadiens visited Seattle, the scenes and the concerns of the times are eerily similar.
In 1919, the championship Series was being played in Seattle, again between the Canadiens and the Metropolitans. The pandemic at that time was the Spanish Flu. The series was tied 2-2-1, with the decisive game scheduled for April 1. Mere hours before the game was scheduled to begin, the Canadiens found that they did not have enough healthy players to continue, as many had been felled by the Spanish Flu. Montreal had offered to forfeit the game, which would award Seattle the series and the championship. However, the Metropolitans did not wish to win the Cup in that manner. This made 1919 the only year that the Stanley Cup has not been awarded. Sadly, one of the Montreal players succumbed to the flu in a Seattle hospital several days later.
Tuesday night, the NHL’s newest team felled it’s oldest against the backdrop of a time warp.
Jordan Eberle (1)
Assists: Jamie Oleksiak (1)
Alex Wennberg (3)
Mike Hoffman (2)
Assists: Brendan Gallagher (1)
Nick Suzuki (2)
Brandon Tanev (4)
Assists: Jamie Oleksiak (2)
Jared McCann (4)
Yanni Gourde (1)
Assists: Jaden Schwartz (2)
Jeremy Lauzon (2)
Brandon Tanev (5)
Assists: Mark Giordano (3)
Yanni Gourde (2)
Ryan Donato (2)
Assists: Unassisted .
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