SEATTLE — Cale Makar had never played the villain role until Monday nights losing effort for the Avalanche in Game 4 at Climate Pledge Arena. The Seattle Kraken defeated Colorado 3-2 in overtime to even their first round series at 2-2 heading back to Ball Arena for Game 5. But the Kraken’s top scorer Jared McCann left the game after absorbing a hit along the boards from Makar after the puck went out of play.

“Late hit where the puck is out of play,” Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol said, following an announcement that McCann will miss at least Game 5. “I believe the puck is being caught by a fan as Canner is being run into the end wall. Late hit. Really late. No puck in play.”

Makar was clear that he didn’t mean to injure the forward. The call was initially a five-minute major for interference — something the officials can review after calling. After looking back at it, the penalty was downgraded to a two-minute minor.

“It’s unfortunate. I never want to injure guys. Hopefully he’s alright,” Makar said of McCann. “At the end of the day, I think I didn’t feel like I tried to finish him that hard. But I feel like if I was in that scenario, they would’ve done the exact same thing. I’m not trying to hurt anybody. It’s just unfortunate. Tough bounce there. They got the call right and that’s all you can ask for.”

Colorado was on the power play when the hit happened behind the Avs’ net. The teams skated 4-on-4 until Gourde was released from the box. And on the shortened power play, Kraken forward Daniel Sprong wired it past Avs netminder Alexandar Georgiev to give the Kraken a 2-0 lead.

Makar admitted he didn’t know the puck had deflected up and gone out of play. He also was honest about this being the first time he’d ever been booed by the opposing fans like this.

“I didn’t really know to be honest with you,” Makar said. “I know he got the shot off and then I was just assuming he was going to the corner because it was coming down. So I didn’t really look and then yeah, just unfortunate how it all happened.”

The play drew the ire of McCann’s teammate and the rowdy fans in attendance. Makar was booed every time he touched the puck the rest of the night. And on the ice, the Kraken turned up the intensity and the Avalanche responded. The teams combined for 89 hits, as Seattle had a 52-37 advantage. There were several tussles after the whistle but Colorado mostly tried to stay away from the extra curriculars. The only time they got caught in it was when the buzzer sounded for the first period, and Logan O’Connor and Artturi Lehkonen were both sent off for roughing minors and just one Seattle player, Vince Dunn, went with them.

“I thought we pushed back and played physical within the time of the game,” Bednar said after admitting he didn’t get a second look at the Makar hit yet. “I don’t know if we need to get engaged in everything after the whistle. Hasn’t really been part of our style.”

Colorado struggled to start on time. For the fourth straight game in the series, the Kraken scored the first goal, this time peppering Georgiev for 18 shots in the first period. The Avs played perhaps their worst period of the series to date. But things changed in the second period, again, and it was all thanks to Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon, again.

The duo each scored twice in Game 3’s comeback victory, and Rantanen quickly achieved that feat once again. Colorado’s leading goal-scorer first finished a play that began on the stick of MacKinnon. He received a pass in the slot and beat Grubauer five-hole.


Minutes later, Rantanen drew a penalty on Seattle’s Will Borgen for holding. Colorado had a number of chances on the ensuing power play but didn’t score until there were just two seconds remaining on the man advantage. The entire top unit had changed up except for Rantanen. And he was able to give Colorado its first power-play goal of the series off a feed from Samuel Girard to make it 2-2 with just 50 seconds remaining in the middle frame.

Rantanen finished the night with two shots. And MacKinnon, who had several rushes but no real golden opportunities, was held without a shot on goal for the third time in his 74-game postseason career.

“I have a level of concern but we’ve kind of been going this way the whole year,” Bednar said of the team heavily relying on its top two forwards to dig them out of games like this. “If those guys can find a way to chip in, we’re obviously going to be better off. We’re playing our game to the best of our ability and sometimes those guys are going to chip in and sometimes they’re not.

“If they can it will obviously help. So there’s a level of concern but I can’t say I haven’t had it all year.”