After a disappointing 3-2 overtime loss in which they controlled most of the play, the Kraken go right back at it for the second half of a home back-to-back tonight against the Calgary Flames. While only getting one point last night wasn’t ideal, if the Kraken continue to play the way they did, they should win plenty of games going forward.
Opponent Spotlight – Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames are the team management hoped they’d be when they brought in Darryl Sutter as their head coach nearly 10 months ago. Sutter, who previously coached the Flames from 2002 to 2006 and served as their general manager from 2003-2010, is one of the best defensive-minded coached the game has ever seen. His teams suffocate their opponents, sucking all of the offense out of a game.
These 2021-22 Flames are no different, and it’s brought them considerable success. No team has allowed fewer goals than Calgary this season. Aided by seven shutouts through 28 games, the Flames have the highest points % in the Pacific Division heading into tonight’s game. That said, they did have four losses in a row before the holiday break. The Flames were hit hard by COVID-19, with 20 players in protocol earlier this month. All 20 have been cleared to return and should be available for the Flames tonight.
- Take advantage of rust – The Flames haven’t played a game in 19 days. The Kraken just played last night. There is a rest vs. rust argument to be made here but if the Kraken start fast, they could jump on a Flames team that may give up more offense early tonight than it normally would.
- Centers help defensively – The Kraken made a tactical change last game that helped bolster their defensive structure. The centers started playing lower in the defensive zone and covering the middle of the ice, allowing the defensemen to have more freedom to close on opposing forwards. Dylan explained it well at the 44:07 mark of last night’s ECH Postgame Live. The Kraken will need to keep this up against Flames forward group that’s good at getting opponents to lose their assignments.
- Net Drive – As last night’s game showed, the Kraken need to make life more difficult for the opposing goalie. With Ryan Donato out of the lineup, someone has to step up to fill that role and go straight to the net whenever they get the puck.
Did You Know…
Kraken fans know that captain Mark Giordano is a Calgary Flames legend after spending 15 years in Calgary. Only one player has played more games in a Flames sweater than Giordano: Jarome Iginla. Iginla is the Flames all-time leader in games played, goals, and points- and no one else is particularly close to him in any of those categories. Here’s one of the greatest shifts of his career from overtime of Game 5 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final that’s simply known in Calgary as “the shift.”
While the Iginla name is already famous in Calgary, it could soon gain some notoriety in Seattle. Jarome’s son Tij Iginla was selected 9th overall by the Seattle Thunderbirds in this year’s WHL Bantam Draft. The 15-year-old Tij registered his first WHL point for the Thunderbirds on Tuesday. Keep an eye on the young Thunderbird with great hockey bloodlines and a ton of potential.
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!
One thought on “Gameday Morning Brief – 12/30 vs. Calgary Flames”
Excellent clip! Oleg Saprykin goal! My favourite former Seattle Thunderbird player circa 1999.