After an exciting 7-4 win in Buffalo, the Kraken travel to Detroit for the final game of their post-Thanksgiving road trip. For the first prolonged stretch all season, the Kraken appear to be a confident group, having won four of their last five games. They’ll try to head home on a high note ahead of a challenging game vs. Edmonton on Friday.
Opponent Spotlight – Detroit Red Wings
After finishing in the bottom-5 of the NHL standings for the last four years, some in the Red Wings organization eyed this season as a chance to finally turn the corner of their rebuild. So far, they’ve achieved that goal this season. While the Wings haven’t approached to their mid-2000s contender status quite yet, they’re no longer the cupcake matchup on the schedule they had been in previous years. Detroit is currently on a three-game in streak, including a 2-1 victory over Boston last night where Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic made 41 saves.
When watching the game tonight, keep an eye out for Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond. The 19-year-old Swede was taken 4th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft and looks to be one of the brightest young stars in the league. With 21 points in 22 games, Raymond leads all rookies in scoring by a wide margin and may run away with the Calder Trophy if he keeps up this pace.
- Play a full 60 minutes – The Kraken looked electric in the first period against Buffalo, storming out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. While the Kraken never took their foot off the gas, they did get sloppy in the second and third periods, leading to the Sabres scoring four goals despite the game never being all that close. The Red Wings are a better team than the Sabres and will make the Kraken pay if they play the same way tonight.
- Quick transitions – As mentioned earlier, the Red Wings played last night in Boston. The Kraken have won their last two games against teams on the second half of a back-to-back. One of the reasons for that success is Seattle’s ability to use their quick transition play to catch opponents who have tired legs flat-footed when entering the zone. The Kraken were able to do it effectively against the Panthers on Saturday and should prioritize it tonight.
- Net-front presence – I’ve talked a lot about “bend but don’t break” defense as a key for the Kraken in previous games. The Red Wings excel at it. They’re skilled at keeping teams to the outside and letting their goalie handle a large volume of low-quality shots. One way to get around this is to work the puck to the points and look for rebounds in front. That requires an active net-front presence, something the Kraken have been doing more recently. It may be the key to breaking through Detroit’s defense tonight.
Did You Know…
With the Red Wings on the schedule, I’ll gladly take the opportunity to reminisce about Pavel Datsyuk, who spent his entire NHL career from 2001-2016 with the Red Wings. Even though he was often matched up against my favorite team growing up, I was lucky to have been able to watch Datsyuk in his prime. Datsyuk was one of Detroit’s signature late-round draft diamonds in the rough. A sixth round pick in 1998, Datsyuk would go on to be one of the best two-way centers of all-time. While his defensive play as a center was perhaps the best of his generation, Datsyuk’s hands earned him a permanent place on many best goal highlight reels. If you’re not yet familiar with a “Datsyukian” deke, watch and be amazed:
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!