Kraken players will have an early opportunity to burn off those big Thanksgiving meals tonight, as they get right back to work for the first game of the toughest back-to-back they’ve ever faced. These two games against the defending Stanley Cup Champion and the top team in the NHL standings will be a challenge for the Kraken, but one their last two performances have showed they can handle. Reminder to tune in tonight as we’ll be doing a live stream during the entire game on our YouTube channel. Join us during the game for live reaction and discussion with our great community of Kraken fans.
Opponent Spotlight – Tampa Bay Lightning
What more can you say about the Tampa Bay Lightning that “defending back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions” doesn’t already tell you? The Lightning have star power at every position, whether it’s captain and leading scorer Steven Stamkos at forward, Norris Trophy (best NHL defenseman) winner Victor Hedman on defense, or Vezina Trophy (best NHL goalie) winner Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal. Not to mention Hart Trophy (NHL MVP) winner Nikita Kucherov and last season’s leading scorer Brayden Point, both of whom will miss tonight’s game with injuries.
Kraken fans will recognize a familiar face in the Tampa lineup in former Kraken Alex Barré-Boulet. Seattle claimed Barré-Boulet on waivers in mid-October before Tampa claimed him back once he was waived by the Kraken after playing only two games in Seattle. BB has been playing on the top line with Stamkos since his most recent call-up and has an impressive five points in nine games with the Lightning this season.
- Throw pucks on net – The first key to tonight’s game comes from the last goal the Kraken scored on Wednesday. Tied 1-1 late in the third period, Marcus Johansson flung a puck toward the net that went past a pair of Hurricanes skaters before beating goalie Frederik Andersen. It was a low-percentage shot, but sometimes you get lucky and those pucks go in. Worst case scenario, it’s a save or a rebound. Throwing pucks at the net like Johansson did is a way of generating cheap offense against skilled teams that can turn the tide of a game. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. -Wayne Gretzky” – Michael Scott
- Defend odd-man rushes – Properly defending odd-man rushes has been a recent point of emphasis for the Kraken. Seattle’s defensemen would often lose track of their assigned forward in those situations during their six-game losing streak. The last two games have been a complete turnaround in that regard. Against Carolina, Kraken defensemen were alert, aware, and quick to react when defending on the rush, which helped keep a dangerous Canes attack to only one goal.
- Block shots – This key stays the same because it’s quickly becoming an important piece of the Kraken’s identity. Seattle blocked 20 shots against the Hurricanes, their second-highest single-game total this season. It’s made a world of difference for goalie Philipp Grubauer, who has stopped 72 of 75 shots (.960 SV%) over his last two games.
Did You Know…
When I think of the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the first players that comes to mind is Martin St. Louis. As one of the shorter kids in my grade and on my youth hockey teams, St. Louis was an inspiration to me growing up. At 5’8, St. Louis’ size led many to doubt his NHL future, causing him to go undrafted. At age 25, he was exposed in the 2000 expansion draft but went unselected. Later that year, St. Louis signed with the Lightning as a free agent and his career took off in Tampa. St. Louis went on to score over 1,000 points in the NHL and was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2018. Here’s perhaps the biggest goal of his career, scored in double overtime to send the 2004 Stanley Cup Final to a Game 7.
ECH Postgame Live
Join us after the game for ECH Postgame Live! After every Kraken game this season, RJ and Dylan will do a live postgame show on the Emerald City Hockey YouTube Channel. ECH Postgame live will include a postgame wrap-up, analysis, and a live Q&A with viewers. Join the community of Kraken fans who tune in after the game to talk Kraken hockey!